GoProBono opens up world of skilled volunteering

6 June 2014

GoProBono is a new digital tool for charities, businesses and individuals looking for skills-based volunteering opportunities - a growing sector trend.

GoProBono - the skill sharing super hub that boosts access to and raises awareness of skilled volunteering opportunities - is launching as part of National Volunteering Week that celebrates its 30th anniversary. The launch of the tool marks a growing trend for skill sharing.

GoProBono is the new place for charities, businesses and individuals looking to engage and donate pro bono. This digital database for the first time brings together more than 70 pro bono brokers on one searchable platform. Now charities and skilled volunteers can access thousands of skill sharing opportunities across London and the UK from one place. 

The rapid growth of volunteer brokering agencies over the last few years points to the growing trend for 'volunteering in suits' - people using their professional skills for public good.

'In an age of severe budget cuts, donations of professional help are particularly valuable to charities and therefore we are seeing growing demand for financial, accounting, marketing, IT and other professional services. On the flipside businesses increasingly seek to align their CSR strategies with their commercial offer and so want to offer volunteering support that underpins what they do as a business. This has led to an increase in demand for and supply of skilled volunteering opportunities. Pro Bono volunteering is particularly suited to the City, says Cheryl Chapman, Director of City Philanthropy that helped create GoProBono.

Brian Smouha, of the Coalition for Efficiency, co-creators of GoProBono, says: 'The ability to match skilled volunteers with the right opportunities means well-intentioned and well- meaning companies can offer their help in ways that charities find truly useful. The growing number of volunteer brokers is immensely encouraging and we believe that it would be beneficial to all if these complementary services were promoted on one platform.'

Gillian Murray, CEO of Pilotlight, a charity that matches skilled business leaders with charities and social enterprises across the UK and facilitates a year long engagement, comments on the trend: 'It does feel as if there’s been a shift - a growing appreciation of the fact that using your professional skills may well add more value than the hands-on volunteering - painting walls and planting gardens.

'The great thing we see is that the benefits go both ways - 88 per cent of our business members tell us they have taken improved skills back to their workplace, along with a better understanding of the operating context for UK charities and the incredible work they do.'

'We are funding this tool because we think mapping this space will bring greater clarity and understanding to those looking to volunteer their skills or needing skilled volunteers. We believe GoProBono will increase the take-up of pro bono volunteering and lead to greater collaboration between volunteer brokers,' says David Farnsworth, Chief Grants Officer at City Bridge Trust.