Community Outreach--Good for Your Firm and Your Community
Community Outreach: An activity of providing services to populations who might not otherwise have access to those services.
Adding local community outreach events to your strategic business plan can benefit both the firm and the community. Supporting local community events is a way to increase brand recognition, create happier employees, gives you an opportunity to offer much needed assistance and builds your reputation and presence in your community.
Increase Brand Recognition, Grow Networks:
It’s easy to see how being involved in a community event yields greater recognition in the community. Connecting to good works builds trust, cultivates a sense of belonging and can increase your network to include people you might not find in your advertising campaigns.
As an added benefit, when you sponsor an event, you will receive a back link to your website from their site.
Outreach Engages Employees Beyond the Billable Hour:
A recent study by Deloitte found that employees and executives who participate in community outreach programs are “more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied employees,” and while the study didn’t target law firms, you can be sure that this is true of the legal community as well.
Engaging employees in volunteer opportunities shows that the firm management cares more than just the dollars earned—that the employees are worth more than their billable hours. These activities bring the group together in a new and satisfying way, makes employees feel respected as individuals and can be proud of their firm. And, getting out of the office to support a local event can help avoid burnout.
How to Create a Community Outreach Strategy
Start with your State Bar and Local Bar Associations. Your State Bar has a pro bono program that you can support and your local bar may have a foundation that donates to local non-profits. To find community organizations, take advantage of some of your local social services programs. Contact them to determine area of need that you can fill. The United Way can also help in your selection.
Once you decide where you want to donate your firm’s time and treasure, find the outreach that fits your firm’s interests and capabilities. Some suggestions:
- Make a financial donation,
- Offer pro bono services,
- Offer mentoring to local students,
- Volunteer with a social service agency, or
- Offer to host a community event at your office.
Once you’ve decided on an event, you’ll want to promote it. Update your blog and social media profiles with information about your efforts. Create a blog post with details of the event and link to the post with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and your SBM member directory. After the event, create a follow up blog and post your pictures.
Community outreach, whether a big or small effort, is worth your consideration. It will bring increase your brand, build your reputation and create a more well-rounded firm.