Oftentimes when we think of the words pro bono, it usually connotes that we won’t get paid. If you’ve ever done web design or other services for a social or non-profit organization, you’ve had experience in this department. The lack of monetary rewards may be true, but there’s a variety of ways you can get compensated without cash. You can use one or a combination of these methods.
Ask for a backlink. It could be in the form of “Design by”, “Content by”, etc. – whatever services you provide. As long as a backlink to your business website exists in a visible place. If you didn’t give any services related to their website, a small mention on their website about what services you provided for free may be sufficient. Ideally, get the mention/baacklink on their homepage.
You can get a “thank you” letter. You can also ask for a printed thank you letter for the services you provided. If you can get this on an official letterhead, you can even have it framed. What is this for? Well, if you eventually get an office, it would look good on your wall in the reception area, where potential clients are waiting. Until then, you can simply include the letter in your portfolio, or as a supplement to your resume.
Get a testimonial. Testimonials can be handy sometimes, especially if you can get them on audio or video. Place them on your site or along with a media release about your business, and they’re worth a lot. Someone else recommending you is better than you trying to sell yourself.
Get a referral. Along the same vein, tell your pro bono client to think of you if they hear about anyone needing the services you provide. Give them several copies of your business cards too. (However, since business cards are easily thrown away, you can give them a complimentary mug or fridge magnet with your contact info on it)
Tell them to mention your generous services via a press release. If you’re doing pro bono work for a well-known organization, getting this will prove to be useful. They probably have some media contacts who will be more than willing to run the story for them. In return for your free services, you get some publicity. In some cases, that’s a pretty fair trade.
How about you? What do you ask in return for pro bono work?