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The term pro bono is short for the Latin "pro bono publico," which means "for the public good." The term generally refers to free services that a professional provides to poverty-stricken clients, non-profit groups or charitable organizations. In the financial world, the term applies to free services or advice provided by a financial professional.

"Pro bono" gained popularity in the legal profession, as lawyers are bound by ethical rules to charge reasonable rates for their services and to serve public interest by providing free legal services to those in need. Financial planners also dedicate pro bono services by reducing or eliminating service fees for charities, religious organizations, non-profit groups and disadvantaged individuals.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has positioned itself as a leading professional organization for financial advisors by putting together a hotline dedicated to National Financial Planning Week, a yearly event that advocates pro bono financial advice for groups and individuals unable to afford these services on their own. (See also: "Using Social Finance to Produce a Better World.")

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