As I mentioned in this post, APCO Worldwide is a proud member of Billion + Change, a movement that is seeking pledges to establish the largest commitment of pro bono service in history. Spearheaded by Jean Case, B+C had a rocky start, but with more than 200 organizations currently on board and more than $1.8 billion of pro bono service already committed, I think it’s safe to say that B+C has hit its stride.
Earlier this week, I attended a B+C forum at the White House, where recognition was paid to current members of the movement, best practices were shared, and the tremendous impact associated with skills based volunteering was celebrated.
According to Jonathan Greenblatt, special assistant to the president and director, Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, skills based volunteering is approximately four times more valuable to an NGO than hands on volunteering. Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t great value associated with skills based volunteering – there absolutely is. But the value between the two is different.
Skills based volunteering enables employees to take on new management or leadership roles and develop useful business skills that they may not have exposure to otherwise. Getting these types of opportunities, along with the satisfaction of giving back, not only keep employees motivated, it keeps them happy – thereby helping with retention.
It’s clear that companies like IBM, Deloitte and Capital One* understand this concept. They each have best-in-class pro bono service programs that bring a great deal of value to surrounding communities and to bottom lines. So it makes sense that they are some of the largest supporters of B+C.
But they’re not the only ones getting involved. There are a number of small businesses that are signing on to B+C, recognizing that skills based volunteering programs and their benefits are not exclusive to large companies with a global employee base. One small business owner said that new business she acquired as a result of pro bono projects (thanks to an increase in profile and referrals) enabled her to grow her business by 42 percent. With returns like that, it’s no wonder the movement continues to grow.