The 2016 Social & Community Investment Awards: Prophet


Type of Work: Pro Bono Client: Prophet for Nonprofit Day

Every year, Prophet dedicates a full day to helping nonprofits in local communities with its Prophet for Nonprofit Day. In 2016, across nine offices, the firm’s 300-plus employees helped 36 nonprofits, which support a number of causes, including childhood literacy, AIDS relief, environmental conservation and the arts.

The firm dedicates a full day to helping nonprofits in local communities with various brand, digital marketing, and growth challenges. The participating organizations are nominated by employees that have a personal connection or passion for the cause and range from small, local agencies to global nonprofits, says  Prophet’s CEO Michael Dunn.

“We help these nonprofits to grow better so they can make an even larger impact in the communities they serve,” he says. “This also provides Prophet with an opportunity to live our values and deliver on our mission to build brands, transform businesses, and move society.”

The key thing, Dunn says, is that leaders of the nonprofits walk away with something actionable, specific and tangible at the end of the day. Some are looking for an audience development strategy or a donor development strategy or a new micro-site or a new logo or new messaging around their brand, he says. “That’s one of the central ideas,” he says. “It could be strategic, it could be tactical, but it must be actionable.”

One engagement from this year was for Usher 2020 Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to advancing scientific research to cure blindness caused by the Usher Syndrome (the leading genetic cause of deaf-blindness) by the year 2020.

Usher 2020 engaged Prophet to help them create a viable funding and awareness campaign to help them raise money and move vision-loss research forward into clinical trials. They began a social media campaign in September to generate awareness and in a few short weeks, they have already increased their Twitter followers by 82 percent, Instagram followers by 60 percent, and Facebook followers by 30 percent.

Each nonprofit is assigned a customized Prophet team, composed of the right mix of consultants, designers and analysts to best address the organization’s challenges. They prepare for the day, by reviewing the challenge/opportunity, gathering appropriate research and inspiration, and designing the full-day session.

Everyone from Prophet, from senior leadership to office managers, come together to work on the challenge and the “mashup of talent, skills, ideas, and different perspective produce great ideas and outcomes,” Dunn says.

Not only do the nonprofits get a lot of the experience, but the employees do too, Dunn says. “Many employees comment on how it is their favorite work day of the year and it is a nice complement to our other social/community work including office volunteer days and other pro-bono and low-bono consulting work.”

And, he says the Prophet for Nonprofit Day actually inverts the firm’s typical leadership model. “We gave some of the younger people in the organization responsibility for this day and putting those decisions into the hands of some of our mid-level and youngest employees has been powerful,” Dunn says. “It’s created an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm. It’s been amazing.”


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