Sarah Ford | November 17, 2014

Crazy or Genius? Giving Away Half Your Work

Giving away half of your work to nonprofits. 

For free.

Nuts, huh?

But it’s a trending business idea that reimagines what it means to be engaged in pro bono service.

This innovative model was put on the map by Matthew Manos, founder and managing partner of verynice, a global design and innovation consultancy which has baked into its core business mission a massive amount of skills-based giving back (50%, to be precise).  It’s a concept that wasn’t an afterthought, but the central component of verynice’s existence from day one.

I wrote about verynice’s revolutionary approach to pro bono a couple of years back.  With offices in New York and L.A., verynice has worked with 350 organizations and is tracking to donate $10 million in services by 2020.  Since I sat down with Manos, he’s been busy influencing other companies to adopt his firm’s model.

Now verynice is releasing the second edition of How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free, a book that aims to open-source the 50% pro-bono business model, which Manos refers to as  the “double-half” methodology. 

“Anyone can clean up a beach,” Manos notes in the book.  “That’s a simple task, and people have been doing it for years. Sure, we can continue to define ‘service’ and ‘volunteerism’ in that way, but wouldn’t a more productive question be ‘how can we ensure that beaches never get dirty again?’ That is a big question, but it is one that can be answered by leveraging the unique talents each of us brings to the table. This isn’t a new idea—it’s actually a movement, the idea of skills-based volunteering.”

So how is it possible to give away half of your work and still remain competitive in a crowded marketplace?

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