In F7 of our Questions and Answers section, we discussed the importance of setting a clear scope with a pro-bono client:

F7: How do I set a clear agreement and scope with a pro-bono client?
Just as an agreement and full understanding of the scope of work involved in a paid relationship, the same is necessary in a pro-bono relationship. Actually, it is arguably even more important because when you are perceived as a generous individual, it can be easily assumed that you will always be generous and therefore say, “yes” to everything asked of you.

While it can be difficult to say “no,” especially to something you are emotionally invested in, it is crucial, and the limits of your offer will be understood. If an organization is not respecting your limitations, or if an organization is not interested in what you have to offer, don’t fight it! Better luck next time. Whenever an organization gets in touch with verynice, we assess their situation and, if we are interested and available, we send them an offer that highlights the specific timeframe and scope of work we are willing to give to them pro-bono. In most instances, this scope and timeframe is not negotiable and the organization is asked to either accept or decline the offer. This method of initial engagement, we have found, successfully sets an organization’s expectations around the engagement and therefore makes it known that, while we are generous, we are busy people, and we have rules and structures to our relationships. Doing this will help position you as a person of authority, and therefore, will create a perception of value around your time and your work.

For any project or engagement, paid or pro-bono, a “scope” is comprised of one or more of the following components depending on the industry:

– Project/Engagement Timeframe
– Number of Hours
– Key Milestones
– Project/Engagement Deliverables
– Revisions/Edits
– Number of Meetings/Calls

Put simply, a “scope” is what defines exactly what you will be doing for a client. As mentioned previously, once you are engaged in a pro-bono project, it can be very difficult to say “no”— especially if you are passionate about the cause. However, it is crucial to stay within scope during any engagement so that you can properly achieve a balance between your paid and pro-bono work. The following is a sample case study:

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Now it is your turn. Please read the narrative and then populate a scope of your own in the space below:

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