Pro bono is the giving of a business's skills or services for free. It has long been a popular model of community support for law and accountancy firms in particular, but also for marketing and IT firms, as well as tradespeople supplying labour and expertise without pay.
Many businesses actively encourage pro bono work and offer incentives to encourage staff to take part and view it favourably in general when assessing staff performance.
It is also a good way for a businesses to contribute to a partnership because it makes use of staff members' skills to benefit the community, rather than having skilled staff volunteering their time to perform less financially-valuable work.
For a community group, being able to use a pro bono arrangement to gain skills and complete tasks is often invaluable, particularly if none of that group's members have the skills or qualifications to complete a task necessary for the group's operations.
Linked to the concept of pro bono work is that of discounted service provision to favour community groups. Instead of offering services for free, this arrangement sees services discounted for community partners, saving them money and enabling them to benefit from a service they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Examples of pro bono service include:
A law firm offering services to a sporting group with insurance or contract issues; a consultant offering to help a community group update its risk assessment and management criteria; an electrician installing new lighting at the local neighbourhood house; or a doctor offering immunisations to groups in the community.
An IT company offering heavily discounted work to a community group; or a counselling service that provides a number of free sessions and then substantially discounted services to women recovering from the trauma of domestic violence.