Whether your philanthropic desires are inspired by a cause, a natural disaster, or just a need to pay-it-forward, there's a lot of good someone with technical expertise can do. The trick is deciding how much time you can devote to uncompensated work.
In a GigaOM article, Charles Hamilton, founder and co-owner of CHCS.com Web Development in Seattle, discusses his own pro bono work and how his small company handles volunteering their time:
"My three-person company generally produces one pro bono website per year. Once we agree to take on such a project, we go through the same process we use to specify a scope of work for paid projects. It's imperative to make sure that clients understand that there's only so much uncompensated work we can do."
And one more tip from Hamilton: Check with your accountant for tax deductibility of in-kind donations.
Remember, it's not selfish to be smart about how much time you give. Being judicious in this way will ensure that you are able to give more in the future -- and feel good about doing it.