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Three Reasons To Offer Pro Bono Services

How Your Business Can Benefit From Doing Pro Bono Work


Attorneys are well known for offering pro bono legal services. Many states actually make this a requirement for lawyers, but there is a common misconception that attorneys, and business owners, offer pro bono services to get tax breaks. The reality is, there are no huge tax benefits for offering pro bono services because the IRS is very picky about what you may and may not deduct for pro bono services.

Although you can choose to absorb all costs associated with donated services, "pro bono services" does not exclusively mean "free services." Pro bono services can also include services provided at-cost, and you can take certain deductions for tangible costs you do absorb.

Aside from minor tax perks, here three great reasons why you should consider offering pro bono services.

Three Important Benefits In Offering Pro Bono Services

#1 Pro Bono Services Are a Great Way to Launch a New Business

Many new business owners have trouble getting clients, drawing in customers, or getting financing. One of the reasons is they lack a list of references and clients who can refer them to others. Before you toss in the towel, or wear out your personal relationships begging family and friends to support your business, think pro bono. Here are a few reasons why:

  • If you have references to offer people are more likely to trust your business.

  • A business that gives back to the local community is likely to get free positive press in local newspapers and through word of mouth.

  • A business can show their services have value (charities do not accept all pro bono services, so getting your good name associated with a reputable charity is a plus.)

  • You can boast pro bono work in your client portfolio or post a sign in a store "we support Charity XYZ."

  • People who work for charities are often underpaid or volunteer workers because they love their causes. If you support their work, they are likely to give you referral business, and free marketing such as a mention on the charitiy's website, in newsletters, or other places where your business' name could reach hundreds or hundreds of thousands of people (depending on the size of the charity.)

#2 You Will Learn New Skills and New Ways of Thinking

Charities often have unique needs that differ from for-profit businesses in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: they must be creative and frugal to survive.

Charities excel at getting things done on a dime and you can learn new methods and approaches that might help you run your own business more efficiently.

#3 Feel Good About Yourself and the Footprint You Are Making in the World

Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get - we make a life by what we give." If your business is not in the financial position to support social causes, donate your services instead. Every penny you save a charity is another penny that can be used to help their cause.

Attorney, Amy J. Greer, offers her own thoughts in Top 10 Reasons Why I (Still) Do Pro Bono Work, that sums up the bottom line for most businesses who offer their services for the greater good: "pro bono and community service are just the right thing to do."

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