Pro Bono does not mean Free

So Pro bono does technically mean “provided without charge” but the reality is that Pro Bono does not mean free. It costs time and money to operate a pro bono program and it costs the participant organizations time and money to implement and execute the strategies agreed upon. They might not pay us money, but that doesn’t mean it is free.

pro bono does not mean free anna blanch rabe radical generosity


Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates functions on an economic model that provides for 50% of our portfolio consisting of communications consulting work for non profit organizations on a pro bono basis. What this means is that we invest time in those wanting to make initial contact.

Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

  1. Same day appointments. The writing process means that this is often simply impossible.
  2. Offering pro bono consultation or inviting connections to make an appointment through a scheduling link does not mean I have a light or open schedule. It is, in fact, the opposite. I have to carefully guard my time to meet our priorities and uphold our values.
  3. Multiple “free” consults or appointments without going through our pro bono program application process.
  4. That we will work with anyone and everyone. We value “fit” and know that our process and pro bono program is not for every organization.
  5. That we will do ALL the work FOR you. Our process is collaborative, but communications strategy is rarely effective if it imposed. There must be both buy in from your team as well as contribution as to the strategy and values.

The integrity of our program means that the application process is rigorous – we want to make sure this is the right fit for you, your organization, and our company and team.

This is a challenge – we make sure our pro bono participants understand the value of what we provide, and what it would cost monetarily if they engaged a similar quality communications consultancy. We ask our pro bono clients to agree to a scope of work, in writing.

We ask applicants to answer an extensive questionnaire before we do our first review – this helps us make better decisions and ensure that the organization has thought about what they want to achieve and why they want to work with us.

We also value the time and efforts of our pro bono program partners – we ask them to show us what these services would cost outside of the pro bono program. We want to make sure that the value is transparent for everyone involved. The last thing we want is to devalue or dilute the value of the services of our partners. We vet all of our partners – who also sign a non-disclosure agreement with us to protect the information of all parties. If you are interested in serving non profit organizations in a pro bono capacity we would love to hear from you.

To learn more about Anna Blanch Rabe & Associates and our content creation services for law firms and social impact businesses, and how we serve the non-profit community through communications consulting, please contact us.