Over 66 percent of U.S. Nonprofits Identify Pro Bono Service As Top Volunteer Need, But Roadblocks Prevent Effective Implementation
Capital One, Common Impact, Points of Light and the
Despite the nonprofit community’s need for pro bono services, the survey also showed that making good use of volunteer services can be challenging. Approximately 73 percent of survey respondents said they would be more likely to seek pro bono support if they could identify specific projects and better understand how volunteer time can be used to improve their infrastructures. For example, nearly half of the nonprofits (48 percent) were not aware that external resources are available to assess capacity building and infrastructure issues – a key step in preparing for an effective pro bono project.
About 25 percent of nonprofit respondents reported they have never used pro bono services. Of that group, nearly half (47 percent) attributed this to a lack of knowledge about how to access pro bono services. Other reasons included general lack of awareness about pro bono support, insufficient resources to manage a project and uncertainty about whether or not they were ready for pro bono support.
“There are many untapped opportunities for corporations and nonprofits
to achieve mutual goals through pro bono services and skills-based
volunteering, but – as the survey demonstrates – nonprofits need a
better grasp on the kind of volunteerism that will generate long-term
benefit to their organizations,” said
The survey identified several roadblocks to implementing successful pro bono projects, which were the basis to create solutions to encourage more effective pro bono and skills-based volunteerism. Nonprofits’ specific challenges include:
- Selecting a project that yields outcomes that can be managed long-term –- of the respondents that have used pro bono services, over 85 percent found the support to be helpful, but less than half (46 percent) did not know how to sustain project results without external support.
- Inability to sustain the results of a project when services involve unique systems or technologies –- barely 40 percent of respondents had the technical infrastructure to support outcomes.
- Demand for more effective pro bono project management tools and resources –- over 58 percent of respondents needed stronger project planning and time management resources. Thirty-six percent were not familiar with project management tools and another 40 percent claimed to be somewhat familiar.
- Management bandwidth –- a key issue for nearly 45 percent of nonprofits surveyed.
“For a project to be successful it must be scoped with a strong
understanding of the organization’s needs and context,” said
While corporations will value more strategic use of time and expertise in pro bono and skills-based volunteering, they can maximize their contributions by investing time to learn about the nonprofit partner and make sure the expertise they offer matches the nonprofit’s actual needs. The survey revealed particular demand for pro bono marketing and branding (over 78 percent), technology (70 percent), strategic planning and management (over 51 percent) and human resources and leadership development (over 40 percent).
"More and more companies like Capital One are not just investing dollars
in communities, but they’re investing employees’ time and talent through
nonprofit partnerships,” explained
“Based on our combined experience managing effective pro bono and
skills-based volunteering projects, the collaborative is developing an
online Readiness Roadmap to help nonprofits understand their true needs
and what kind of pro bono service is right for their organizations,”
The Readiness Roadmap developed by the collaborative is an online,
multi-stage assessment designed to help nonprofits determine if pro bono
services meet their immediate needs and the best way to engage skilled
volunteers. It was piloted at the
- Project readiness assessments
- Pro bono and skills-based volunteer sourcing
- Project planning
- Evaluation and post-project volunteer recognition.
About Common Impact
Common Impact is a nonprofit organization that connects skilled professionals from global companies to high-potential local nonprofits. Our employee engagement programs match employee-volunteers with nonprofits that need help overcoming key business challenges. This innovative approach to corporate community service enables companies to realize a positive return on their social investment while building stronger teams and developing employee skills. At the same time, this access to private sector talent enables nonprofits to amplify their impact on the constituents they serve. Ultimately, our work helps foster stronger communities wherever those companies operate. Further information can be found at http://www.commonimpact.org/.
About Points of Light
Points of Light is the leading volunteer organization with more than 20
years of history and a bipartisan presidential legacy. Our mission is to
inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the
world. We connect people to their power to make a meaningful difference
by providing access to tools, resources and opportunities to help
volunteers use their time, talent, voice and money to meet the critical
needs of our communities. We are organized into three divisions:
Programs, Civic Incubator and Action Networks, which include HandsOn
Network, the largest network of 250 local volunteer centers across the
country and around the world; generationOn, the youth service movement
that ignites the power of kids to make their mark on the world;
AmeriCorps Alums, the national service alumni network that activates the
next generation of service leaders; and Points of
Since its founding in 2001, the
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation
Shelley Solheim, 917-589-6203