In a recent article I discussed the importance of understanding the difference between the money your firm gives to charities and community groups and the money you pay for genuine law firm marketing sponsorships. You can read that article here.
Here are five suggestions for ensuring the charity and community contributions your firm makes are done in an organised, effective way that delivers maximum benefit for your firm, the organisation involved and even your law firm marketing plan.
1. Get your giving organised!
Just because you’re giving small amounts of money or you don’t expect anything in return doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be organised with your contributions to charities and community groups.
Try these simple steps:
- Set a budget, track how much you give and review that amount at the end of each year.
- Keep a list of who you gave money to, what it was for and the dates of any related events.
- If there are publications involved make sure you get a copy.
- Create a precedent letter for saying “No thank you” in a polite and professional way.
- See Clear decision making below…
2. Clear decision making?
You should have a clear understanding within the firm around how decisions are made regarding giving money to charities and community groups.
Plenty of disagreements within firms have started because someone’s kid’s footy team got sponsored jerseys while someone else’s favourite charity didn’t get a donation.
A one page policy that articulates how requests should be made and how they will be considered is all you need. Larger firms might consider forming a small committee to make decisions in a transparent way and letting everyone know when donations or sponsorships are made.
3. Keep it close to home
There are many more good causes and organisations out there than you can possibly afford to support. So consider limiting your support to those which have a connection with the firm or those with which you can get actively involved.
Actively engaging with community causes that have special significance to members of your firm provides fantastic benefits to team morale and to the level of pride your staff have in their workplace.
4. Consider a larger, more visible association
Rather than giving out lots of small contributions consider engaging with a single charity for a 12 month period and doing more than just writing a cheque.
Many organisations would benefit greatly from the resources a law firm can provide in pro bono legal advice, office resources and volunteer time. This is another great way to build pride and teamwork within your firm and also provides you with a marketing opportunity.
You won’t get any media coverage for a dozen $250 cheques over the course of a year but a year long association with a recognisable charity that starts with an event, includes great photo opportunities of your team “getting their hands dirty” and ends with a nice cheque for funds raised may well get you some media interest.
5. Let people know you support the community
We’re in a profession that is regularly criticised and demonised in the press. A bit of good publicity by simply letting your clients know how you’ve supported charities and the community helps offset the negative stereotypes.
A list of supported organisations on your website or a “charity of the month” link in your email signatures are two simple ways you can remind people that lawyers care about their community just as much as the next business owner.
While its often not included in law firm marketing plans – John Gray Marketing regularly helps clients with how they manage their charity and community contributions. We can help you understand the importance of these contributions to your firm and your profile and help you find ways to benefit your law firm marketing efforts while also benefiting your community.