One of the reasons I am most proud about working at Media Profile is the tremendous value and importance placed on pro bono work. As individuals, part of our review process is tied to our individual efforts to serve the organizations that serve our communities. I see a huge benefit to this approach and it’s one that a lot of companies should adopt. Here are a few reasons:
1. It builds morale and camaraderie. People today care about where they work and they want to know that those they work for (and with) share their values. Bringing in pro bono work to the office or encouraging staff to volunteer their time, even if it means doing so during work hours, shows them that the company cares about more than dollars and cents. There are limits of course, like ensuring that company work is also being delivered on time, but the right mix of pro bono work is a great way to build a sense of community and belonging, and to foster loyalty.
2. It builds skills. We often give more junior employees the chance to build their skill sets by offering them more responsibility on pro bono projects than they might get on client work. With proper guidance from more seasoned staff, these employees get to improve their skills and build confidence in their abilities. That bodes well for both their future and the organization’s. And the charity gets quality work at a price that’s right for them – free.
3. It leads to new business. Being altruistic is in itself a reward. But many times the connections and relationships one builds by supporting not-for-profit causes will lead to business opportunities. Often business synergies will emerge from contacts at other corporate partners that are backing the same cause.
4. It is challenging and motivating. Some of the most interesting, creative and challenging work I’ve ever done is for not-for-profits. And it is certainly among the most personally rewarding. That matters. Volunteering can keep people happy and focused, which improves their overall productivity.
5. It’s the right thing to do. Charities and not-for-profits don’t have the resources to hire or contract out the work that volunteers can do for them. The work they do is too important to ignore, and if we have the ability we must make the time. It’s that simple. As Winston Churchill said, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”