Resource Spotlight: Taproot Foundation


You may have seen the new “Pro Bono and the Food System” tool that the Wallace Center and the Taproot Foundation partnered on recently… (if not, check it out in the Stories section!). Well, we also had a chance to chat with Taproot Foundation’s Kimberly Swartz to learn more about what the Taproot Foundation does, what pro bono is, and, most exciting of all, how they can help hook you up with FREE support for your organization! • Describe Taproot in a Haiku. Pro bono service Bridge nonprofit resource gap With new perspectives • Nice one! And what does Taproot bring to the (national food systems) table? Taproot connects organizations dedicated to ending hunger with the pro bono marketing, technology, HR, finance, and strategy resources they need to fight food insecurity in their communities on a wider scale. • So who does Taproot serve? Taproot works directly with nonprofit and social change organizations searching for pro bono support, skilled business professionals eager to give back, and corporations who are strengthening their commitment to the community through pro bono volunteerism. We lead the way, ensuring that mission-driven organizations--like members of the Food Systems Leadership Network--have access to high-quality, high-impact pro bono support where and when they need it. • What do people/orgs look to you for? Nonprofits look to us to connect them with the skilled volunteers, resources, and guidance they need to complete a successful pro bono project. We meet you and your nonprofit where you are. Our programs are cost free, and fully customized to address your unique challenges – whether you need one hour or four months, virtual or in person support. • What are three questions Taproot gets asked the most – and how do you answer them?! • Our organization has several large-scale challenges, where do I even begin? Take a deep breath - this is where Taproot excels. We have 17 years of experience in helping nonprofits diagnose their challenges and craft pro bono projects that lead to sustainable solutions. • Our nonprofit doesn’t have the budget for a marketing or tech department. Can we find volunteers to help fill that knowledge gap? Pro bono support is a great way to supplement, or fill in, gaps in experience at your organization. There is no limit to the number of projects or volunteers you can work with through Taproot at one time, so teams across your nonprofit can benefit. • I have a few quick questions on a specific business topic. Do any of your volunteers do consults? Yes! Nonprofits can speak one-on-one with an expert business professional in a one-hour consultation call through Taproot’s Virtual Office Hours program (https://taprootfoundation.org/nonprofits/programs-nonprofits/ ). • Are there certain tools or resources that you’ve found especially popular? It can be difficult for nonprofits to envision what exactly they’ll walk away with at end the end of a pro bono project. We’ve found that Taproot’s Common Projects Catalog (as an attachment to this story) is a great resource to help nonprofits identify not only the tasks they can recruit skilled volunteers for but also what their organization will gain from those projects. We’ve also recently launched the “Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain” tool that we co-developed with the Wallace Center (also attached here) that helps organizations distill down their challenges into specific asks that our skilled volunteers can assist with. Check it out! • Wow. This is amazing! Who can access your resources? How? Taproot’s pro bono services are cost-free and available to staff at any nonprofit organization or public school located in the United States, United Kingdom, India, or Singapore. The simplest way to connect with Taproot’s pool of 40,000+ skilled business professionals is by registering on our online nonprofit-volunteer platform, Taproot+( https://www.taprootplus.org/ ). Submit a request for a volunteer in your unique challenge area and Taproot staff will help you find the perfect match! • You’re clearly a major resource--What resources or support is Taproot looking for? A large part of the work Taproot Foundation does is around advancing the pro bono movement as a whole – letting social organizations and business professionals know about the power and potential of pro bono service. We’re always searching for community partners to assist Taproot in advocating for the importance of pro bono service and educating nonprofits in their network about this awesome resource. Contact me directly at kswartz@taprootfoundation.org if you’re interested in partnering! • What other resource-full organizations would you recommend? There are some great organizations focused on strengthening the nonprofit sector that Taproot partners with for educational events or to address our own needs: • For legal pro bono assistance, check out the experts at Trust Law (http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/ ), a service of Thomson Reuters Foundation. • Running a holiday giving campaign? Giving Tuesday’s site (https://www.givingtuesday.org/ ) is chock full of helpful tips and clever ideas. • And, last but not least, Foundation Center ( https://foundationcenter.org/ )does great work in compiling social sector information, analyzing funding trends, and gathering resources all in one place. • Thanks so much for sharing all these resources with us! How can someone get in touch with you for more information? We’re more than happy to answer questions on pro bono or brainstorm with you on how skilled volunteers can help address your organization’s challenges! Reach out to us here via our online contact form for a consultation (https://taprootfoundation.org/contact/ ). We also offer a monthly newsletter that you can sign at for at https://taprootfoundation.org/newsletter-signup/ . Taproot’s mission is to drive social change by leading, mobilizing, and engaging, professionals in pro bono service. Taproot is committed to helping social change organizations solve critical societal problems by ensuring pro bono services are readily available. (www.taprootfoundation.org).

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