According to Wikipedia:
“Pro bono publico (usually shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning “for the public good”. The term is generally used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment as a public service. It is common in the legal profession and is increasingly seen in marketing, technology and strategy consulting firms. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.”
I recently attended a luncheon held by the Raleigh Public Relations Society in which Megan Henderson, owner of Looking Glass Communications, gave a presentation on the importance of doing pro bono work for not only yourself, but for the community.
Interact is a private, non-profit, United Way agency that provides safety, support and awareness to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault. Interact fulfills this mission through the support of its volunteers and community.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and volunteer with Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives), a U.S. based non-profit organization “dedicated to the idea that every person should have access to the basics of life – food, clothing, shelter, education, and the chance to exercise his or her skills and ambitions.” The organization focuses on building houses, educating youth and encouraging sustainable economic development in rural towns throughout the region.
For a week I worked with a group of 16 volunteers (including my dad, sister and good friend from college) as well as members of the local community to build a new house for a deserving family. Though I enjoyed time away from technology and social media for a week, I was able to learn important lessons in communicating the old fashioned way.
I was watching an old episode of The Secret Millionaire over the weekend. In each episode of this reality series, a multi-millionaire lives in a poverty-stricken community for a week pretending to be working on a documentary. At the end of the week, the true identity of the millionaire is revealed as he/she gives a total of $100,000 of his/her own monies to one or more of the worthy individuals the millionaire has met during that week.
There are hundreds of non-profit organizations all over the Raleigh area. You don’t need to go “undercover” to find them. And though most of us don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to give to worthy causes, we can give our time.
There are hundreds of organizations out there that could benefit from the time and effort of volunteers. For me, I choose to use my professional knowledge and experience to help organizations with their marketing and communications needs. Though I enjoy helping my clients achieve their goals and objectives, I find it truly rewarding to help some local non-profits with promoting their admirable efforts.
If you are not volunteering already, give it a try. I’d highly recommend it.