The following is a guest blog by Spark pro bono consultant Cate Friesen:
Why I work as a pro bono consultant with Spark
First of all, the staff at Spark make a mean cappuccino. Just saying.
I called Spark out of the blue, around the time I launched my own business. We made a date and next thing you know, we got serious. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Someone suggested I check out Spark as a good avenue to establish myself in the community and get specific work experience under my belt.
And while the coffee is a perk, I’ve discovered the benefits of being a pro bono consultant are many. In short, so far I think I’m getting more than I have given.
Here are just a few of those benefits:
Exploring skills and services that I want to add to my portfolio:
Confession. I might have caught the Spark staff off guard. I got on one knee and popped the question. (ok, I didn’t really do the knee thing but you get the idea). I wanted to explore what I had to offer in terms of increasing an organization’s profile online in order to make valuable connections. And I saw that Spark might benefit from what I had to offer. I requested that I start my pro bono consultancy by having Spark as my first client. And they said yes!
A legit time bound contract:
It’s different working through Spark than it is when I volunteer my time on my own. Why? It’s like having a broker who looks at my skills and an organization’s needs and brings us together to come up with a working contract that has a time frame, an hourly limit, and a measurable goal. And then Spark is there to support the process along the way, and evaluate the end result. Legit, right?
Referrals for paying work:
While Spark! staffer Geoff Ripat and I were doing the intake interview, he was already thinking of where my skills might be needed, pro bono or not. He made a few suggestions for other organizations I should meet up with. That has resulted in some paying contracts. Sweet!
A service to suggest to my clients:
The non-profit clients I work with often run on a shoestring budget. And as much as I do whatever it takes to come up with a scenario that works for both parties, I can’t always accommodate. Or I find out in the process of meeting, that they have a need that I can’t address. But I can say I am on the books with Spark, and so are a wealth of professionals with an amazing array of skills — and they can explore that option.
If you want an opportunity to hone your professional skills, make new connections and give back to the community, I highly recommend making a date with Spark!
BIO: Cate Friesen is the driving force of The Story Source. She’s a story practitioner, facilitator, and trainer who brings together 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, award-winning CBC producer, documentary maker and performer. She helps individuals and organizations discover and tell the stories that connect with their missions, their staff, clients, and funders.
If you liked this article and want to learn more about social media Spark matches, click the links below!