Why pro-bono work can be good for your business
Often, businesses avoid doing work pro-bono. And with good reason – businesses are businesses, after all – even if they have been founded with passion and vision, ultimately, they have to make money in order to survive. But this is not to say that all unpaid work is bad for businesses – in fact, quite the opposite – there are many business benefits of undertaking pro-bono work – using your professional skills without charging a fee.
The trick is to know which pro-bono work is right for you. Although pro-bono projects cannot be a significant percentage of a business’ output, choosing the right unpaid work can actually generate surprisingly positive results.
With this in mind, here are some of the business benefits that come from pro-bono work…
IT CAN HELP RAISE YOUR PROFILE
Although some people may feel that pro-bono work would hold them back because they are devoting valuable time to something for free, there are situations when pro-bono work could raise your profile.
You may have an opportunity to work pro-bono for an organisation on a project that is really newsworthy. If this is the case, then you stand to garner media attention, or generate real interest on social media, just by being associated with the project.
It might not be newsworthy, but you may also work with a high-profile organisation and negotiate use of your brand’s logo, or recognition of your association in the organisation’s communications.
In cases like these, your business stands to benefit by having its profile raised – something that many companies spend a significant amount of money trying to achieve. If you have the chance to work on a project that you feel will help to boost your profile, then treat it as a marketing investment in your business.
IT CAN HELP YOU ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
It’s easy to underestimate the value of good-will, but often, this is something that will benefit your business. If people feel good about your company, then they will be more inclined to buy from you – whether you are offering a service or a product.
For example, you may work pro-bono to benefit a local charity, or a community initiative. Although you are not directly benefitting financially, the goodwill within your community and stakeholders will help you put your organisation in a good light.
This is particularly important for companies who rely on their brand image in order to engage with their customers, clients or stakeholders, and can be equated with brand reputation management – something which can positively benefit your business.
IT CAN BOOST YOUR EXPERIENCE IN NEW SECTORS
Another time that pro-bono work can benefit your business is when the pro-bono client works in an industry that you have not yet ventured into.
Your services may be applicable to different industries, but if you’ve no experience or examples of the work you have done, breaking into particular industries can be difficult.
Therefore, finding a pro-bono client in an industry you’ve not previously worked in can actually open those doors into that industry, and help give you access to a wider pool of clients as a result.
IT CAN HELP KEEP EMPLOYEES ENGAGED
Many employees are interested in working for good causes – that’s why some organisations offer time off for employees to take part in voluntary work. If your pro-bono work is for a good cause, such as a charity, this may be an attractive option for your team.
Additionally, some pro-bono work may be of benefit to employees by helping them to gain experience within particular aspects of the business that they may not have previously had access to.
By using pro-bono as a chance to upskill employees and allow them to take part in good causes, you will likely see an increase in employee engagement, which has real business benefits. Learn more about the business benefits of an engaged workforce.
There are many ways that pro-bono work can benefit your business. Although there are so many worthy causes for pro-bono work, look for the opportunities that make real business sense.
Whether it means helping to boost your profile, helping you to generate goodwill within your community, or giving you access to a wider pool of clients in different industries, there are certainly occasions when pro-bono work is good for business.
That said, your work must be commercially viable, and you are certainly not obliged to say yes to every unpaid request that comes your way. Always consider your own business’s
requirements and understand what you stand to gain from working for a client pro-bono.