Business Development

How Charity Can Play a Role in Your Marketing Plan

By | Jul.25.17 | Business Development, Daily Dispatch, Marketing 101

Good marketers are good networkers. They meet lots of people in all kinds of settings and turn those people into clients. Chances are, you can be more focused about how your charity time and money integrate with your marketing efforts.

Where Is Your Heart?

Many of us contribute a little here and a little there, responding to personalized pitches as they come. Aggregating the majority of your charity contributions to a limited number of causes is more effective for the charity and for you.

Your charitable efforts can reach a global audience or be limited to your town. Are you troubled by homelessness? Civil rights issues? Global famine? Maybe you want to raise money to support research to cure a devastating disease or to support the arts. Or perhaps you are most interested in religious organizations.

Your local charitable institutions have support groups, and major charities have chapters across the country. Local chapters let you be a big fish in a small pond benefitting even the largest charity. Common fundraising events include 10K runs and fancy dress balls, nights at the symphony and summer picnics. The point is that these events are fun and provide a great way to meet like-minded people.

Distributing food at the community pantry or wrapping holiday packages at the mall to raise money may be exhausting, but also satisfying. Plus, these days offer opportunities to meet and develop relationships with your fellow volunteers.

Joining a charitable board has long been a way for lawyers to network with their target market. Your expertise will be welcomed by an array of charities. Many charities can benefit from your leadership and organizational skills.

Perhaps what you really want to do is get close to a specific high-profile person. You can search the internet for “contributions” by that person and get involved in the favored charity. Beware that you probably need to be high on the leadership chain or a very high roller before you will be sitting near them at the annual fete.

Get Noticed

Many charities publish an “ad book” in connection with events. Everyone at the event receives a program brochure which includes display ads and may also list contributors ranked by their level of contribution. Being on a short list of platinum contributors is praiseworthy; a display ad can convey information about your practice and is more likely to be noticed.

Customize your ad depending on the charity and the event. Sometimes, a “tombstone” ad merely stating your contact information and area of practice is the right message: “Smart & Benevolent, Attorneys, Practice Limited to Federal and State Taxation, 123 Main Street, Midcity, State, 123-456-7890, www.SmartBenevolent.com.” Everybody understands that a back cover or full-page ad reflects a significant contribution.

Charity Pledge

Will you pledge a percentage of revenue or profit? Let everyone know that you will contribute a defined percentage amount within a defined period of time, e.g., “In honor of Veterans Day, Generous Lawyers will contribute 10 percent of its revenues during November to Project Mend which gives veterans and their families necessary durable medical equipment and assistive technologies.”

For short-term engagements such as preparation of a will and estate documents, you could offer to contribute a percentage of the fee for all new cases opened within the defined period.

Consider which charities reflect your clients’ values. If you handle injury cases, an organization like the United Spinal Association could be a good choice. If you do divorce work, depending on your clientele, a pledge to support a battered women’s shelter might enhance your profile.

Announce your pledge to your client base in communications such as your email newsletter and on invoices. Smaller charities may be willing to announce your promotion. Let the world know through social media. Mention entities on social media who are likely to “like” and pass on your message. These include specialty bar associations and advocacy groups related to the benefitted charity.

Your pledge may spur a client who has been mulling over whether to proceed to come in within the promotional period. Your charitable promise may influence someone to choose you rather than another lawyer. Importantly, some people who do not have legal business now will consider you in the future because of your enhanced profile.

Not For Everyone

The highest level of true charity is to donate anonymously, expecting nothing in return. These ideas may be too mercenary for some readers.

On the other hand, charities are happy to put donors’ names on buildings and also in theater programs. Raising money is a daily challenge for our country’s charities. If you start a focused program to increase charitable contributions of time and money as part of your marketing plan, that should count as a win-win for you and for the charity.

Theda “Teddy” Snyder mediates workers compensation cases throughout California. She is also available for legal freelance writing assignments. An attorney since 1977, she has practiced in a variety of settings and frequently speaks and writes about settlements and the business of law. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and the author of four books published by the American Bar Association, including "Women Rainmakers' Best Marketing Tips, 3rd Edition" as well as "Personal Injury Case Evaluation" available on Amazon.com. Based in Los Angeles, Teddy can be found at WCMediator.com and on Twitter @WCMediator.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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