Give Work Away: The Benefits of a Pro Bono Work Culture

Posted on 2015-04-30 14:51:29

Earlier this week we hosted the first of many complimentary Salesforce1 workshops for our clients and partners. Our first round was targeted to our non-profit partners because giving back to the community is top of mind for us right now.

We recently took the 1% Pledge, through which we will give 1% company time, 1% company equity, and 1% company product to the social sector. Even before we took the pledge our consultants and developers worked with charity organizations and NGOs, so the pledge was an easy choice for us. Including non-profits in our Salesforce1 workshops is part of that pledge.

When we talk to people about this pledge we often get the same reaction: “So, why do you do it?”

A valid, question on its face, but the essence of it is something that the Pledge 1% movement is trying to eradicate. The essence of that question lies in an out-dated view of business; that a for-profit enterprise exists solely to make money, by any means necessary, and without regard to consequences. This Hobbesian model of capitalism is quickly fading into the past. But its impact still lingers residually in our collective memory.

According to a study conducted by Cone Communications and Echo Research in 2013, 19% of consumers surveyed believed that businesses either have no or very little responsibility for supporting social issues. Whereas 29% of respondents believed that business “should not only support but advocate for change in larger social or environmental issues by increasing awareness of the issue and donating products or services, money or volunteering.” The remaining 48% believed in varying degrees of corporate involvement in social issues.

In conjunction with these beliefs, the study also found that the majority (91%) of respondents are very/somewhat likely to switch brands associated to a good cause.

Businesses do exist to make profit, but a smart business recognizes the benefits of community involvement. At Pracedo, we chose to give back to non-profits because not only does it feel good, but it’s also part of our business strategy and culture.

Industry leaders across all sectors are taking on the responsibility of changing this perception and setting new standards on how businesses should interact with the community. was the first major company to adopt an integrated philanthropic model in which the company pledges 1% product, 1% company time, and 1% company equity to charities and non-profit organizations through the Salesforce Foundation. Other companies got wind of this model and wanted to do the same. To provide support and resources for these other companies, recruited the expertise of The Community Foundation, who set up the official Pledge 1% initiative.

At Pracedo, our company products are our consulting services. As our pledge to give 1% of company product, we engage in pro-bono work for non-profits and NGOs. There are many business benefits to pro bono work, and you can find at least a dozen articles with one Google search. We believe that giving work away benefits us in the following ways:

  • Stay Sharp
    – Keep your skills sharp by applying these skills in completely new settings and situations
  • Learn New Skills/Learn to run lean
    – Charities and non-profits learn how to run efficiently on small budgets, you will learn how to make a big impact with little budget
  • A chance to be a super hero
    – This is your chance to shine (even more) by being an expert. Non-profits want your help and they will appreciate it
  • Revitalize the passion
    – You and your employees will come back with a new sense of passion for your jobs

Giving Back Cycle:

Even with all the data, case studies, and consumer reports to support doing pro-bono work, when people ask us “So, why do you do it?” The answer for us is simple; it’s just the right thing to do.

-The Pracedo Team