Taproot Foundation’s Global Pro Bono Summit Engages Executives In Social Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Not-for-profit organisations around the world all are hindered at time by the same obstacles, which is often the access to professional services and/or restricted budgets, where money is often too tight to spend it on legal and financial support, or on marketing and communications. This means that not-for-profits are not able to fully exploit their potential, or at times achieve the aims they have set. However, while there are enterprises and professionals who would like to donate their skills and professional know-how in the service of the public good, there are few initiatives that can serve as intermediaries between both sides and provide professional guidance to pro bono projects.

Building a global network of organisations that broker pro bono services among enterprises, professionals, and charities works to everyone’s favour.  It enhances the quality and professionalism in this field. Professional intermediaries are able to determine the organisational need and define and manage realistic pro bono projects. In addition, they also negotiate the expectations of the enterprises and people involved and ensure the optimal use of the latter’s skills.

One organisation leading the way is the Taproot Foundation, who recently held its Global Pro Bono Summit in San Francisco, where it brought together over 200 leaders from 15 countries to engage in discussions and sessions about the pro bono movement. The Global Pro Bono Summit is an intimate, invitation-only gathering; participants included experts from corporate social responsibility, the pro bono field, and business professionals in HR, design and IT. This year was the first time that the Taproot Foundation, the hosts for this event, presented it in partnership with the BMW Foundation. “The partnership between the BMW Foundation and the Taproot Foundation is a key piece of our strategy in engaging executives in social change,” said Markus Hipp, CEO, BMW Foundation.

As the pioneer and architect of the global pro bono movement, Taproot annually convenes professionals from companies, professional services firms and no-for-profit providers worldwide. The pro bono movement has significantly expanded beyond the legal field in the last ten years, with dozens of Fortune 500 companies now offering their employees opportunities to volunteer their professional expertise to not-for-profits.  77 percent of charities believe that skilled volunteers could significantly improve their organisation’s business practices. Pro bono gives business professionals the opportunity to provide their skilled services to the third sector, while at the same time improving their professional networks, getting professional development opportunities and giving back to the community.

One thing is certain: the business community has a powerful role to play in helping our communities deal with their most pressing issues. It’s a contribution that transcends cash giving and it goes beyond altruism; it’s good business and it is pro bono.

Photo Credit:Taproot Foundation Global Pro Bono Summit