Making Pro Bono Week into Pro Bono Daily
Pro Bono Week, the annual weeklong celebration of pro bono and volunteerism that takes place in late October, raises awareness and recognition for the value created for individuals, companies and nonprofits engaged in pro bono and skilled volunteering.
Inspired by the American Bar Association’s National Pro Bono Week for attorneys, the Taproot Foundation’s interpretation of Pro Bono Week encourages individuals from all professions to engage in pro bono and skilled volunteering service.
Common Impact was honored to be an active contributor to Pro Bono Week again this year. As pioneers in the skills-based volunteering movement since 2000, we are excited to see an evolving, more strategic use of skilled volunteering by companies, a growing use of skilled volunteers by nonprofits, and greater sharing of the impact stories that result from skilled volunteering and pro bono overall. Did you take part in Pro Bono Week? We’d love to hear and share your stories as well, if you did!
We came away from this amazing weeklong celebration with three key takeaways.
May I have extra pro bono with that, please?
Whle my organization, Common Impact, has been a key contributor and participant in Pro Bono Week for years, this was my first experience being involved. So while the note above may appear as a call to the incredibly talented (and I imagine weary) event organizers to do more, it’s not. What this means is a call for each of us, who has a stake in the pro bono, skilled volunteering and other related movements, to act on our obligation to keep the spirit and intention of the visibility and awareness for pro bono during Pro Bono Week alive every day.
One theme around this call to action came from the high energy Pro Bono Twitter Chat that our friends at A Billion Plus Change coordinated and contributed to, and that Common Impact participated in with 10 other organizations including Pyxera Global, Catchafire, Ashoka and others. The chat was focused on storytelling and the ways in which we can showcase and better promote the outcomes and impact of skills-based volunteering and pro bono.
Mainstreaming pro bono: Beyoncé-ing the social sector
One thing that many of us talk about and wrestle with is the idea of scalable social change and impact, and bringing ideas for social change further into the mainstream. Pro Bono Week garnered increased media and general public attention for all of the many different ways volunteer events, webinars, media releases, social media activity and more were strategically executed to raise awareness and visibility for pro bono on a local, national and international level. Our friends at Taproot share that of the content collectively created by contributors in Pro Bono week generated more than 700,000 views; and A Billion Plus Changes shares that the one-hour live Twitter chat generated more than 11 million tweets related to pro bono. Now that’s mainstreaming a movement!
Sector collaboration: New frontiers
Common Impact was one of a group of more than 30 intermediary organizations involved in Pro Bono Week this year. Intermediaries are organizations that help create the connections between skilled-volunteers, and the nonprofits and societal issues that they are best positioned to address. Pro Bono Week is one example of this newer style of convening and collaboration effort, as is the new Pro Bono Collaborative that A Billion Plus Change has spearheaded. These initiatives and others lay the groundwork for us to collaborate even more effectively and at scale in the future; for generating fresh new ideas, insights and solutions to complex societal challenges, and create new opportunities to leverage all the value and benefits of skilled volunteering and pro bono.