On March 26th, we continued our monthly Best Practices Network (BPN) Webinar Series with A Billion + Change: What’s Behind the Pro Bono Movement in America. Robert Rosenthal, VP of Marketing here at VolunteerMatch hosted an engaging discussion with Jenny Lawson, executive director of the nonprofit A Billion + Change. The webinar covered how A Billion + Change is inspiring companies to take the pledge to provide skill-based and pro bono service in corporate america.
Robert was also joined by Erin Dieterich, manager of global employee engagement at Netsuite, who detailed her experiences with A Billion + Change and gave great insights into her company’s pro bono program.
Robert began by explaining that pro bono isn’t always the easiest way to engage employees. “It’s a very high touch area of volunteer engagement – with the potential for lots of rewards, and lots of risk.”
At VolunteerMatch, we cover pro bono as an element of volunteering and it’s an important part of our growth strategy for the 170 companies that use our services.
Now More Than Ever: Pro Bono in Corporate America
Jenny Lawson gave our attendees a fascinating look at A Billion + Change. The goal of the organization is to find 500 companies willing to pledge their best business skills and talents to serve the needs of nonprofits and communities at home and worldwide. Jenny underlined some great points about the pledge:
- Currently, 300 companies have pledged their best employees to tackle tough problems in communities around the world – with a committed value that is “edging ever closer to $2 Billion.”
- Companies that joined the pledge represent all fields and all sectors.
- The pledge is free of charge and those who join would have the opportunity to become part of a very dynamic CSR community.
Jenny explained that the “talent of corporate america is needed now more than ever.” To meet this need, A Billion + Change started a national campaign to encourage companies of all sizes to embrace more skill-based and pro bono initiatives.
Reaching pledge goals isn’t only in the realm of large corporations. According to Jenny, “A growing number of small businesses are making an impact on their communities through skill-based and pro bono service.
Suite Volunteer: Corporate Citizenship that Empowers Charity and Social Enterprise
Our attendees got the opportunity to see a unique perspective from Erin Dieterich of Netsuite. She talked about her company’s experience joining A Billion + Change and developing her company’s pro bono initiatives.
Erin is a huge fan of branding employee volunteering programs; there is a great sense of community, as if they were “part of a club”.
Netsuite previously used an ad hoc pro bono program. This approach helped employees understand the value of pro bono engagement, but, as Erin explains, using the ad hoc method brought about a challenge to create a sustainable model.
In June 2012, Netsuite joined the pledge with A Billion + Change. According to Erin, “The pledge was a wonderful way to bring some awareness to our pro bono campaign.”
The company has since created Suite Volunteer, a virtual program through VolunteerMatch that scales with company growth, engages employees across departments, and helps grantees achieve success.
As Erin emphasizes, “There is a tremendous surge in engagement when you get employees involved in pro bono; they’re not only helping create social impact for the nonprofit world, but they’re feeling much more engaged with their day-to-day work environment.
Join us April 20th for our next Best Practice Network webinar entitled Why Cause Marketing is a Good Investment.