spark banner

This could be you!


Last month Spark did a social media series entitled “Prep For Pro Bono” that examined 7 factors organizations need to consider before a Spark match.  We focused on a single  factor each day in an effort to explore and show their individual impact.   The questions at the end of each post acted as prompts for organizations to work though in an effort to prepare for their own successful pro bono match.

The following is the series in its entirety:


Factor 1: Getting Ready

The first factor that contributes to a great pro bono Spark match is readiness.  In this case, readiness is measured in the organization’s ability to choose a project.  Choosing a project can be tricky, luckily there are a few ways of organizing what potential projects take precedence over others.  Here are two methods we find helpful in identifying a Spark match project:


  1. The to-do list method: what projects or organizational needs do you anticipate in the next 6-12 months?
  2. Strategy based method: what are your organization’s goals? Are they identified in a strategic or multi-year plan? How could pro bono help you achieve them?


Factor 2: Buy-in

Before you start a match there needs to be support for the project within your organization.  To gauge organizational buy-in ask yourself these questions:


  1. Who in your organization has identified this as important?
  2. Is your team and board behind and open to having this done?  
  3. Do they have the time necessary to engage on the project?
  4. Who can/will be the point person?


Factor 3: Scope

When thinking about a match it is important to understand the scope of the project. Here are a few prompts to help you think about the potential structure of a project. If you can’t answer all of these don’t worry! Spark is here to help.


  1. Can you identify the work that needs to be done?
  2. How much work is required?
  3. What help do you need?
  4. What is the expertise and experience necessary?
  5. What are the pieces that need to happen?
  6. What pieces can your organization do?


Factor 4: Urgency

The Golden Rule: A good project is one that is important, but not urgent.

We at Spark need time to find the volunteer with the right skills, experience and availability.  Because of this, tight deadlines can be difficult to meet. So, a good project is one that will have a high impact on the organization but does not need to be completed in a short specified time frame.  Here are some examples of a good fit for pro bono:


  1. Developing a communications plan and press releases for an event that is six months or more away
  2. Developing job descriptions for positions in an organization 
  3. A mentorship match for a staff person new to a role


Factor 5: History

History is important when considering a pro bono match.  While some projects may start from scratch, others build may upon existing material, data, or documents. If this is the case, having past information is a great tool and may save time and workload.  To figure out a project’s potential history, ask yourself:


  1. Is the project or process something that has been done before?
  2. When, and what outside help did you get?
  3. What were the results?
  4. Can they be built on?
  5. Who has that information, and can you get it?


Factor 6: Knowledge

Although the Spark volunteer is skilled in their specific area they may not know much about the nonprofit sector or organization they are volunteering with.  This may impact the project.  Take the time to think about the following:  


  1. What knowledge about your field or organization will the pro bono consultants need?
  2. Is the outcome of the project worth the time and effort needed to provide that education?


Factor 7: Implementation and aftercare

Congratulations, you’ve reached the end! The final considerations are implementation and aftercare.  Once a match is done, an organization should continue the good work that was accomplished.  For this to happen, it is best to have a solid plan. Before the match think about:


  1. Are you going to make use of/implement/upkeep and fix?
  2. Who is going to do that?


Hopefully this guide can better prepare you and your organization for a Spark match! If you have questions about any of these factors, or would like to discuss a potential project contact us by email, phone, or social media!