New Nonprofit Tool: Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain

New Nonprofit Tool: Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain

Helping nonprofits within the food system tap into pro bono

Thursday, October 11, 2018 - 11:30am

If your nonprofit works along the food value chain, you know that trying to address the complex problems of hunger and food insecurity is as tough as it gets. It can be hard to figure out solutions to your unique capacity needs—and breaking down nuanced challenges into manageable chunks of work can feel like just one more task you don’t have time for. Pro bono can help.

Taproot Foundation teamed up with the Wallace Center to design Pro Bono + the Food Value Chain, a new tool that inspires nonprofits working within the food system to tap into pro bono support.

Finding pro bono on the food value chain

Pro Bono + the Food Value Chain takes a look at the needs of organizations working in the food system—from Food Production to Resource Recovery—and provides a framework to help translate organizational challenges into actionable pro bono projects. Whether you work in one category or across the value chain, here’s how you can use this tool:

  • Identify a key challenge your organization wants to tackle.
  • Use the example models and tools as inspiration for identifying your own project outlines or scopes.
  • Identify the skills you need from skilled volunteers to successfully complete the projects.

Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain in action

Let’s use a nonprofit that works within the Food Production category to bring this tool to life.

  • Challenge: The nonprofit wants to grow fresh produce as an earned income strategy but profitability of production is a key challenge.
  • Models: What programs and best practices could this organization use to increase their profitability? A good place to start might be in establishing or revisiting financial models for various types of operations, like a greenhouse or hydroponic facility. This is a sizeable project in and of itself, so next they identify…
  • Tools: What tools might be helpful in sussing out a financial model that’s the right fit? A production financial calculator could support the organization’s profitability research of existing or new programs.
  • Skills: Whether the organization goes all in with a financial models project or chooses to break down the project into smaller chunks by starting with a financial calculator, they know their skilled volunteer will need to have expertise in finance, business development, data analysis, and a keen eye for tracking things like cost of goods sold.

What if your challenge isn’t on this chart?

Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of all of the challenges you encounter each day. We know what you do is complex. But you can use the concept of models, tools, and skills as a framework to break down your organization’s unique and multifaceted challenges into projects that help you get where you want to be.

Getting the pro bono support you need, when you need it

When you’re ready to tackle your projects with pro bono support, check out Taproot+, our online matchmaking platform that connects nonprofits and skilled volunteers. Post your needs and an outline of your project so that volunteers can apply to help. Find just the right person for the project, and get to work! We’ll be here providing you with resources and support all along the way.

Download Pro Bono + The Food Value Chain now!

About the Taproot Foundation
Taproot Foundation, a national nonprofit, connects nonprofits and social change organizations with skilled volunteers who provide their expertise pro bono. Taproot is creating a world where organizations dedicated to social change have full access—through pro bono service—to the marketing, strategy, HR, and IT resources they need to be most effective. Since 2001, Taproot’s skilled volunteers have served 6,450 social change organizations providing 1.6 million hours of work worth over $180 million in value. Taproot is located in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and is leading a network of global pro bono providers in over 30 countries around the world.

About Wallace Center
The Wallace Center develops partnerships, pilots new ideas, and advances solutions to strengthen communities through resilient farming and food systems.