Pro Bono as currency
16/04/2009
Deloitte survey finds nonprofits and corporations missing opportunity to offset decline in giving dollars.

Fuente:  www.consultant-news.com    Fecha: 16.04.2009

Pro Bono as currency

According to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, both nonprofits and corporations are overlooking a high-impact opportunity to leverage pro bono and skilled volunteer support to offset a decline in corporate giving dollars. Despite the challenging economic backdrop, nearly 40 percent of nonprofit executives say they will spend between $50,000 and $250,000 or more of "hard-won" cash on outside contractors and consultants this year. Yet nearly one-quarter (24%) of nonprofit respondents have no plans to use skilled volunteers or pro bono support in any capacity in 2009. These national survey findings were released today in advance of National Volunteer Week, April 19 - 25, 2009.

"The current economic crisis and the new Administration's national call for service underscores the need for corporations and nonprofits alike to broaden their definition of corporate giving," said Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer, Deloitte LLP. "Nonprofits and corporations are encouraged to think of pro bono and skill-based volunteerism as a valuable form of currency. It is an opportunity to more fully maximize corporate assets, especially when demand for nonprofit services are on the rise and corporate giving is on the decline."

Overwhelmingly, corporate grant makers (77%) and nonprofits (75%) place a high value on employee skills. Further, 95 percent of nonprofits agree they are in greater need of pro bono or skilled volunteer support. However, these statements are inconsistent with corporations' efforts to contribute skilled volunteers and nonprofits' efforts to seek them. Approximately one-third (35%) of nonprofits do not have the appropriate infrastructure needed to successfully deploy volunteers. Further, nearly one quarter (24%) of nonprofits surveyed have no one in charge of volunteer management or have someone in charge with less than three years of experience (23%). Similarly, more than one-in-four (26%) corporations have no one to oversee an employee volunteer program. Moreover, 17 percent of corporations have no employee volunteer program at all.

"At a time when cash is tighter for everyone, it's critical for both companies and nonprofits to think creatively about how to capitalize on the growing market for pro bono services," said Evan Hochberg, national community involvement leader at Deloitte. "We've found this type of skilled volunteerism must be managed on both ends in order to maximize its effectiveness for the nonprofits as well as the donor."

Significant Barriers Cited

The slow adoption of skilled volunteer services could be due in part to a startling lack of knowledge among nonprofits when it comes to securing pro bono projects. Nearly all nonprofits surveyed (97%) do not know who in a company to approach with pro bono requests. Likewise, 95 percent do not know which companies to appeal to with these requests. This lack of familiarity with ways to secure pro bono services could also be driven by the fact that half (50%) of corporations nationwide do not offer skilled volunteer support, despite a belief in its value.

"It has taken decades for nonprofits to learn how to successfully approach companies for financial support, but today they know both which institutions to approach for funding, and the right person within those companies to contact," noted Aaron Hurst, president and founder, Taproot Foundation, an organization committed to engaging business professionals in pro bono service. "Hopefully, we can use the evolution of financial grant making as a model to professionalize the market for pro bono, so that nonprofits can better access this valuable corporate asset more easily."