Community Involvement, Charity Work and Law Firm Business Development
Sooner or later most law firms will be asked to support a local charity.
Some lawyers may simply write a check and then go about their day. Others may feel that charitable gifts are not the best use of their financial resources. In either response, attorneys and law firms are missing a tremendous opportunity to give back to the community and develop some great potential client relationships.
Let’s take a closer look at community involvement and how it can help your law firm’s overall marketing efforts.
Charitable giving is a good and wonderful thing in its own right. When paired with a strong, strategic plan, it can also be a low or sometimes no cost way to kick off a marketing campaign or to pump new life into a fledgling one.
Getting your law firm involved in some of the local nonprofits in your community has many advantages. Helping out local nonprofit organizations can get your name in front of thousands of eyes, can provide your attorneys with opportunities to network, and can also attract top talent who want to work for a law firm that is about more than the just the bottom line. In addition, community involvement can be a boost to the morale of your entire team.
The Benefits of Community Involvement for Solo Attorneys and Law Firms
Community involvement can lead to more business. Many clients prefer to do business with law firms they can feel good about. Getting your firm known as one that gives back to the community can be a key component in building your image or brand. Depending on which area of the law your firm specializes in, you might be able to make your firm a household name among people who may need your firm’s legal services one day.
Getting involved can provide opportunities for free advertising. Whenever you donate almost anything to a nonprofit, your firm will be listed in their annual report. This free advertising can also lead to name recognition. If you co-sponsor a local event, sometimes for as little as $500, you will often get the benefit of having your logo displayed at the event and in the printed event materials. Is your local YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, animal shelter, zoo, or children’s museum planning an expansion? For a few hundred dollars you may be able to have your logo prominently displayed in one of their facilities.
Community involvement can also be an opportunity to network. Certain charitable events are more likely to be frequented by influential members of your community. Golf tournaments are often used to raise funds for nonprofit organizations. Additionally, fundraising dinners are a great place to network. Your firm could buy a table or even just a few seats.
Beyond the free advertising your firm will receive by participating in charitable endeavors, you can provide a link on your website that details what charities your support and how your firm has made a difference in the community.
How to Get Involved
Contrary to popular belief, giving back to the community does not have to be expensive or even time consuming. One simple way to get involved is to sign your law firm up for weekend community service oriented events. You could offer to repaint a local children’s shelter or to deliver Meals on Wheels. You can team up with other firms or companies to do even larger projects like building a house for Habitat for Humanity.
There are other ways to give back and to help your law firm by doing so.
For anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand you can buy a table at a fundraising dinner. You can either attend and network or you can donate the seats back. Donated tables are often used for the volunteers who help to run the nonprofit on a daily basis, but who cannot afford to attend the event. Most fundraising dinners campaign vigorously in the months leading up to their events. Sponsoring a local fundraising dinner ensures that your firm’s name is included in all of their mailings.
Another way to support local fundraising dinners is by providing items for a live or silent auction. Depending upon your area of specialization, your firm could offer a free one hour legal consultation or you could purchase a spa package or a getaway to be auctioned off.
If none of these ideas seem like a good fit for your firm, but you would like to get involved. Call some of the nonprofits in your area and ask them what your firm can do to help. The odds are that they will not be short on ideas. You can also ask your team of professionals what nonprofits they are interested in supporting. This does two things, first it gives you automatic buy in from your staff and second, it gives you the opportunity to task one of them with the responsibility for planning and executing the volunteer opportunity.
One thing to keep in mind is that the causes you choose to support will reflect upon the values of your firm. You may want to consider selecting a charity that relates to your legal specialty. This is a great way to reach potential clients.
Be sure to inform your tax specialist of how your firm is giving back. Often times, a philanthropic or even an in-kind donation can lead to meaningful tax savings.
© Copyright 2008-2013 Rainmaker IP Holding, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Images used by license from Fotilia Stock Photos. Member ID 203997040
Want the Latest Update? Visit Dave Lorenzo's Profile on Google+