Pro bono is an interesting concept and if used appropriately can be a valued asset to any business owner. But what to do when approached with a request for such work?
I was recently contacted by my former employer to design a logo/patch for a new division in their department. I was thrilled that they would think of my company for the work and I was even more excited to do some logo work. But that excitement also needs to be contained somewhat and a business owner needs to tread lightly when agreeing to pro bono work.
The first thing you want to think about is the organization you’re working with. Does the organization support a cause that is close to you? Is their message something clear and positive? All in all, can you look at the project and feel that your morals or values are not being compromised?
Next, if you’re a service oriented business make certain that a fair agreement (or contract to some) is one of the first steps to complete before any actual work begins. The intention of the agreement are not meant to discourage the client but is meant to set a certain amount of parameters on the project. Once the agreement is signed, then the real work can begin.
But what if the timing of the request is just not right? Maybe you’re swamped with another project that isn’t pro-bono and you need to say “no”? If that is the case, maybe you have another business associate that you could refer the client to? Just be careful not to try and dump a crap job on someone’s lap just because you’re not interested. And also make sure that the person you’re referring the client to is even interested in any work at the moment.
So the next time you’re asked for some pro-bono work, weigh-in on the project, look at their values/morals versus yours and most of all, make sure you enjoy the work you’ll be doing.