What is pro bono?
Pro bono publico (English: for the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in architecture, marketing, medicine, technology, and strategy consulting firms. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them. Pro bono volunteering is an innovative approach and is rapidly gaining recognition as a powerful driver of both social impact and business value. It utilizes the experience, talents, skills and education of volunteers and matches them with the needs of nonprofits. By leveraging all types of knowledge and expertise, skilled volunteering helps build and sustain nonprofits' capacity to achieve their missions successfully.
Why pro bono?
Through numerous research and studies in the past, and also through India@75's own survey ProBono_In_India_Report, we know that there is a strong interest amongst corporate employees and business professionals to serve the communities. We also know that the non-profit sector has a need for these business resources. Pro bono volunteering helps corporate employees and business professionals fulfil their desire to provide more meaningful and strategic support to the non-profits which are in need.
Who can do pro bono?
Pro bono services can be performed individually or as part of a corporation. Individual skilled volunteers may offer their particular expertise to a nonprofit agency. Corporate skilled volunteering (or, institutionalized pro bono) involves employee volunteers working on projects/ assignments for a nonprofit organization through a structured program developed and managed by their employer. The Pro bono portal, however, is currently open only to Corporate Employees who'll be volunteering as a part of their Employer's Volunteering Program.
How is pro bono service different from traditional volunteering?
Traditional volunteering generally addresses extra-hands type needs. On the other hand, pro bono volunteering typically makes use of specific professional skills to address capacity-building or long-term needs. For example, when a HR professional engages in a tree plantation drive or spends time with children at an NGO, that is traditional volunteering. On the other hand when they assist the NGO in framing their HR Policies & Processes, developing the strategy for a product launch of a non-profit, that is a Pro bono service
What types of services can be performed as pro bono?
Almost any and every profession can lend skills to individuals which can be directly put into use at non-profits. As long as non-profits have a need for support- everything from marketing, research, business strategy to technological tool development, HR capacity building, finance & accounting and performance management can be performed as pro bono! For the Pro bono portal, we've identified the following 7 functional areas under which Pro bono work can be done: 1. Financial Management 2. Human Resources & Leadership development 3. Legal 4. Marketing, Communications & Online Strategy 5. Program Development & Operations 6. Strategy - Planning & Management 7. Technology Development/Management
How can pro bono change India?
Pro bono has benefits for individuals who contribute their skills, for social organisations who receive their pro bono services, and for companies who facilitate such programs for their employees. For individuals, research shows that beyond just the personal satisfaction of giving back to the community, pro bono volunteers gain important business and leadership skills.
What is the potential scale of pro bono activity in India?
If all of estimated 2 million operational NGOs in India are able to employ the best organizational development practices as offered by these skilled professionals, India's social challenges would be met with an army of non-profits relentlessly rooting out social issues. India@75 aims to create pro bono value of $10 billion in India by the year 2022. The case for pro bono in India is strengthened by the alignment between the skills of professionals and the needs of non-profits. Further, the willingness of professionals to volunteer and the willingness of non-profits to integrate pro bono to power their missions is another factor. The geographic match between the location of nonprofits and professionals all adds up positively. Most importantly, the case for pro bono is strengthened by the dynamic social and legislative context in India- with the companies in India having been mandated to spend 2% of their annual profits to undertake CSR activities. This opportunity can be strongly leveraged to sow seeds for pro bono in the country.