Pro Bono Opportunities for Non Profit Web Site Marketing and Development

There are many web sites for nonprofit organization online that could use a little direction, a little help from people in the web design and internet marketing communities.

I came across a site this weekend that works to connect professionals interested in helping non profits with organizations that need their help.

The Taproot Foundation is a non profit that partners with corporations, universities and trade associations to help provide pro bono marketing, human resources and IT consulting to non profit organizations.

The term “pro bono” means “for the good,” and Taproot has been working to connect business professionals with non profits since 2001, enabling those professionals to provide a few hours a week to help organizations that can benefit from their experience and expertise.

Many of the Taproot projects involved creating or updating web sites for non profits. Here are some of the names of non profits that have been benefitting with Taproot, on projects involving basic or advanced web sites:

Brooklyn:

Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment (now closed)
Children’s Arts & Science Workshops Inc.

New York City:

Disabilities Network of New York City
Hamilton-Madison House
Jamaica Service Program For Older Adults

Washington, DC:

Ayuda

Alexandria, DC:

Carpenter’s Shelter

San Francisco, Ca:

CARECEN San Francisco
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Conservatory of Flowers

Oakland, Ca:

Fred Finch Youth Center
Friends of the Urban Forest
Hamilton Family Center
Hand in Hand Parenting

San Mateo, Ca:

Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

Chicago, Il:

Chicago Communities In Schools, Inc.
Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Deicke Center for Visual Rehabilitation
Housing Opportunities for Women
Latinos Progresando
Literacy Chicago

Chelsea, MA:

Chelsea Collaborative, Inc.

Seattle, WA:

ECOSS – Environmental Coalition of South Seattle
Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession
Hanford Challenge
Parent Trust for Washington Children

Taproot appears to be limited to 6 regions around the US:

  • Bay Area
  • Seattle
  • Chicago
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Washington DC

In addition to helping organizations that really need help and are working to help change the world for the better, by getting involved with Taproot, you have the opportunity to meet other professionals and get involved with people from corporate partners such as Microsoft, Yahoo, TimeWarner, Idealist.org, Deloitte, and many others.

If you are outside of Taproot’s regions, there are other places to learn about volunteer opportunities. For instance, a “virtual” search on the VolunteerMatch Website for web designer reveals 166 opportunites from organizations like:

Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, Inc.
Common Peace, Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence
Harvest Home
Silence the Violence, Inc.

Want to help change the world and peoples’ lives? There are plenty of opportunities.

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19 thoughts on “Pro Bono Opportunities for Non Profit Web Site Marketing and Development”

  1. Great idea, I love this. I’ll have to add these links to my blog at some point.
    Thanks!

  2. Great post, I have heard of them before and strongly support the idea. At one of my companies, Empowered we have a Monthly lottery where we award various non-profits with a quality web solution at no cost to them.

    Although we only did it just to support he greater good, we found that the word of mouth referrals were stronger than any advertising we could have done. Consequently, to date we are the largest web solution/marketing provider in the state of Hawaii with over 600 active clients.

    I strongly urge considering placing pro bono clients on a content management system (CMS) and “teaching them to fish” as if they call in for changes all the time it can wear the relationship and eventually they feel like the step child and you can feel like your generosity was abused. We use the CMS ZeppOS which is the most user friendly on the market while being scalable enough to allow robust membership options.

    Anyways, thanks again for the great post Bill!

  3. Hi Mikel,

    Thanks.

    Hi Kimberly,

    You’re welcome. I really like the idea behind the TapRoot Foundation, and I hope that at least a few of the people who read this might consider getting involved, with it or with some other nonprofits.

    Hi Rob,

    It sounds like getting involved in a larger community, where you can help people, has been a really positive experience for your company, not only in a business sense, but in a personal one, too. Thanks for sharing your experience. Great tip on setting clients up with a good CMS, and empowering them by teaching them how to use. it.

    Hi Pittsburgh SEO ,

    Good news on your meetups. Do you get a lot of people show up who market for nonprofits? If not, it might be interesting for your group to seek some out, and share some notes. :)

  4. Great stuff Bill!

    Just a few weeks ago I was contacted by a non-profit which was part of the Jewish community. I’m not Jewish but I liked what this group was about. They were surprised when I said I would consult for no charge. Every once in a while we all should step up as you suggest. If nothing else, it does make you feel good. Thanks for these links.

  5. Hi Doug,

    Thanks, very much. And you’re welcome.

    It can be really easy to get caught up in a world of business and profit, without looking at how you might be able to make a positive difference to a lot of people by taking a little time out of business for businesses sake.

    Doing something just because it helps someone else, or it helps make the Earth a little greener, or it provides opportunities to help empower others can be more important and fulfilling than cashing a check. We sometimes treat this world as if we own it, when really we’re just fortunate enough to share it with others.

  6. Great post, always enjoy your blog.

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for pro bono openings in Seattle.

  7. Great post Bill. Indeed a bit of fresh air in the otherwise stale and sometimes stinky world of seo these days. I am outside Taproots regions but will take this on to find a non profit and do a little pro bono myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Thank you, David.

    Another resource that I’ve found which does have more of an international scope is idealist.org.

    I searched over there using “internet marketing” as my keywords and “computers and technology” as my area of focus, in their section for volunteer opportunities, and came up with some interesting sounding results.

    It would be fun to do some SEO for a site like Native Planet, which is looking for some SEO help.

    I hope that you find a group to work with that appreciates your involvement. Good luck. :)

  9. Thanks for posting this link. When I started a non-profit, some time ago, I was struggling until a volunteer took the time to guide me though some of the web-design issues that were overwhelming me.
    I really think that I’ve reached a point where I’ve discovered and learned enough that I can “give back” the the NPO community.
    William S., thanks for your link as well. I’ll be looking at both and seeing where I can help out.

  10. You’re welcome, Lawrence.

    Thanks for sharing how a volunteer helped make a difference in launching your nonprofit site.

    A lot of people helped me with tutorials and FAQs and help pages during my days working with technology in the Court system, and as I was learning to build web pages and help others with their pages, so I know what you mean.

    Good luck in your search.

    Hi Jami,

    Thanks. That’s a good point. The “virtual” location search on volunteer match is a good way to find opportunities there, too, where work might involve doing something that can be done from a distance, like building a web site for someone.

  11. Great article :) I’ve just written an article outlining some other things to consider when it comes to providing pro bono work.

  12. We are building a demonstration gizmo,
    to keep kids from dying in hot parked cars.

    Any fundraising ideas appreciated.

    Go to facebook and search for CHAS group.
    (cabin heat abatement system).

    -jim pruett

    PS, I found your site from usafundraising.com
    Blame them ;-)

  13. Hello Bill,
    This thread is old but the idea of pro bono SEO is still very much current. I don’t think this kind of initiative exists a lot out of the US, with posts like this one, you can make more people aware that they can actually help out and be charitable with their SEO skills. Some people probably never even thought of this before.
    Cheers, Lisa

  14. Hi Lisa,

    Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that some organizations still don’t understand the potential value of SEO, even if you offer to work with them pro bono.

    I did contact the Taproot Foundation around the time that I wrote this post, and when I heard back from them, they told me that they really weren’t looking for SEO.

    Honestly, their loss.

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