Our Pro Bono Success Story

Don't we look pretty?

Notice anything… different about us?

That’s right, we’ve got a cool new look! Updated colors, some great drop shadowing, and high-tech buttons in the sidebar that link you to VolunteerMatch’s great employee engagement resources.

But the best part about our blog face lift is that we got it done by professional designers and coders for free – pro bono. VolunteerMatch was lucky enough to be chosen as a nonprofit grantee for the Discovery Impact: Creating Change pro bono marathon.

An impressive team of designers, copywriters and developers were dedicated to giving us the best volunteering blogs out there (they also worked on our blog for social change organizations, Engaging Volunteers).

The Pro Bono Disconnect

Pro bono is a valuable volunteer resource for nonprofits, and provides a way for corporate employees to get involved with causes they care about, hone their professional skills and become more engaged in company culture. However, the opportunity of pro bono is often overlooked by nonprofit and employee volunteer managers.

Taproot Foundation helps connect nonprofits with pro bono professionals that are looking to help. They also provide resources for both the organizations receiving the pro bono and the individuals giving it, to ensure the most effective and impactful project possible.

According to Taproot, only 3% of nonprofits report having access to the pro bono services they need. And only one out of the top 10 organizational priorities cited by nonprofit executive directors is NOT a direct fit for pro bono volunteer work.

Yet 29,983 LinkedIn profiles include the term ‘pro bono.’ And 20 of the top 25 business schools have pro bono programs. And many companies are starting to join Microsoft, who has committed 185,000 hours of employee time over three years to pro bono service.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between the nonprofits that need and could benefit from pro bono, and the individuals and companies that can and want to provide it. Organizations like Taproot, VolunteerMatch and Catchafire are on the front lines working to bridge this gap.

Our Pro Bono Success

Our pro bono experience was a great one, and not just because we got something so valuable for free. The Creating Change program provided value for both VolunteerMatch and our staff, as well as for the members of the Discovery Communications team that worked on the project.

On the VolunteerMatch side, we were able to further strengthen our relationship with Discovery Communications, who is not only a client but a great partner and friend in the volunteering sector. Our staff were exposed to a highly skilled and specialized team of professionals, gaining expertise in high level design projects.

The folks on the Discovery Communications team were able to use their skills for a good cause. The project gave them an opportunity to step outside their normal job function, as some developers served as copywriters and some designer served as project managers, etc. They also had the opportunity to interact directly with a nonprofit, learning about the challenges we face and the goals that drive us.

So think about how pro bono could increase the impact of your employee volunteer program– we have no doubt it could. Consider referring your employees to Taproot, or hosting an event like Discovery’s, or even approaching a local nonprofit with whom you already have a partnership to launch a pro bono program with them.

And a huge THANK YOU! to our pro bono team from Discovery Communications. Every time we open our blog, we will think of you.

2 thoughts on “Our Pro Bono Success Story”

  • 1
    Juliet Dervin on January 11, 2012

    Thanks for the awesome shout-out, Shari!

    We LOVED working on this project with you guys. You’re the epitome of a “great client:” clear goals, great communication, clear feedback, and overall lovely people.

    I love that I now know people within the company whom I didn’t know before. I look forward to more volunteering in the future. 🙂


  • 2
    Casey Brennan on January 11, 2012


    Hats off to you and your incredible team! You’ve blown us away with your enthusiasm and dedication to the project. It was so nice to meet you in person during the Creating Change Summit, and I hope our relationship continues beyond this project. There’s nothing better than getting a makeover from the best in the world 🙂

    We’re forever grateful,
    Casey Brennan
    Marketing Manager, VolunteerMatch

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