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October 24, 2017

When you think pro bono, lawyers may come to mind.

At Prudential, it may also look like an HR manager helping a nonprofit with its company handbook.

This week, small teams of Prudential employees in Newark and Hartford are pairing up with local nonprofits, offering support and advice on business strategy, finance, marketing and HR. The events are part of Pro Bono Week, a worldwide celebration of professional services donated in the public interest.

Since 2014, professionals across Prudential’s businesses have been consulting with local organizations on issues in their areas of expertise, through long-term pairings and one-day consulting events. Last year, 125 employees from 13 businesses and corporate centers participated in pro bono programs. The result: nearly $165,000 worth of consulting for 32 small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

These pro bono sessions, organized by Prudential in partnership with the Taproot Foundation, are designed to support up-and-coming leaders in building their skills by helping the company’s nonprofit partners address critical challenges. It’s part of a growing trend of companies offering pro bono work that appeals to professionals seeking purpose-driven careers, according to the Wall Street Journal in a recent article that featured Prudential as a case in point.

Last year’s Pro Bono Marathon paired 52 subject-matter experts from Prudential with more than a dozen nonprofits to tackle issues including recruitment strategy, financial planning, ROI evaluation and data analysis. The organizations came away with plans and implementation timelines, and reported that the experience would allow them to increase their effectiveness, broaden their reach, boost their revenues, and/or reduce their costs – outcomes that far exceeded their expectations.

Many Prudential participants said that working with the nonprofits - and leaders from other departments - helped them expand their thinking and utilize stretch skills.

“[What I found most beneficial] was the opportunity to view a problem outside of my day-to-day realm and communicate in a different way with the nonprofit, whose view of deliverables/timeframes/how to add value differ from my own,” one participant said. “[The experience] definitely broadened my perspective.”

Pro Bono Week runs from October 22-28. Follow the conversation on Twitter by searching #PBW17 and #PruCARES.

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Caitrin O'Sullivan