Pro Bono Week Highlights the Value of Generosity

Every year, the spirit of pro bono service is celebrated around the world during the third week of October. This year’s Pro Bono Week united professionals in the legal field and many others in the United States, Japan, China, France, Germany and several other nations. As this tradition gains steam, more businesses are getting the message that commingling their core missions with their philanthropy can build stronger organizational cultures.

Within the United States, the nonprofit organization Taproot has taken up the torch for Pro Bono Week and championed the development of pro bono programs across multiple industries. To those organizations that ultimately want to get involved with pro bono but are waiting until the time is right, Taproot makes a compelling case for starting sooner rather than later. A thoughtful, culture-based pro bono program can help an organization attract top talent, enhance its reputation and drive innovation.

Talent: Legal professionals who are at the top of their game are often those who are inclined to look beyond personal profit and career milestones. The ability to mix professional aspirations with altruistic intent is often a luxury afforded to only the most in-demand attorneys. If that’s who you’re after, a sophisticated pro bono program could be the beacon that draws their attention away from your bigger competitors.

  • A well-planned program can enhance an attorney’s understanding of your organizational culture, increase loyalty and build motivation
  • Volunteer efforts introduce training opportunities for lawyers looking to broaden their skill sets
  • Pro bono projects present new ways to measure attorney performance and recognize attorneys for outstanding service

Reputation: The right pro bono program can not only keep your organization top-of-mind among top talent, it can boost your stock among prospective clients looking for partners who share those values.

  • Pro bono programs build positive brand recognition and help drive corporate social responsibility strategies
  • Successful pro bono efforts showcase the expertise of your organization and staff
  • A tradition of long-standing philanthropy can insulate your organization from unexpected negative PR

Innovation: It’s always great to be part of an organization that does one or two things exceptionally well, but such specialization can ultimately stymie innovation. A pro bono tradition that regularly pushes attorneys into unfamiliar territory can help keep your staff thinking fresh and challenging the norm.

  • New challenges foster a climate of innovation, sparking creativity and maintaining an entrepreneurial culture throughout your organization
  • Solutions driven by pro bono projects can lead to new services or original twists on existing offerings
  • Successes on behalf of nontraditional pro bono clients may open up whole new markets for for-profit work

If your organization didn’t participate in this year’s Pro Bono Week, check out Taproot’s resources to learn what others have done and start planning early for next year.