Place2Be provides a school-based counselling service for young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). In 2010, Impetus-PEF introduced Bain Capital to Place2Be, and since then the firm has donated a great amount of pro bono support to the charity.
Since 2010, Jurjen Van der Wiel and Francois Gilbart of Bain Capital have consistently provided Place2Be with hands-on support whenever and where ever an external or business perspective has been helpful. This isn’t single-project-based support, but a long-term, involved partnership, which has covered strategy development, helping the charity to set priorities and identifying, prioritising and following up on new growth opportunities.
Francois Gilbart said, “Before being introduced to Place2Be, I wasn’t aware of the role I could effectively play with a charity. I thought – a bit simplistically – that the only ways I could support a charity were either by raising funds or spending weekends leveraging skills that I don’t have – which in my case would be anything involving handyman skills.”
“Together with my colleague Jurjen, the role that we have played with Place2Be over the past three years is clearly different to that and actually very close to the work we do with Bain Capital portfolio companies,” he continued, “leveraging the exact same skills we use every day: first, working with management to define the two to three key priorities to achieve Place2Be’s goals; next, creating the execution plan and architecting the organisation’s structure to deliver those strategic priorities; and finally, ensuring that the entire organisation is fully aligned and focused on those priorities.”
Most recently, Jurjen and Francois have supported Place2Be in the development of its plans to expand its services into secondary school. This support has helped Place2Be secure a £2 million grant, Impetus – PEF’s largest to date.
Reflecting on their pro bono work, Francois identified three personal takeaways from his experiences:
- This type of pro bono experience is very fulfilling – more than creating shareholder value. Helping Place2Be get the £2 million grant from Impetus-PEF will change the lives of thousands of children in the more than 70 schools that Place2Be now aims to cover over the next five years.
- Second, creating impact is actually easy. The “return on investment” from personal time spent working with charities is much higher than for typical operating or consulting roles in “normal” companies, because upside opportunities are more easily identifiable, the management is more receptive towards external support and execution is easier given the smaller scale.
- Last, but certainly not least, this is fun! Pro bono work provides a great opportunity to interact with different personalities you don’t often see in “normal” companies and it’s also a nice change of pace to work with colleagues in a different context.