Developing the Science of Pro Bono

Last month, we shared some insights from the nonprofit organization Taproot about the advantages of establishing a formal pro bono program. Taproot is one of the key organizers of Pro Bono Week, a worldwide, multi-industry celebration of the pro bono ethic originally inspired by the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono. Now that 2014’s Pro Bono Week has ended, another of the event’s organizers is offering a tool to help make next year’s celebration even more effective.

The nonprofit organization A Billion + Change has launched the 2014 Pro Bono Benchmarking Survey, a first-of-its-kind project designed to standardize the measurement and analysis of pro bono participation and its effects. If your firm took part in a pro bono program this year, and if you have 20 minutes, completing this survey could help yield findings that may improve the way you use your time and expertise in the spirit of generosity toward others.

The survey allows respondents to evaluate the impact of their charitable activities against pro bono best practices, which A Billion + Change has tracked and studied since 2008. The questions themselves are thought-provoking in a way that can be constructive for future pro bono planning, but the survey results that follow are expected to provide clear solutions for organizations seeking ways to improve their efforts.

When those results are released early next year, respondents will also get the chance to compare their responses against those of the other participating companies. Knowing how your pro bono program sizes up may give your firm a better idea of the positive effect your generosity has on your reputation.

If the survey and its results get you thinking about all the different ways you can improve the impact of your pro bono program, you can find guides, toolkits and other resources on A Billion + Change’s website.

Even if your firm is confident in its pro bono planning for the foreseeable future, completing the survey will help improve the results for other companies and assist in the development of a promising new evaluation tool to support skills-based service. You’ve already committed your time and talent to making the world a little better — it takes just a few more minutes to help refine the system for measuring and analyzing all the good that you do.