I really like Toms. You know, the shoe brand? Not only are they comfortable and attractive, but for every pair of shoes they sell, they donate a pair to a child in need.
Not only do I look good in their shoes, but wearing them makes me feel good about myself.
Other companies have started doing similar things. I was having lunch with a client of mine in Tennessee. She suggested that we go to Brown Bag Now, a catering company/restaurant based in Knoxville. Every time you purchase lunch at Brown Bag Now, you can nominate a family in need. At the end of every day they draw a name and one of those families will receive a free meal from the restaurant. When my client told me about this I was blown away. Now every time I am in Knoxville, I know where I am having lunch.
Why on earth would I start a blog post on a legal marketing website talking about shoes and restaurants?
Because this isn’t about the shoes and this isn’t about the sandwiches. This is about how two companies took a charitable idea and infused it into the fabric of their culture. I think law firms, big and small, can learn from this example and use charity work not only to impact people’s lives, but to help build their brand as well.
The benefits of this are obvious. First off, you are contributing to your community. Secondly, if you are doing this as a firm, it is a natural opportunity for team building. When receptionists, paralegals, and lawyers all work on a project together, it helps foster relationships. These projects and relationships lead to people feeling good about where they work. This leads to employee retention and all the benefits that entails.
Choosing an organization for a firm wide charity drive is, like most things, easier said than done.
Getting a group of lawyers to agree on anything is a Herculean task in and of itself, but I promise it will be worth it.
Here are a few thoughts on how to come together as a firm and pick a charity that you can all feel good about supporting.
1. Alternate Different Charities
Most attorneys have charities that are near and dear to their hearts. So when picking one to benefit from a firm wide campaign, the lawyers in your firm will naturally advocate for ones they love. In this situation, I have found that choosing a different charity each year is a great compromise. Not only do you get to spread the wealth financially, but working with different organizations increases your firm’s network and potential client base.
2. Consider Your Clients
When picking a charity, why not consider your clients? Chances are a majority of the people you work for have causes that they are passionate about. Imagine how excited they would be to have the full weight of your firm organize a fundraiser on that charity’s behalf. This is also great for client retention. The last firm I worked for had a fund raiser for a charity one of our clients supported. We spent a really fun Saturday with our client and his colleagues putting school supplies into boxes. If he wasn’t already a long term client, he certainly became one that day.
3. Go Local
Everyone has heard the phrase, “Charity begins at home.” While there are many wonderful national charitable organizations, why not choose a local charity? Your involvement with an organization in your community would probably lead to a more impactful experience, for them and for the firm. Not only does this work benefit the people in your city, but it also would probably be of interest to local newspapers and television stations. This earned media is not the reason for charity outreach, but certainly a welcome byproduct.
Do your firm have any charity success stories? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Until next time!