A Retrospective of Our Pro Bono Projects and Why We Love Them

Queen

As the end of year approaches fast, – and I usually become more sentimental during this period of reflection (self and business) – I wanted to look back on some of our most impactful experiences with pro bono projects. Our team votes and onboards one project every year with no consultancy and developer fees that with little help can make the world a better place.

Because we never tie these projects to conditions like “give us X referrals in return” even our chosen clients often question why we are doing this. What’s our win and ROI here? Let me tell you three stories, with the note that we loved and were excited about each and every pro bono project, but I selected these three because they fill a particularly itching cultural or social awareness gap.

#1: Reshaping Content and Design in Biobanking Promotion

life science content marketing

Motivation

Honestly, projects that require both SEO consulting and my life science background have a special place in my heart. In 2009 TIME magazine recognized biobanks as one of the 10 ideas changing the world. Since that time, the role of biobanking, including both scientific and business aspects, has become essential to advances in medical research and the conservation of species.

The first and the only platform in Hungary educating the life sciences and healthcare communities and connecting professionals in modern biobanking was co-created by a research biologist, Dr. Eszter Tuboly, who after a decade of traveling the world and participating in prestigious R&D projects returned to her home country to establish the foundation of modern biobanking and put Hungary on the international biobanking map. As she put it in an interview, “In the Western world, biobanking best practices and social awareness about the topic is well established, therefore I can and must make an impact here and now, in Eastern Europe”. But during a catch up chat I learned that their awareness project was struggling to reach a broader audience, while there is still a lot of confusion on what you can and cannot call a biobank and there’s little or no awareness in society about the potential impact. It was time to dust off my skills from my science journalist past and bring it into our SEO & content strategy Pod.

The Work

Our work together has begun a few months ago with redesign, content strategy and copyediting. It's still an ongoing engagement with many wins already on both sides in a particularly challenging socio-economic climate. The experts behind Biobank Portal have already been contacted by key stakeholders to help them establish the policy and technical requirements of their biobanks and connect them with the global landscape through best practices and audits. Their new connections came through the improved discoverability of their powerful content that now was able to let the expertise and passion of the founders shine through.

The ROI

It’s still unfolding through new, meaningful connections, but for me, personally it’s an inspiring way to reconnect with an old friend and channel our exciting life science discussions into powerful editorial material.

#2: Empowering Voices on Gender Equality

Nőkért

Motivation

Imagine a country where less than 10 years ago, there was only a small community and digital medium where the discussion about violence against women focused on the perpetrator, not on miniskirts. The Association for Women (Nokert Egyesulet) was back then the only organization in Hungary to question the number of women mentioned in Hungarian history and literature textbooks, or why women's representation in politics is way below the EU average (13% vs 33%). But the website with its incredibly valuable and informative content was as outdated as Virginia Woolf’s typewriter while offering a great hacker-experience. This was our very first pro bono project from 2015 that made us realize the long-term value of such experiences for us as a team.

The Work

The new identity design with strict branding guidelines (which became crucial with the Association’s growing popularity), a robust web development and content architecture were the first milestones, later followed by further involvement in technical and creative support through public and private funding.

The association's content has been transformed into an indispensable repository, documenting the often-overlooked achievements of Hungarian women throughout history. It now stands as a reliable source, offering not only the first translated text of the Istanbul Convention but also a wealth of educational material, solidifying its status as a cornerstone in the exploration of women's history and cultural heritage and Eastern Europe and beyond.

In addition to our creative involvements, we play a pivotal role in ensuring the security of the organization's website which faces continuous cyber threats after their voice is being heard by a greater public.

See more: Women's Rights in Hungary: Technical & Creative Support

The ROI

Besides further involvement in exciting NGO funded projects (with revenue for us, yes) and an obtained firm understanding on how to work effectively with NGOs – as a woman in business and science myself, I have always found inspiration and empowering connections within this community.

#3: Better Commerce Experience for a Boutique Book Publisher

Kijárat Kiadó

Motivation

Our senior developer, when not coding and designing, is a book worm with a particular interest in contemporary philosophy. To put it simply, he wanted to read philosophy works in his mother tongue. But Hungary has a serious gap in contemporary philosophy translation and publishing. No wonder, when we found Kijarat, this gem among the publishers - who do publish important contemporary philosophy works, but nobody seems to know about it -, we knew we had to do something about that damn user experience we encountered on their website.

The Work

We redesigned the website (with a hint of modern, creative touch) and implemented a user-friendly checkout flow and commerce experience so that perhaps the most special books of Hungarian publishing can be accessible to every reader in this small language community.

The ROI

Honestly, I had my doubts about this one, but the developer was so determined that he proved he can manage it all without risking the timelines and deliverables of our other projects.

The result of this effort isn’t just adding new, free book gems to our shelves. We also developed a fresh process to effectively reshape and restructure an outdated or not well configured commerce experience.

See more: E-commerce & Philosophy: Design & Development for an Exceptional Niche Publisher

So What’s the Point at the End of the Day

The most obvious and direct benefits are of course those that bring us referrals and new business, however, when we evaluate if we should onboard a new pro bono case we look at beyond the easily measurable potential outcomes. We are looking to answer the following questions as well:

  • Does the mission of the selected organization align with our values?
  • Will we enjoy, are we feeling excited about the upcoming tasks?
  • Are we able to experiment with new methods, processes and solutions (that we can use in futue projects)?
  • Are we learning something new not only in terms of technical skills, but also in a broader spectrum of professional development and leadership?
  • If the project is successuful, will the impact be meaningful for the local, national or international community?

Ultimately, those team conversations about which project we want and can afford to take without consultancy fees are always great bonding and learning experiences. We learn more about what inspires each of us, what are we passionate about and what new adventures we are really looking for.

And there’s a touch of magic to it all. These projects serve as a reminder of why we started desigining, creating, giving advice or working with data in the first place. Stepping away from QBRs and rigid KPIs allows the sheer joy of experimenting and using our expertise on enhancing how an organization or brand is perceived by its stakeholders.

Consult with our experts.

Consult with our experts.