Small-business owners have been providing more pro bono services and doing more volunteer work during the slump to keep their employees engaged and develop relationships in their communities. "Offering the pro bono services has given us a chance to maintain our design vigor [and] resulted in people hiring us," says Gail Sullivan of Studio G Architects in Boston. While the practice can create opportunities for business, Christine Banning, vice president of marketing and communications at SCORE, cautions owners to be careful how much they give away for free.

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