Pro Bono Small Business Consulting – “pro bono publico” is Latin for “in favor of the public”. Pro bono or skill-based volunteering refers to the voluntary participation of people who do not have access to these skills or who share them for free or almost free with individuals or organizations with a social purpose. People can choose to support a nonprofit organization or a person in need in their spare time, but some companies offer their employees to participate in a large number of activities during work hours.
About pro bono skills. There are one or more skills that a pro bono provider can bring to bear.
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Pro bono is serving a common good, i.e. helping a social change/non-profit organization, or money or location, etc. can be used to support someone who may not have access to these skills because of
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Performs pro bono service without compensation to beneficiary. However, it requires some investment from the user in terms of time and human resources. Some utility providers charge a small fee to users. However, it does not cover the time spent performing the service.
Pro bono is based on free choice. The people involved (both the provider and the user) participate because they agree.
Pro bono is a valuable tool for social sector organizations because it allows them access to a wide range of professional services that may not otherwise be available and supports them in achieving their shared goals. Professionals have the opportunity to make significant contributions to social work where they can gain experience and satisfaction. Employers have effective ways to achieve their social goals and develop employee programs in areas such as management and training. It is through these unique pro bono exchanges that new connections are made between people and organizations. One of the things that is special and different about Lane Ceart is our social purpose, dedicated to contributing to a better society by helping organizations that do good to do better. We do this through our ongoing client work – serving many nonprofits, as well as by investing alongside organizations and contributing our time, expertise and significant budget.
Every year, Right Lane donates a significant portion of our profits to projects and advocacy projects. To further our efforts, we’ve committed to a few low-maintenance topics:
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The topic of gender equality is very important to our whole team. Right Lane is currently doing significant work on gender equality through our recent appointment to the Public Sector Gender Equality Commission’s Supplier Panel, supporting organizations designated to meet their obligations under the Victorian Gender Equality Act 2020.
Our experience and involvement in gender issues provides a platform to explore other ways in which we can help promote gender equality in society.
The Law and Advocacy Center for Women (LACW) is an example of an organization at the heart of our mission. LACW is a new type of legal practice that provides specialized legal services along with holistic and preventive case management and treatment services to women at risk of incarceration. There are a number of factors that mean women are over-represented in the criminal justice system, and this is exacerbated by various intersecting factors such as race or ethnic origin. LACW fights this cause by helping keep women out of the criminal justice system.
In 2018 and again in 2021, Right Lane worked with LACW’s board and executive team as part of our pro bono consulting program to support them in exploring their future direction and articulating their strategy and plan.
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In 2018, LACW was just starting up, so its strategy outlined the need to “prove the concept”, create and develop to expand and fulfill its mission. With a business model and workforce established in 2021 and real credibility in the industry, the board wanted to seek a new perspective and consider how to strengthen these training and strong records and position LACW for the future.
This strategic negotiation capability is an important opportunity for an ambitious and growing organization like LACW. LACW is a small organization with a board that meets several times a year; his time is usually spent talking about other practical issues that leave little room for investing in risk assessment and strategy.
By facilitating strategy sessions specific to LACW, we were able to help create an environment where the board could consider the key environmental forces shaping the future of the organization and look at LACW’s role in making a difference, not just for women. serve but for all women before the justice system. The LACW board was able to re-imagine what the organization could achieve in its next strategic vision and create a clear plan of what the team needed to do to succeed.
For Right Lane and for myself, the opportunity to create this kind of value for an organization like LACW is exciting.
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I recently sat down with Jill Prior, Chief Legal Officer and Founder of LACW, to hear her thoughts on the importance of engaging in quality consulting services.
We started our conversation back in 2016, when the center opened its doors, and we were more confident than we are today. The office was set up with no funding, very little credit to the staff, and only a lot of hope’.
Today, the team has grown to a team of 10 lawyers, 3 social workers and a paralegal and is well positioned for the future. As Jill says:
‘It’s been a great journey, it’s grown the way we wanted it to – somehow we’ve managed to do it.’
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What is the content of going right and what is the challenge you are trying to solve?
Jill: From other organizational perspectives – my experience in local government and other large organizations is that there are usually some strategic mechanisms in place; planning functions, brainstorming sessions, etc. For us, in our board of two and three people, there was no such urgency [in strategic talks].
It was a good understanding as we grew up and grew up a bit. There was an idea that we should start looking at what we want to be in the next 3-5 years, do a reality check, see where we are, where our strengths are. the future
[The board’s strategy workshop] was really meaningful, great and helpful. As we came together this year and revisited where we left off in our first session three years ago, these ambitious goals struck a chord with us. Somehow we managed to reach them in three years.
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We need to get away from our desks and phones, talk about where we are and ask if we are doing well or if we can improve. By going through this process, we were able to reflect on our vision and look at the wider goals of the organization – when else do we have time to sit down and think?
Jill: As the saying goes: ‘A lawyer who behaves himself is a fool for his client’. Our clients deserve exceptional advocacy, legal representation and litigation. Our clients expect us to perform at a high level, and when you come to St. Vincent’s Emergency Department, you deserve the same excellent service—you don’t pay, but you do get the best medical care. So I have the right.
I think it would be foolish for us to do this [strategy development] ourselves because we don’t have the experience and someone like Zoe can very naturally guide us and our discussions. [The strategy workshop] was done seamlessly and created a space to explore the creative processes of future thinking, so it was really meaningful to us.
This type of service comes with a cost (high-quality thinking, preparation, planning), and it’s a cost that will be difficult for an organization to pay.
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The quality of the service provider (Zoe and the Right Lane team) is excellent, so that means everything to us. Would we do it ourselves? if we did, it would probably be a little half-baked and not have the necessary contribution that a professional brings to this space. Lack of depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in this field. Zoe’s work on these meaningful and reflective processes gave us insight and perspective that would have been difficult to access without her.
Thanks to Jill Prior for taking the time to talk about this