IT Professional Pro Bono Survey
The version of the browser you are using is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser.Dismiss

View only
TimestampDo you draw up a contract between you and the organization you're working for?How extensive is the scope of your projects?How long do you work on a particular project, in weeks or months? How many hours per week do you devote to the project? Is it for a nonprofit organization? Do you perform administrative work, or act in an advisory capacity?Do you feel like working pro bono makes a difference?
1/13/2013 22:12:36I didn't."everything" including delegation of work to others - I was basically a pro-bono consultant.

Basic email/web presence, basic marketing/site design, specification/design of custom software needs (which went nowhere), facilities/premises wiring expertise, InfoSec/Privacy audit/review.
I worked with this not-for-profit for a period of 3 yearsToo many? It averaged about 8/weekYes.Both.Yes, though not always for the better.

I think that, without a sense of what my services would have actually cost them if it had not been on a pro bono basis, the not-for-profit I worked for:

* undervalued what they got from me "I could hire a high school kid to do this."
* wasted a valuable resource (my expertise, time, and advice)
* ignored a lot of sound advice.

The parts that went anywhere, they got for free from me at a time when they couldnt afford it otherwise, so that was good for them. Those parts, though, only made up about 20% of what I would otherwise call "billable hours".

1/13/2013 22:30:02No, I already work for the company. I do pro-bono as I am a student and it grants me extra experiences.Short projects Like developing an desktop Image.2 weeks of a few hours per weekVery few 20/week at the maxNo, It is for a University that I attend.Sort of. When I am working, I usually help the Help Desk employees with any questions that they have.Yes. It helps me develop a practical side to my learning.
1/13/2013 22:34:35No.Fighting fires for an organization that cannot afford it.I get in, get out, make recommendations, but unless it's architecturally interesting to me -- I tell them to find someone else.At most a few hours for a single day in a week.Doesn't matter.No. I try not to get attached.I've made many connections for actually paid jobs by offering free services and building a repertoire. Not everyone is willing to pay $250/hr, $125/hr, $75/hr, $50/hr. $35/hr, $25/hr -- but sometimes a 6 pack and future paid work or connections is more than worth it.

1/13/2013 22:51:14Yes, typically nda type stuff since I'm being given access to internals.The project I recently wrapped up was 6 months.I've done some short 8 hour jobs and recently did a 6 months job, working 10-15 hours a week as part of a team.10Yes.Most recently, I was ainistering Ubuntu servers, administering mercurial repos, setting up chef solo and vagrant, doing ldap integration work with rhodecode and review board, and fixing bugs in mercurial plugins.Yes.
1/14/2013 0:32:00SometimesAs small as just putting together and hosting a website and as big as hundreds of man hours a year.Most are continuous projects. For instance managing the IT systems for a non-profit.Varies by need, some times very little other time we may have several tech/admins working pro-bono jobs.Yes, all are for non-profit organizations. And just to clarify, we do not get a tax write-off or any tax credit at all. The IRS will not allow you to deduct time as a charitable contribution even if you are paying employees to do it on company time.Yes and one organization has invited me to be on the board of directors.We have three organizations we currently support pro bono. In one we absolutely make a difference, in another we make a minor difference and the third is a waste of time. The logical question is why we would have salaried employees on company time working on a pro bono project that is a waste of time. The answer is that the organizations founder really believes in it and he feels like it is making a difference. He doesn't ask for much and I don't have the heart to cut him off.
1/14/2013 9:23:23Nope.Small stuff, mostly troubleshooting.I dedicate 1 day per month to "charity" aka pro-bono work. I usually go my primary school (where the staff knows me) and say "I'm here for the day, use me :) what problems do you have with the computers / network / internet?"1 day per month, so that makes 2h / week on average.Yes. It's for the school I attended.Whatever they need me to do. From running a cable to advising them on the dance ensemble's website.To me, yes. I sleep better at night :)

To them, also, yes. The stuff I do either wouldn't get done, or it would get done by some expensive contractor.
1/14/2013 9:32:07Yes. Protects both parts, makes sure expectations are set. Also allows for a smooth transition in and out of the relationship, as well how to pay you for your work should money become available.Everything from a full security sweep, clean up to just a evaluation of the state of IT at that business/organization.

I have also just sat and listened to the other IT folks talk and validated what they are saying..kind of a "second opinion"
Depends on the scope..but 4 months has been the max todate.5 to 10, sometimes a couple of overnights..yesboth, depends on what they need at the time.Yes..because of what I do, peoples PII and Credit Card info stay their own...
1/14/2013 9:44:10NoVery narrow - usually limited to making simple changes to existing websites or building a free wordpress site.1-2 months2-3 hours generallyYes, for a humanities endowment at the local university.Not necessarily, these projects have been more geared toward presenting written material on the internet for exposure.Not really, but I love literature and I enjoy being part of the literary community.
1/14/2013 9:53:40NoI run their web server, and admin their mail server as well. We recently switched them to gmail for apps, earlier last year,Long term relationship.Yes, a few of them.SA work. And advisory a bit..Some, and I'd not mind doing more work. It's hard to find the scope of work and such that would work well for an SA. Most places need web designers and windows techs, which I'm not good at anymore...

But I do work for 1 jewish nonprofit, 1 synagogue (mine), a scifi convention, and maybe my local SCA group. (Basically, you find your pro bono work very close to home, in many cases.)

Plus, mentorship of a very junior person at a nonprofit, via lopsa mentorship.
1/14/2013 10:01:47Usually the company I am working for draws it up.

I've seen my share of NDAs and non-compete clauses. For the most part, unless I'm doing something that would get me in trouble and I need a get out of jail free card I don't worry about them too much.

In Pro Bono work I don't care much about a contract.
Usually I keep pro bono work small. Small tweaks, additional features, etc.

Ramp up time kills. It's not in mine or the company's interest for me to spend 6 months learning their infrastructure to do a few hours of work.
Until it I have a finished deliverable for my client that we agree on.What it takes. I try not to do more than 5 for pro bono work.

This totally varies. If it's a project I have an interest in I will do more, sometimes way more.

I use my pro bono work as leverage. It gets me experience, networking and builds my own repertoire. That added value is sometimes more worthwhile than my paycheck.
Not really, my full time job is for a nonprofit.Office administration work? No. My main gig is a sys admin (RHEL/AIX)In the touchy feely sense?
I don't really care to be honest.

I use pro bono work as leverage. It's one thing I noticed about myself that makes me very competitive. If I can tell an employer "If I don't deliver, don't pay me." or "How about a small project first, just to get to know each other. If we like how it's going we can do bigger things."

People are scared of IT. Projects can turn in to tar babies quickly. I think pro bono work is a great way to put minds at ease that you will give due diligence, if you have a full time gig.

I don't think pro bono work will save the world. I don't think that the charity incentive is significant when compared to the profit motive. More good is put in the world when someone offers money, and that is a good thing. Pro bono work puts good in to the world in the form of your character and reputation.

Fun questionnaire. Please feel free to contact me if I was unclear or you'd like any more detail: [REDACTED]
1/14/2013 10:02:27Generally, yes. The largest pro bono project I'm working on evolved from a paid gig (server install project) for a non-profit. As the work tapered down, I stopped billing them for the few hours a month I was doing. Eventually, this morphed into a position on the organizations Board of Directors.For the pro bono project, I am the organization's only IT support. This requires 0-8 hours/month. (The Board position is another story...)This project has been ongoing since 2007.0-4 (averages 0-8/mo with a high degree of variability)YesYes/Yes (as well as assisting the organization find donations of equipment and other needed services)Yes, absolutely.

Having also served on the organization's Board of Directors, I have insight into the organization's finances and it would be difficult for this organization to pay for the level of service that could be provided on a pro bono basis.

That said, I think it's very important for a consultant of any kind to 1) clearly define the scope of work, and 2) consider whether they have a "connection" to the organization's staff or mission before deciding to do work on a pro bono basis.

Tightly defining the scope of work is CRUCIAL, as it will facilitate (especially in the case where there is no connection to the organization's mission) one's exit from the project. It can be difficult (especially for technical people, who are apt to want to "fix things") to say "No" to an organization with a real need that may not be able to otherwise satisfy. It's very easy to get "sucked in" to a project without a definable termination that may end up taking up time and energy from billable work (or, equally valuable "down time.")
1/14/2013 10:09:18No - this is IT sys-admin work for an interest group that I'm involved with. The scope is purely to support a production web site that hosts a forum so this is pretty standard LAMP sys admin stuff. It's a small thing but within that I own the technical design, testing, deployment and validation when we have projects and I'm the person called on to resolve sysadmin level issues, contact name for the hosting provider etc. We have a single physical system with a lower spec "lifeboat" DR instance that contains content synched every hour which meets our needs. The last major project we undertook was a server migration and overhaul of backups\DR for our front line server. This was "in plan" for 2 months, with about 2 days spent testing and validating in advance. The execution took about 2 days, carried out over a weekend.
1 to 2. Just standard health check stuff, keeping an eye on things that might need patching, error logs, security logs. Yes - registered charity in the US. I do the hands on sys-admin\config work where possible, all the kit is very remote ( 8 timezones away from me) so anything that requires a visit is a support call to the datacenter guys. Other than that I provide advice\recommendations but the decision making procedures are quite consultative so there are others involved. It's a good way for an organisation like ours to avoid unnecessary expense and allows me to contribute more effectively than donating.

I genuinely think that the value of my time spent in this way, to the charity, is far higher than the monetary value of any donations I would otherwise make.

And it's good to get a view of a small\non enterprise organisation to see what is important\not important at that scale.
1/14/2013 10:20:10NoWebsites - Ebooks, Audio and Video sites
Infrastructure - wiring, upgrades to video recording and streaming
Year round10 hoursYepMostly technical development or supportYep, for them and for myself
1/14/2013 10:26:05noI am the sole provider of IT services so it covers many areas in the SOHO arena: internal AD, file & print services, patching/updating/security, software deployment, public lab computing, smartphone, remote access, light database workno project to date has lasted beyond a few days2-5hrsyesbothYes. This organization serves as community organizers in the following areas: voters' rights, unemployment (job search & training), and for the past 5 years has worked with many citizens on housing issues related to the economic downturn such as mortgage & forclosure relief. I believe in their mission and they have much better things to worry about than IT
1/14/2013 10:28:28No, my pro bono work is limited to organizations/people that I have personal relationships with. I don't feel it is necessary to formalize anything in a contract.In one I just host a website maintained by others.
In another I host and maintain website and emailas well as provide support to the company for any and all tech issues.
Both of mine are long term relationships that have already spanned at least two years.Not much. Whatever I have left after work and personal time. Usually less than a few hours.One is non profit. The other is a for profit that has yet to turn a profit. There is an understanding that our current relationship will change when/if they turn a profit.Both.People would have access to the service at little cost if I didn't provide it. The only reason I provide it is to keep myself sharp in areas outside of my daily work duties.
1/14/2013 10:41:46noprimarily simple (Drupal form-based) website updating work, however when $dayjob was getting rid of a dozen ~3y/o Dell laptops, I spent a good 20 hours DBANing them, installing Ubuntu, and doing the paperwork to get them processed as a donation. ongoing~1yesBoth.I certainly hope so!
1/14/2013 11:48:44NoI usually try to avoid "extensive" and go for pain points. Otherwise it turns into a lock-in that saps my motivation.I try to keep it to weeks or less. It's actually more goal-oriented than time-oriented.Again, it's usually a peak, not an average. I may take a day or two off and go full bore.YesAdvisory and technical. I try to enable them to do the administrative work and aim for increasing efficiency.Yes. There are often things that are long and tedious that I can turn into quick and simple. Or change a risky system (old software, no backups) into something with less risk (RAID 1, peer-to-peer free backup).
1/14/2013 12:06:13Nope. But generally I'm part of the organization. For instance, I'm a Lion and I operate the website and email for the [REDACTED]. I'm a member of a church, and I end up managing their website and email. I'm a member of a statewide boardgaming group and I run their stuff. I've done the same thing for local schools and political committees. Usually, I'm the tech part of a larger team.Generally setting up web hosting, managing that space, updating a website. Handling the email, DNS, domain names, etc. Low grade sysadmin, not anything enterprise class. Typically a project will go on for several years, but single purpose websites/domains might be done in 3 months.1-4 hours per week. Usually more at the beginning.Currently I do 3, all non-profits. Political organizations would probably not count in most people's mind, but I'm in politics for the same reason I'm in Lions: to make the world a better place. I'm between political projects just now.Both. When it comes right down to it, there aren't that many people in [REDACTED] who *are* competent sysadmins, even just to set up a website. So in the end, it's just easier for me to do it.Yep. Pretty much if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done, in each case. In each case we have strong evidence that the work I've done DOES matter. It's small stuff, but not everything can be big stuff.
1/14/2013 12:14:21No, Ive not needed the complication to this date.I work with one Site, and over the years I have done a complete redesign and implementation of their infrastructure.this has been an ongoing effort for three years.Usually 4 Hours a monthYEsBothYes
1/14/2013 12:34:23Yes I draw up a contract for legal purposes. It also shows proof of doing pro-bono work and what is/was completed during the course of said work.Networking, Virtualization, SAN, anything as long as either the material is paid for by the organization or donated to the organization and the organization requires said consultant to implementI try to limit myself to 100 hours yearlyIt depends on the scale and interest in the project100% of the time it is for nonprofitsact in advisory capacity as a consultant, mostly do integration and train nonprofit's admins on how to do said administrative dutiesyes it helps the community keep up to date on latest technologies.
1/14/2013 12:43:47NoUsually only a few hours to a few days. Sometimes just filling in at a non-profit for a sysadmin that needs a weeks vacation and there's nobody else available.Depending on the project and my time availability - a few hours to 1 week. Not usually over 1 week.Anywhere from 0.5 to 60.Always.Always both.Yes, to both the orgs I help as well as to me.
1/14/2013 12:58:12No. I guess it would make some sense from a liability perspective, but it seems the risk is pretty low if you aren't charging...Mostly day-to-day operations for a couple of non-profits, on an as needed basis.My involvement is ongoing, but only a few hours a month total.1 maybe? Just a few hours once a month.Yes, multiple.Both. Luckily the organizations do have some technical expertise in hours (at a jr. admin level).Yes. I choose to do it for organizations that I'd support with cash. If you think about it, volunteering there is essentially a cash donation as otherwise they'd have to hire it out. For the main organization I work with (a food bank), my services last year were in the $4,000 - 5,000 range, which is much more impact than I'd be able to give in cash.
1/14/2013 13:21:09I haven't yet found it necessary. However this is the UK which is less notoriously litigious than the US.Depends on the project. Some have been simple such as helping to migrate some data from one DB to another. Others have been consulting on best practices or mentoring.My longest has been 3 months.Usually no more than 2 or 3.My pro-bono work has all been non-profit. Here in the UK we have the IT 4 Communities (IT4C) organisation that helps bring third-sector orgs and technical folks together.Mostly advisory, although I have done some hands-on. Access to systems involves a lot of trust. With hands-on work I'm more often walking their own staff through what needs to be done rather than doing it myself.I've helped charities build new capabilities by using IT. So, yes I would say it makes a difference.
1/14/2013 13:48:08NoFairly simple. Usually just setting up a Wordpress site for non-profits.I would say less than 20 hours a year.The initial setup and config may take a 5-10 hours. Then, I train them to maintain it.Yes.I perform the work.Professionally? No. Personally? Yes. I may not have a bunch of extra money or time to donate, but if I can give them a few hours at least I am contributing.
1/14/2013 13:49:07nosometimes very limited, narrow focus... sometimes a small part of a bigger project. When you only spend a few hours a week on it, you're options are limited.ongoing4/6/2013yesbothtotally, yes. I do it until it's not fun, or until I feel like it's not making an impact.
1/14/2013 13:49:10Not for pro bono work. OTOH, I structure the work so I don't need passwords or other forms of access that could persist after I'm no longer involved.I never engage for more than a day at a time. I may help someone more than once; I consider that to be a separate engagement.As above.I could spend a 12 hour day on the project. But not more than one day. Otherwise, I'd feel like an employee or contractor, and they should pay me.. I'm trying to make the world a slightly better place, not be exploited as zero cost labor.Most often non-profit. I wanted to say "doesn't matter", but on reflection I guess it does. :)Not routine administration. Most often to least:
(1) Advisory.
(2) Help with a big event.
(3) Help with a short term project where more manpower would be useful.
(4) Troubleshoot a problem that their staff can't handle on their own.

Yes! For me, it's about helping someone do things that would otherwise be hard or impossible, and growing my skills with people, troubleshooting, and different configurations I would never have dreamed of setting up myself.

If you do this again: there should be a question on the downsides, so you can collect information on that - from experience, it's probably important.

There are some people you can help whose default approach is parasitic (try to get you to basically do work for free, forever), or otherwise odd. And, you might not know in advance. That's why I always do one day engagements - I get to help, but make sure everyone knows up front that I'm not committing to anything more - and I don't do anything while helping that I know would commit me to more.

Also, unless you have a good relationship with the admins at the place you are helping (for example, if they are a friend and asked for your help!), there could be resentment - even blame for things that happen later (even if those things are clearly and demonstrably not your fault!) That has happened rarely with (3), more often with (4). That part is sad...

Thank you for trying to advance our understanding of our profession!
1/14/2013 14:04:56No.Anything from setting up a network to malware removals. Usually a few days to a week.20NoYesYes, very much so.
1/14/2013 15:01:21NoUsually very narrow. But there are exceptionsa few minutes to a few monthsIt dependsYesBothIt is like any volunteer work. You use the talents and skills to have to make the world a better place
1/14/2013 18:04:42No usually small if it's for freedaysusually a day or twoSometimes bothYes
1/14/2013 19:09:53Not really. I signed some regular documents that protect the organization (a youth center) and allow for a background check. They can be as extensive as impacting 20 concurrent users. Examples include desktop configurations, software test and deployment, server administration, and anything that comes up.Two or three weeks. We sysadmin volunteers meet once a week and I come in maybe one extra day a week. Each meeting is about two hours in length.3-4YesActual admin work.Absolutely. It gives me a practical playground where I can learn about tech in an environment where it adds value and benfits my community.
1/14/2013 19:59:44NoConsultation only (like over dinner a couple of times a year)over dinner onlyzeronoyes, I do pro bono work in organizing local user group meetings. I've organized meetings for 3 groups and about to take on a fourth oneyes!!

Thanks, Matt!

1/15/2013 0:32:32No. I Normally assist where I can when they ask, They realise that Paying customers take precedence, however, that seldom is a real problemEverything from helping them with their Websites, to providing Infrastructure (Including pcs, cabling etc) to a rehab centre or installing Computer labs for Disadvantaged schools (Lots of them here in Africa)some are quick, some involve a couple of weeks of planning, but generally I can kill the project in a day or two of labour though.It ranges from 1 hour to sometimes 8 or 9. But its difficult to say as I do other forms of Probono work (I am a musician and theatre person too so we do classes in diadvantaged areas)Usually, not always registered organisations, but definitely not for something where someone will reap direct financial benifit from the profitBoth. As I said, Ive run cables for peopleEvery little bit helps. Whether it helps one person, or 50, It still can maybe change the future of someone.
1/15/2013 0:46:27Seldom. I find a formal contract usually means that this is sufficiently complicated and resource intensive that i should be charging for the work. Usually I set an expectation level and go from there. If there is something required for a comfort level, then fine, create a basic scope of what will be done and more importantly, what will not. If the work scope starts creeping, then you need one so it doesn't go on forever. You do need to agree on what it is you will be doing so that everyone has an understanding and can tell if things are working. You can always add one if necessary. I do make sure I have a minimal agreement in "writing" though, usually an email authorizing me to work on their systems where I will likely see data.It runs all over the place. Some are just a helping hand, some are advice on redesign, some are recommendations on building an environment, some are full design specs and sometimes it is solve it and implement it for them. Those are tricky, as they expect free support forever for it. These are the ones that need the "what I don't do" clause.Depends on what they need, my availability and the scope. Some have been an afternoon, some are a day here and there and sometimes evenings and weekends to build/rebuild. Sometimes I have help, sometimes I can send instructions to a tech savvy person at the organization.Usually just a couple of hours. Most of the timeBothYes. If you have the tim and skills, why not help out? Of course, I prefer to help out non-profits that have little spare funds. As I have learned, just because it is a non-profit does no mean it has no money. If you are ever looking for a job, check out the non-profits as well. Many pay better than for-profits.
1/15/2013 6:50:53No.I teach free classes and fix computers for orphanages. Sometimes I scavenge some usable IT equipment and put it to use for them.1 week8Yes.Rarely.A difference in what? :) Number of ongoing wars? Not really.

It makes me feel better about myself and it keeps kids occupied.
1/15/2013 8:20:53No. I always keep it fairly informal with many spoken caveats about potential limits to my availability. There may be weeks that I have a lot of free time to give them, and there may be weeks when a 15-minute phone call or email exchange is all I can cut out of my regular work responsibilities.I've generally limited my projects to setting up very small networks (a dozen PC's or so in a single workgroup with minimal equipment and no domain) or providing one-off support. There is usually practically no budget, so I most often work with donated equipment that I refurbish.My longest single project was a couple weeks of setup followed by light ongoing support.As many as possible when there's a big push to get something finished. I'd guess 20+, but that sort of project doesn't happen more than once a year or 2.Yes. I only do this for small non-profits.Yes, both to some degree.Definitely. The organizations I've worked for have little to no money for this kind of work. Because I'm able to provide my time for free and, often, to provide donated equipment, they aren't spending money on IT that could be spent directly supporting their missions as non-profits. On a selfish-sounding note, putting some pro bono work on my resume absolutely contributed to my landing a job at a good, socially conscious company.
1/15/2013 9:05:51Nope. Handshake was it.Not heavy. Implementing a Wordpress system for a site and manage audio uploaded and podcasted.The project spanned years, but only about 1 hour/week~1hr/wkYesA little bit of both. We had a small committee that oversaw some design specs, but otherwise, it was administrative.Yes
1/15/2013 9:14:37Nope. I just offer to help. But then the individuals or organizations I assist have "managed expectations" via my written emails. My ultimate goal is to teach them to fish.It's as I have time. Very informal at this point.Over time, it can be a permanent commitment. For example, with my Buddhist circle (monks and temple followers), it will be permanent and whenever someone asks for my help.Can vary, but probably averages to less than 10 hours per week.nonprofit, neighbors, friendsboth.As a senior engineer, I can lose touch with the daily struggles people have with technology. I feel that it keeps me grounded with real concerns and encourages me to think less selfishly. It comes as an outgrowth from the second Buddhist precept to refrain from taking that which isn't freely given. The counterpoint is generosity. I seek to cultivate that attitude with a valuable skill I possess.
1/15/2013 11:10:44No. The organization has some rules about who can volunteer and how its done. It varies per group. To be on the Systems team, you need to apply like it's a job and be vetted by the Board of Directors.

There are no set rules for things like what knowledge base you must have (we require basic *nix knowledge and preferably a basic sysadmin understanding, we don't have the time to teach cat/ls/etc), what you must work on (with the caveat that major overhauls and the like need group discussion first), how much time you must put in. The organization as a whole not only supports but recommends people take regular breaks, from weeks to months or longer, as they feel necessary. Folks have wandered away for a year and come back to open arms.
Our group as a whole is responsible for the whole computing infrastructure for the organization, which is mainly a half-dozen or so of webservers and sites, including one big one that has a backend of an enormous database that gets a crapton of hits and searches.

The site has been growing. In the past 2 years we've added more hardware, and are finally implementing config management (cfengine in this case; not my choice, but whatever) to streamline our systems, prevent random changes, and improve the installations of machines.

You know, the usual shit. :)
Personally, I do mostly day-to-day stuff. I am primarily responsible for basic email and Mailman upkeep,as well as handling requests for the vault system that stores confidential files. Those are on-going.

I'm also now tasked with bringing up a secondary mail server as well as dealing with the ever-fun task of balancing out spam fighting with email bouncing (via spam fighting). The first should take weeks, the latter, who knows?!

I used to spend 5-10 hours per week depending (lots of big email and vault permissions changes at certain times of the year). Now I'm more like 20ish hours.

One of the people in our group has easily been spending 40 hours a week on the cfengine changes as well as new system installs. He works full time and has a family. We're waiting for him to literally burst into flames.
Yep. [REDACTED], 501c3, 100% volunteer.We all pitch in and do whatever's needed. If one of us has more experience and can offer advise in an area, we all listen. THIS kind of work, eh, it's fun, but it's not saving the world. I save more of the world working with the [REDACTED], but there's almost no sysadmin things to do there.
1/15/2013 11:44:04No.Generally just maintenance/upgrades. For one non-profit this means hard drive replacement on their two file servers. For another group, fixing bugs on their (large) website.I tend to not take on anything that will take longer than a weekend.Mostly as needed, but if I were to estimate average, I probably spend 3 hours per week on pro bono work.One group is. Another group is an LLC but not in the business of making money.Both.Yes. Both groups I work with are dependent on volunteers, and that's how I've come to see my work - volunteerism.
1/15/2013 13:38:53NoCould be 1hr could be ongoing.Longest pro bono project was for [REDACTED] after 9/11 12 weeks 1/2 timeup to 20YESBoth and implement new systemsyes
1/15/2013 13:51:49NoI run the it infrastructure for a community theatre - anything within that range comes down to me!Not project based - total 10 years or soA few, occasionally tensUk charity - so equiv to your non profitsYesYes
1/15/2013 19:33:48If the organization asks for one, then yes, otherwise I don't bother. I realize I probably should but <knock on wood> this hasn't been a problem to date.Depends, usually I'm cleaning up someone elses mess and organizing all their websites and e-mail accounts that are spread across multiple servers. Half the battle is getting them to ask their former web people for passwords and files, to the point where I often refuse to do any work until they've collected all the 'keys' they will need (domain registrar access, ftp access to sites, etc)While often these are supposed to be quick fixes they usually at least take several weeks, if not months, and I often end up basically being their contact for eternity or until a new CEO comes in and pays someone else to do what I had been doing for free since they didn't realize I was helping out. I've learned to not take this personally, after being extremely insulted several times, rather it's just the nature of things that new leaders feel the need to reset things to give the illusion that they are fixing problems, even if they don't exist.Varies, usually at least 2 - 4, sometimes way more and other times none at all, depends on the project and the needs of the organization. I try to set realistic expectations that I'm not able to put lots of time in, and then I tend to stay up way too late doing it all in less time than I estimated. Guess I got that from Scotty on Star Trek..multiply all my estimates by 4, how else will I maintain my reputation as a miracle worker? :)Yes of course. I can't imagine donating my time to a for profit organization unless it was particularly interesting or if a friend was running it.Both. Usually it starts out doing specific work and then slowly morphs into a tech advisory capacity on any related subjects. Absolutely. It's nice to feel like I'm making a difference and people are often very appreciative of my work, which is a nice ego boost. While my day job is for a relatively cool higher education institution i don't feel my work there is 'winning a victory for humanity'. Doing volunteer work for organizations that are making a difference makes me feel like I'm helping the world, and also, if karma really exists, I've got a nice reserve bank built up :)
1/15/2013 23:34:05Depends on the size of the project.Break-fix to system upgrades.1-6 weeks.4-20Not always.Usually advisory, but certain projects require hands on efforts.Almost always, yes.
1/16/2013 11:38:24No, although I am very involved in the practical running of the organisation (i.e. all helldesk calls come to me, requests for apps etc etc) so getting things right pays off so to speak. Full coverage, from project design, purchasing, installation, configuration, the works.Depends on the project. New servers and a rebuild of the AD / exchange was a few months work on and off. Additions or system expansion might only be a few evenings work.Variable. From about 1ish up to 15, 20 depending on implementation dates etc.Yes.Both.Big time. Being able to provide services that would either cost the organisation a fortune or that they wouldn't have the expertise to install / manage makes such a big difference to the operational efficiency of the staff members there. Although its quite a lot of extra work its well worth it just to see the difference it makes to the hundreds of people that are involved in the organisation from week to week. (Can get a touch busy when you've got a new house to work on, getting married and have your regular 9-5 sysadmin job though!)
1/17/2013 16:40:31Not always, it depends on the scope of the work. For basic repair type work I treat it like a normal job (billed out as such) and simply provide them with a credit ahead of time.

This prevents scope creep as well, if they have a $500 credit for 4 system cleanups and an hour of onsite time they wont ask me to update the mail server or rebuild the letter stuffing machine...

We have one school in particular that gets 100% of their IT needs pro bono.

We use them to train new employees and to test out new projects in exchange for the work, which has worked out very well for us.
For the most part, the longest we will dedicate to a single pro bono project is 2 weeks.

We do make exceptions to this, but it's very rare.
This depends on the project. Most of our work is already extremely streamlined, so we don't bill for actual hands on time.

We can provide an entire 50 computer school with a full virus cleanup over the course of a weekend, but the technician is only needed for about 3 hours.

That said, we usually spend about 5 labor hours a week on pro bono work (total across 4 employees), but that equals about 40 hours of non scripted work.

Most of the time, no.

In Louisiana, Non profits tend to have access to grants and donations and can pay for their IT service.

We tend to look for students and small businesses in the area that are having serious problems with cash flow. This helps us to get more word of mouth advertising, and we have a very good reputation because of it.

Both. Again depending on the situation.Unfortunately, No.

Things around here are just heading downhill a little too fast for anything as simple as pro bono work to actually help.

For example: I can't count the number of times we have helped someone to get a computer ready for a new job just to have the company that hired them shut down a few months later. (or the number of times we have seen small businesses go under because of a lawsuit or an increase in rent)

The number of students we help out around midterms who end up having to go home because of money is also sad.

We need some large changes before the small ones will matter, but that's politics.
We just can't let that stop us from trying.