One benefit of being a smaller firm is that the principals can curate the firm culture in a way that they are proud of; every decision that they make has a very direct impact to the day to day operations of the business. As with any business, the trick is to align the business decisions that are made with the overarching goals of the company.
Convergence Architecture has a vision to provide quality architectural services to all levels of clients, including those not normally served by architects. One choice that the principals made was that each month, every employee is allotted 8 hours of paid time for pro bono projects in the community. Not only does this benefit our community, but it helps to keep projects fresh and it gives staff the opportunity to engage with different stakeholders and organizations that might not otherwise come through our office. In fact, some of the pro bono projects aren’t in the office at all! You can find staff members on a build site constructing a home with Habitat for Humanity, or removing asphalt from a playground with Depave volunteers, or presenting historic mementos at a St Johns Museum event.
We recently took a moment to dig deeper and found that employees averaged 59 pro bono hours in 2018. Since we’re a staff of ten, that means that on the whole, we had just over 590 total company pro bono hours in 2018; that is over 590 hours where clients weren’t billed for our time, allowing these local non-profits to worry a little less about their bottom lines and a little more about getting their wonderful work done. It is worth mentioning that these hours don’t account for time that our staff members are volunteering without tracking pro bono hours… so we can say with confidence that our impact is even greater than what we can track.
Ultimately, we know that we can’t be who we are without the support of our community, so we pay it forward by supporting others. There are several organizations that we regularly work with and help through our pro bono efforts: The St Johns Museum, local PTAs, the St Johns Bizarre, The St Johns Center for Opportunity, Habitat for Humanity, Depave, and many others. We see the pro bono hours as an important part of our company values & culture, and we’re consistently looking for additional ways to expand our positive impact on our little corner of the world.