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Two for Tuesdays: Community Work

Here in the US, today is Veterans Day, a day to remember and thank those who have served our country. I have had family and friends in the military – everything from Army and the Air Force to Marines to Navy and Coast Guard – so today is an important day for me. I like to give thanks to our military as much as possible, but I’m all in favor of any day that especially calls for it.

So it’s got me thinking about the community work that our companies and firms do, and how we can extend the reach of that in different ways. My most favorite way to give back is anonymously, but when we’re doing it as an organization or firm, it’s best to try to get as much publicity as possible for the charitable organization we’re supporting.

There are many different and creative ways to do this, but I want to focus on two as they relate to social media. And while I’m at it, I also recommend checking out some of the many amazing Veterans’ organizations out there and offering your support!

Tip One: Use Social Media to Showcase

Supporting community organizations is one of the best ways that firms can communicate what they care about. Whether it’s through teams of employees joining together to run for a cause, or jeans Fridays to raise money, there are tons of ways that firms and their employees work together and individually to show they care.

It’s up to each individual and firm to decide what type of support and involvement works best, but one of the great ways you can leverage those activities is using social media, particularly Facebook. Lawyers and legal marketers have long wondered how Facebook is relevant, and the answer is about humanizing the firm – a great way to do this is by sharing the causes that the firm cares about.

  • Does your firm have a team of runners that trains together and competes in local races to raise money for a charity? Why not share that on your Facebook page (and other social media sites)? You can profile individual runners, and ask them why they’re participating, share training photos and race day photos, and photos of the group when they’re doing fundraising.
  • How about “Jeans Friday” to raise money?  Does anyone get creative with their jeans? Post pictures of employees participating, share their stories, post weekly or monthly totals for funds collected.
  • Maybe you host a yearly drive or event for an organization. Profile the organization and the benefits of volunteering or donating to it. Share photos of the firm’s participation, and the funds raised. Profile senior management to talk about how the firm got involved and why it matters to them individually.
  • Is there a day or a month dedicated to the cause you support? Use your social media channels to honor that time with information, statistics, and links to the organization.

The key here is focusing on the people involved, and the organization being supported, and not giving the firm a pat on the back. Get into the history of why this organization is the one the firm chooses to support, who supports it, and how it’s supported. It adds another dimension to the firm and its people (always a good thing), and draws attention to the cause that the firm cares about as well.

Tip Two: Use Social Media to Fundraise

I didn’t mention this in the previous point because it’s important enough to warrant its own mention – use social media as a way to fundraise for your cause. Firms and individuals within them do a lot of good for the organizations that they care about, but that good can be magnified through social media, because you reach a wider audience.

So in addition to all of the above suggestions, also include a link to any fundraising pages available, and share them regularly.

  • Whenever posting about your runners and their cause, share a link to their individual or team fundraising pages, and keep updating everyone with the total.
  • Make it a contest within the firm – encourage everyone in the firm to share the link and fundraise personally for the cause, and offer a prize to the winner. People get competitive and that will motivate additional donations.
  • Similarly, you can encourage them to get creative with fundraising – in addition to sharing it on their own social media channels, offer a prize for the most unique fundraising event. You can get specific about it needing to raise a certain amount, or generate a certain number of attendees, but get everyone thinking about what else they can do to help.
  • How about making it a contest among those on your pages, outside of the firm? Offer a prize to the largest contributor, encourage others in the community to get involved and raise money. Depending on the organization, organize a fundraising day, invite local businesses to participate, and buy lunch for the company with the most volunteers. (PS this has the secondary benefit of raising the firm’s profile too). You can offer to showcase the businesses that participate on your Facebook page and other social channels and draw attention to their involvement in the charity as well.

The idea here is to get creative – don’t keep your community work a secret! Find unique ways to amplify your volunteer and fundraising efforts so that you allow the organizations to get more publicity and hopefully more donations coming in. Plus, it has the added benefit of bringing depth to your firm, because people start to see and understand what you and your colleagues care about and support.

There are TONS of ideas for how to support and share that support – feel free to add yours in the comments below! And hug a veteran today!