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What is Pro Bono?

The Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP) believes that pro bono financial planning goes beyond financial literacy by offering guidance that is: Confidential. Interactive. Personalized. Actionable.

To set a standard to help the profession track and measure pro bono activity, FFP worked with the Financial Planning Association, the CFP Board, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors to develop a shared definition of ‘pro bono financial planning.’ We believe the following is a good definition of pro bono financial planning that serves to differentiate it from broader financial literacy efforts:

Free, no-strings-attached financial advice and planning for underserved people* provided by or in conjunction with a CFP® professional volunteer. These services will be delivered through one-on-one engagements or through interactive group sessions on topics specific to an at-risk audience, with the option for personalized engagement to follow.

(* e.g., low-income individuals and families, military personnel/veterans, domestic violence survivors; people affected by natural disasters, serious medical crises, bankruptcy, etc.)

This type of guidance is more than just financial education. It emphasizes the importance of one-on-one interaction, and supports deeper, personalized, and more meaningful interventions between volunteers and the individuals and families they serve. It emphasizes the ability of the pro bono client to meet one-on-one with a CFP® professional to obtain a framework for financial success, and at a minimum the ability for the client to ask questions about their confidential personal finances and receive accurate, objective answers to inform their choices.

Importantly, it also emphasizes that the recipient of services must be unable to easily afford or access financial planning on their own. Thus ‘pro bono’ is truly a donation of services to those in need – never done for the purposes of lead generation or paid client cultivation.

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