[Editor’s Note: This is a weekly series. If your company is doing something amazing to help a charitable cause or doing some good in your community, please reach out.]
Imagine that you’re a pretty good drummer, you’re in a band, and you’d like to give lessons. You could charge for these lessons, of course, but you’re really into helping out charities. A site called ProBueno is a marketplace, founded by MIT alums, to shop your talents in exchange for charitable donations. When you think about it, all this really is is technology-empowered volunteering.
Here’s how co-founder of ProBeuno, Michel Rbeiz, explains the site and its mission:
ProBueno’s goal is to transform the way people think about pro bono work and use technology to make it easy. Pro bono work is generally reserved to a very small and elite subset of the population, who can offer their professional expertise for free to nonprofits. It comes with a number of constraints: finding a nonprofit one cares about, that also needs particular talents at a time and place that’s mutually acceptable.
While you might not have had the time to give those drumming lessons to someone who needs them, now you can, but feel good because the money is going directly to charity, like say, the Red Cross. It’s hard to help fundraise for a charity, because you never know what it is that you can do to help. It’s easy to help a non-profit like LiveStrong, because you know that you can help out with a bike race to raise funds. Other non-profits with less-defined themes aren’t so easy to get involved with.
Another co-founder, Ryan Kabir, shared the reason why the site was built:
We developed ProBueno because we realized how difficult it was to make a difference for the causes we cared about. We could not write a large enough check, or drop everything to volunteer. We felt there should be an easier way for people to use their talents for good.
The company has raised $340K in angel funding from friends, family and a few investment funds. This recently launched fund-raising tool is best shown off on the landing page for the Khan Academy. There’s a dropdown that lets you choose a task that you could offer time for, and once you’re connected with a willing donor, you perform the task and the money will get right to Khan Academy.
The individual task pages look a bit like what you’d find on Kickstarter, letting you set the number of “spots” that are available for the service that you’re providing. If you were to offer up looking at someone’s resume, you could have five spots available at $20 each, and that would be $100 going to your charity of choice.
I can already think of quite a few things I’m going to list on ProBueno, I bet if you took a few minutes to think about it so could you. I imagine that ProBueno will be adding more non-profits and options of services to offer as time goes on, but it will be interesting to watch this community grow. They’re on to something, and it’s something quite special.
You don’t always have to be the one giving money to do good.