5 Reasons Why CMCs Should Do Pro Bono Work

By: Greg Graham, CMC, ASMEC, MBA, B.Eng.

So why should CMCs provide pro bono services? Here are five excellent reasons:

1. Provide benefit to your community that might otherwise not be available
Your MC skills are valuable, and in need.

In fact, the need for pro bono services has increased due to the COVID pandemic. So says Lynn Burns, Executive Director of Pro Bono Ontario, the province’s centralised service bureau for pro bono legal services. The organization’s people can only speak with 113 of the 250 to 300 calls it receives daily (Canadian Lawyer, July 30, 2021).

While the legal profession’s demands may be different than those of management consultants, we suggest that many people are in crisis, and the need for all pro bono services has undoubtedly increased.

2. Use your professional skills to make more of an impact than just donating or volunteering
We define volunteering as giving your time, while pro bono work involves utilizing your professional skills. The difference is that anybody can work at a charity auction, but not everyone has the superpowers of a CMC.

Consider the difference when two people volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, a wonderful not-for-profit that builds housing for low-income families. Who makes more of an impact? The first person is a DIYer who is assigned unskilled tasks. The second is an electrician who wires up the house. Both are very much appreciated, but utilizing your high-value skills is obviously more impactful.

3. Gain experience, develop new skills, learn new insights
Maybe you can expand your skills and experience by learning about a new industry, working on an interesting project, or interacting with a different type of client. Maybe you can team up with a colleague on a pro bono project, and gain experience being the point person. These are terrific professional development opportunities, especially if you’re a young CMC at the start of your career.

If you are a mid-career CMC, you can probably do these things with one hand tied behind your back, so maybe coach the NFP’s management team a little as well.

4. Network with your local NFP and business communities
You’ll boost your reputation and create goodwill, because people will see you in action, doing good deeds. Whatever you do on a pro bono project, you’ll meet some new people. Network with people in the not-for-profit sector, gain insight into how they work, interact with the local business people who are involved, and maybe even meet a few of the movers and shakers in your community.

5. You’ll earn CPD points
Don’t forget that you will earn one Continuing Professional Development point per hour of pro bono work, up to a maximum of 10 hours. That’s 28.5% of your required annual minimum of 35 points. No time-tracking reports are required; just keep track of your time yourself. When participants in the Pro Bono Pilot Program fill out their CPD submission next year, they can enter these points under “involvement with the community and other organizations”. It’s that simple!

We sincerely encourage everyone to do what they can, and hope to develop enough CMC volunteer bench strength that we can make a difference in eastern Ontario this year.


To learn how to participate in the EOC Program, please submit your interest to probono@cmc-ontario.ca. You will then be contacted with information on next steps and be invited to the Pro Bono Pilot Program community on the CMC-Canada website (members-only access, login required). 

Eligibility requirements:

1. Must be a CMC or FCMC in good standing;
2. Must belong to Eastern Ontario Chapter;
3. Must update the following field on your CMC-Canada member profile:
"Volunteer: Can we connect with you about possible future volunteer and/or pro bono opportunities?" - YES (click here for instructions on updating your profile if required)