The importance of pro bono work to your business success
By Marina Kooijmans, HLB Chief People Officer
Giving back to the community is essential for any business that wants to build a genuine connection with its customers, and pro bono work is a great way to do that. Financial and other professional service businesses can help their community and build profitable synergies with their pro bono work.
Here we'll explore how you can begin working pro bono, and how pro-bono work can work for you.
What is pro bono work, and how can it positively impact business?
Pro bono work includes any professional services that are provided free of charge or at a reduced fee. While many people associate pro bono work with the legal profession, it can also refer to services provided by doctors, engineers, architects, and other professionals, like accountants and tax advisors.
While businesses are not legally required to provide pro bono services, many choose to do so to give back to their communities. In addition, pro bono work can have several positive impacts on businesses. For one, it can help to build goodwill and generate positive publicity.
Moreover, it can help businesses attract and retain top talent. Finally, pro bono work can be a powerful way for businesses to impact society positively. As more and more companies recognize the importance of corporate social responsibility, pro bono work is likely to become even more commonplace.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, those businesses that embrace pro bono work are likely to be the ones that succeed.
How can pro bono work create substantial value for your business?
One of the great side-effects of taking on pro bono projects is that it helps retain talented employees who might otherwise leave for a company that offers more opportunities to do work that is personally meaningful to them.
While businesses traditionally focus on maximizing profits, there is an increasing acknowledgment of the value of pro bono work. For businesses, pro bono work can provide a way to give back to the community, build goodwill, and attract and retain talent.
Businesses that foster connections with their clients have better retention and lower churn rates. This is because other businesses like to be associated with charitable works, but also because pro-bono work can build your profile, and can even demonstrate better skills or expertise than your competition.
How do you begin performing pro bono work?
There are countless ways in which businesses can get involved in pro bono work. One popular option is to offer free or discounted products or services to those in need. This could include providing free legal assistance to low-income individuals, offering discounts on healthcare services, or providing free access to educational resources.
Other businesses may choose to donate their time and expertise to worthy causes. This could involve volunteering for local community projects, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, or providing pro bono consulting services.
Whatever form it takes, pro bono work can create immense value for businesses. In addition to the more obvious benefits, such as reduced costs and increased revenue, pro bono work can also lead to intangible benefits, such as improved employee morale and a stronger brand reputation.
When done right, pro bono work can be a win-win for businesses and the communities they serve.
It's not all about the money
Businesses that engage in pro bono work often reap many benefits beyond the simple financial return on their investment.
By partnering with a local charity or nonprofit organization, businesses can gain valuable insights into the needs of their community and develop a deeper connection to the people they serve.
In addition, businesses that engage in pro bono work often find that their employees are more engaged and motivated, leading to higher productivity levels. Finally, businesses that engage in pro bono work often receive positive publicity and goodwill from their employees and the public in general.
When most people think of pro bono work, they envision lawyers taking on cases for low-income clients or doctors volunteering at free clinics. However, businesses can also play a vital role in providing access to essential services.
In addition to simply writing a check, businesses can offer in-kind donations, pro bono consulting services, or employee volunteer programs.
For example, a software company could donate its products to a nonprofit that provides computer training to low-income adults. Or an accounting firm could offer free tax preparation services to seniors.
By thinking creatively about how they can give back, businesses can make a lasting impact on their communities.
Pro bono work forges stronger partnerships
Lastly, pro bono work often leads to more meaningful networking opportunities. The sense of community that comes from participating in worthy local causes means your partners in that work are more emotionally invested in your company going forward.
Instead of bonding over a golf tournament or a charity auction, you're bonding over work performed side by side. This not only demonstrates your credentials but also forges working relationships that continue long beyond this one pro bono project. Networking and winning new business isn't the reason you engage in pro bono work, but it is a likely outcome of many of these projects.
After all, what better way than to show your worth than by doing what you do best, side-by-side with like-minded companies and corporations?
Build your business through pro bono work
Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is designed to help businesses positively impact their communities. The HLB team can provide advice and guidance on getting started.
We also offer a range of pro bono opportunities through our network of member firms listed on our website. If you are interested in getting involved in pro bono work, we encourage you to get in touch with us today.