Consider priorities and project type before enlisting pro bono

“I always have an intuitive sense of what my organization needs—but by unpacking my reasons, I’m better able to set priorities and determine what can be done pro bono, and what I need to pay for,” says Ellen Schneider, executive director with Active Voice.


Schneider is an active user of pro bono work and highlighted in Aaron Hurst’s book, “Powered by Pro Bono.” Stepping back and prioritizing what projects are suited for pro bono work is an important preliminary step. That’s why when we reviewed Hurst’s book, we asked him about what projects are especially a good fit. Here’s what Hurst had to say:


CausePlanet: One of your profiled executive directors is quoted for finding success with focusing his pro bono professionals on tactical versus strategic projects. Is this a common strategy or simply consistent with behavior along your beginner-to-expert continuum?


Hurst: As with any consulting work, the less providers need to know about the sector or your organization, the easier it will be for them to create a deliverable that’s useful to you. This all comes down to the scope of work–the more tactical projects simply require less background–which is not to say that strategic projects can’t be successful, but it’s a good starting point.


CausePlanet: Is there an ideal type of project with which to experiment, using your four steps for pro bono engagement?


Hurst: Something simple is always best. To really see the value though, I would recommend a project with a rewarding and visual result, like a brochure or an annual report. Each is typically straightforward, and nonprofits capitalize on both the added bandwidth from the pro bono consultants as well as their design competencies, giving them a tangible result to show off after the fact.


CausePlanet members: Join us for a live conversation with author Aaron Hurst on Thursday, January 31 and get your pro bono questions answered.


By Denise McMahan


See also:


Leveraging Good Will by Alice Korngold

Powered by Pro Bono by Aaron Hurst

Stretch your marketing dollars by Mark Howard

Other blogs about pro bono services

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