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
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.
#2: Empowering Voices on Gender Equality
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
#3: Better Commerce Experience for a Boutique Book Publisher
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.