Benchmarking Global Pro Bono’s Impact on Investment

Case Studies from the Common Performance Indicator Project

Companies are increasingly taking proactive steps to bridge societal and business needs through opportunities that generate mutually beneficial outcomes. Global Pro Bono (GPB), the practice of sending skilled employees on short-term assignments to work as consultants with local organizations in underserved communities, is a shining example of how companies are creating value that benefits communities, the business, and their employees. Within GPB programs, employees build the capacity of host clients to help them become more equipped to address community challenges before returning to their companies with new insights and skills.

One of the most significant trends PYXERA Global identified from its 2017 Global Pro Bono State of the Practice Benchmarking Survey—conducted among 21 companies that are implementing GPB programs, some for as long as 12 years—is that impact measurement is increasing in importance as companies seek to more clearly demonstrate the results of their GPB programs. Since 2014, there was a nearly 40 percent increase in companies measuring social impact, and an 11 percent increase in companies gauging the corresponding business impact of their programs.

In recent years, PYXERA Global has witnessed steady growth in attention to impact measurement. This is unsurprising, as sharing stories of impact improves buy-in both at the executive level, for continued program support, and at the employee level, for engagement and retention of exist-ing employees as well as recruitment of prospective talent.

The growing interest in impact measurement coalesced in 2015 when several ICV Leadership Council members partnered to develop a shared framework to measure and benchmark GPB programs’ impact on host clients, communities, participants, and the companies themselves. Besides understanding individual program impact, the expectation for the framework was that it would enable the ICV Leadership Council to report on collective impact and provide pertinent reference materials for new GPB implementers.

Building on this progress, in 2016, PYXERA Global piloted a Common Performance Indicator (CPI) project with the ICV Leadership Council. Eleven companies participated in the project by including proposed CPI questions in their participant and host organization surveys, which led to responses from 990 GPB participants and 349 host clients. The survey results were aggregated based on the 13 CPIs to compare and contrast pro bono programs. The indicators measure whether programs are achieving their desired impact, and include: host organization impact, participant impact, and company impact.

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