Every year the American Bar Association encourages the legal community to spend the last week in October honoring Celebrate Pro Bono Week — a week where we recognize the pro bono contributions of private attorneys everywhere.
Pro bono work matters. Every year thousands of low-income Americans have to struggle through the legal system on their own because they cannot afford an attorney and their local legal aid organization is stretched to the limit. Without pro bono attorneys, residents who do not have any legal expertise would be forced to face the system alone.
Celebrate Pro Bono Week presents a great opportunity to use the media, both traditional and social, to participate in the festivities. Here are a few ideas of what you can do to take part in Celebrate Pro Bono Week that involves using media:
Recognize notable volunteers
If you can afford it, give them awards. Invite the local press to the awards presentation. Make sure your state and local bar journals have notice of the awards so that the information can be included in their next edition. Post photos of the honorees on your website, blog, and Facebook page. Even if you can’t afford awards, choose a few volunteers to recognize online anyway.
Answer the question — why do you volunteer?
Do you encourage your lawyers to volunteer? Does your organization have dedicated pro bono attorneys? Answer the question — why do pro bono? Put the answer in a YouTube video or blog post. Post your answer on your Facebook and Twitter accounts and then ask the communities you’ve built to tell you why they believe in the power of pro bono work.
Has another organization recognized your pro bono programs or the pro bono work of attorneys at your firm? Recap those recognitions. Know a client who benefited from your pro bono work? Make a video of them telling their story and how a pro bono attorney helped them.
Make a challenge.
Use the web to your advantage by challenging attorneys to pledge their time in 2013. Make it a goal to have a certain number of attorneys pledge to take at least one case or donate a certain number of hours in 2013. Consider it to be similar to a donor campaign — only this time you’re asking for time, not money.
Post lots of photos
Whatever events you’re having that week, take pictures… lot of pictures! Post them on Facebook and your blog.
These are just a few ideas of what you and your organization can do to participate in the celebration. Let me know in the comments — how will you be using media to Celebrate Pro Bono?
Still looking for an idea? Check out this YouTube video from last year’s Celebrate Pro Bono Week: