FAQ for Nonprofits


What nonprofits are eligible to request pro bono help? 

The Federation’s nonprofit partners are eligible. In particular, we are looking for nonprofits that are committed to providing a high-quality pro bono consulting experience for a highly skilled professional. Eligible nonprofits can be start-ups through well-established organizations.

What types of pro bono expertise can we request?

Pro bono consultants have expertise in a range of industries such as: Communications, Marketing & Social Media, Business Planning & Operations, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, Executive Coaching, Information Technology, Law, Real Estate and more.

What types of pro bono opportunities are professionals seeking?

The professionals seek high-priority, results-oriented opportunities that will strengthen nonprofit operations and impact. The scope needs to be discrete, well-defined, and results-oriented. Many professionals prefer work that can be done remotely.

How many hours of consulting can be requested? How long can opportunities last?

Each opportunity is unique. They range from a few hours to on-going consultations for six months or more.

What is required in terms of managing the professional?

The Executive Director or other senior manager needs to be the designated point person responsible for the success of the professional and the engagement. Responsiveness to the professional and us are a must. A 24-hour turnaround to all communication is expected, even if it’s simply communicating the date for when you will send the thorough reply. You will be required to submit periodic updates and a final evaluation survey to us.

What support can I count on from the Federation staff?

We do our best to ensure that the experience is meaningful for all parties. First, we are eager to help you scope out a viable pro bono opportunity and market it on our Portal. During the engagement, we proactively check in with both parties and are always available to help problem-solve. However, you and the professional are responsible for keeping the engagement on track, communicating openly and regularly, and meeting deadlines.

Can I continue working with the professional once the opportunity is over?

Yes! Many nonprofits do. You and the professional should openly discuss the parameters for subsequent engagements (e.g. paid or pro bono). If pro bono, we ask you to arrange the work through our Practice so we can help structure it and provide ongoing support to both parties.

How do I contact the Pro Bono Consulting Practice?

Email us. We'll get back to you right away.

Requesting Pro Bono Help

How do I request a pro bono consultant?

It’s easy. Go to Get Pro Bono Help and fill out the online request which will prompt you to scope out a pro bono engagement that, when completed, will enhance your organization’s operations and impact. The engagement needs to be a high priority for the nonprofit and have a well-defined scope with clearly articulated deliverables. You must commit to having adequate bandwidth and resources to ensure a successful experience for the professional and to respond promptly to communication from us.

What is the review process for my request? Are all requests accepted?

Requests are reviewed by the Federation staff and an Industry Area Expert (e.g., Industry Lead). The review evaluates whether:

  1. The scope is meaningful and well-defined with clearly-articulated deliverables.
  2. The hours required and deadlines are realistic.
  3. The requisite skills and experience are accurately spelled out.

Nonprofits are asked to respond to any concerns related to the above. Once resolved, the request is  posted as a current opportunity where professionals can view and apply for it. If issues cannot be resolved, then the request is not posted.

How long does the review take?

One to two months.

Is there a limit to the number of requests I can submit?

We recommend submitting no more than two requests at any one time, unless each is very time-limited.

What if diverse skillsets are required to complete the engagement?

If distinct skillsets are required for the various tasks and deliverables, then submit separate requests defining the scope for each engagement and subsequent sequencing.

What if I have more questions about how to fill out and manage the request form?

Check out our user manual or email us.


How does the matching work?

The Federation markets the opportunities posted on the Pro Bono Portal to its database of 300+ professionals who have indicated interest in serving as pro bono consultants and to our various professional networks. Interested professionals then apply on-line for the opportunities.

How are professionals vetted?

In the online application, professionals specify the experience, skills, or interests they bring that would be valuable for the engagement and share their LinkedIn profile or resume. Next, our Industry Area Expert (e.g., Industry Lead) confirms that a professional’s application indicates the requisite skills to perform the engagement. Then, the application is shared with the nonprofit. However, it is the responsibility of the nonprofit to determine whether the professional has the right mix of business/technical skills and other attributes to be the right working partner. The professional will make a comparable assessment about the fit.

How quickly will I receive a professional’s application?

We hope to get applications to you within a few weeks. Feel free to check in if you need to know sooner.

What do I do after I receive a professional’s application?

Nonprofits have two days to decide whether to interview the professional. We then formally introduce the professional and the nonprofit via email and ask that you hold an interview (in person if at all possible) within ten days to determine whether to partner on the engagement.

Does the Federation guarantee every request will result in a match?

We will do our best but cannot promise that all requests will result in matches.

The Interview

What transpires at the interview?

The interview (held in person or, if not possible, by live video conference) allows you and the professional to determine whether to partner on the engagement. Thus, come to the interview with questions that will help you assess the suitability of the match (such as skills, experience, work samples, communication style, availability, fit with organizational culture, parameters for subsequent engagements). Invite to the interview the staff and lay leaders who will be instrumental to the success of the engagement. At the interview give a brief overview of the organization and its accomplishments and share why the engagement is a priority and how it’ll make a difference to the nonprofit. After the interview, you and the professional have two days to inform us whether you wish to collaborate. See Tips for a Successful Pro Bono Engagement.

What if I decide after the interview that it's not a good fit?

That's fine. It’s better to figure that out before you begin. If other professionals apply, those applications will be shared with you.

The Engagement

What happens after the engagement is agreed to?

See Tips for a Successful Pro Bono Engagement which give advices on mapping out a work plan with tasks, deliverables, responsible parties, timeline, means and frequency of communication, and process for resolving any concerns (e.g., scope creep). Parties need to decide whether to have formal agreements on nondisclosure and/or liability issues and about sharing and ownership rights of deliverables.

What if I need advice during the engagement?

We are here to support you. Email us. We will get back to you right away.

What happens once the engagement is completed?

Thank and celebrate with the professional! We can’t stress enough how important it is to abundantly recognize the professional’s contribution throughout and at the completion of the engagement. Express your gratitude via: a thank you letter from the Board of Directors, recognition at a Board meeting or other event (invite us!), featuring their work in your marketing materials and on social media, a tribute posted to the professional's online profile. Share your creative ideas with us.

Also, we want to hear about and learn from your experience.  Please inform us by completing the final survey and submitting testimonials and stories for the Federation’s blog. And share your experience with your network and funders. Most importantly, we hope you will request pro bono help again and encourage your colleagues to do so!