As we embark upon a new year, it can be cathartic to take a step back and reflect upon the year before, and all we learnt, shared and experienced. In 2023, it wouldn’t be surprising if, in fact, you spend significant time reminiscing on the last few years – we’ve all certainly been through the wringer!
And now, as we navigate a post-pandemic world, many people – and businesses – are suffering the after-effects. In light of COP27, our awareness of the climate crisis is sky-high. Companies worldwide are playing their part in the fight against global warming, whilst also being hyper-aware of issues closer to home; in the UK, we are currently amidst the cost-of-living crisis. These concerns affect both customers and companies alike, and have elevated the need for pro bono work across all industries. But what is pro bono work – and how can you incorporate this into your 2023 business strategy?
What is Pro Bono Work?
Pro bono work may be carried out voluntarily – by either a company or an individual – but is distinctly different from volunteering. Expertise is a specific requirement for pro bono work, instead of simply being a valued factor. Whilst volunteering can require a certain level of training, pro bono work occurs exclusively in the professional, specialist sphere.
Deriving from the Latin term pro bono publico, pro bono work is “for the public good”. Therefore, the core purpose is to benefit society in a meaningful way. However, this does not mean that there aren’t benefits for your business in tandem; on the contrary, many companies have found that their pro bono work provides PR opportunities, creates potential long-standing partnerships and boosts their brand image. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – and, frankly, customers are far more likely to perceive you favourably if you are doing meaningful work in the social impact space. We live in the day and age of sustainable practices and strong community values, so don’t be overshadowed by competitors fighting the good fight.
Pro bono work is particularly prevalent in the legal industry, yet there are successful examples across various sectors. Whether you’re a solicitor offering free legal advice, a food wholesaler collaborating with food banks, or even a yoga wellness company offering discounted sessions to locals, this all comes under the pro bono umbrella.
Pro Bono Work: How to Get Started
So, how can your company get involved? First, as with any business endeavour, you need to identify your target market, and the value you can bring to them. For example, you may want to focus your attention on a particular charity or demographic that would benefit from your specific expertise. Either way, you must ensure that whomever you choose to help represents an issue in the wider community that aligns with your company ethos – from climate change to equal opportunities.
Once you know who you want to help – and how – you should form a strategy amongst your team. You need to scope out how many hours of free or discounted services are feasible; after all, the last thing you want to be doing is making false promises. Next, you should decide how to reach your target audience most effectively. You have two main choices: reach out to prospective customers directly or let them come to you. If you opt for the latter, you need to ensure that you build significant hype around your pro bono project for it to garner the attention it deserves. This can be achieved via social media content, digital PR, and a dedicated page on your website. It also needs to be crystal clear to customers how they can contact you and what information they should provide. A website form is one of the most efficient ways to do this.
Finally, once you’ve begun your first pro bono project, you should shout it loud and proud! Whilst your pro bono endeavours are naturally fuelled by the desire to make a positive change to your local and global communities, no one can deny the simultaneous benefits for your brand image. So, ensure you keep your followers updated – with regular posts on your social media channels and blog content on your website.
The Ins and Outs of Pro Bono Marketing
If you’re a digital marketing agency like us, you’ll likely have dabbled in, or at least considered pro bono marketing. Put simply, pro bono marketing is the provision of strategic and creative marketing services by agencies to non-profit organisations – at a reduced or no fee.
Why do so many digital marketing agencies get involved with the pro bono world? There are a whole host of benefits for marketers; not only do pro bono projects allow you to build your network and portfolio – potentially even gaining some long-term clients – but you are also helping to support missions that align with your brand’s values. It’s a win-win all round!
Pro bono marketing can take the form of several months of collaboration or a one-off campaign. But either way, it allows agencies like ours to play our part in causes that we are passionate about.
Introducing Social Chameleon: Unearthed
Now, what better time to introduce the exciting new branch of our agency dedicated to pro bono projects! Social Chameleon: Unearthed sets out to be transformative within the social impact sector. For our first venture, we are inviting small businesses and charities to apply for our help. We are offering 40 hours of pro bono digital marketing services per month for one selected company per six months, targeting specific global issues. In 2023, we will be focussing our efforts on the Food Crisis.
Many small businesses don’t have the budget for a top-quality agency’s help – which unfortunately sets them at an automatic disadvantage when up against the fierce competition in their industry. Therefore, we want to work with small organisations that don’t currently have a significant presence online, and make a direct impact on their future, far beyond the pro bono period.
Whether your business aims to reduce food waste, or contributes to the fight against food poverty, we want to hear from you! Get in touch via the form on our website today.