Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#Goodnews - Why Was It So Easy to Recruit #Lawyers for Free Work? (#probono)

(Awesome pig art by a neighbor)
Why does bad news get more attention than good news? It's something in the way we think, I suppose.
Anyway, today we had to close registrations on a pro bono program that I have been recruiting for (I'm gonna be cagey about names and dates because I don't want to get swamped with more volunteers than we can handle). 
We set a target number of lawyers that we wanted to get some free work ("pro bono") out of. That's right: 
  • From LAWYERS.
Conventional wisdom says that either concept is hard to sell and putting them together should be impossible, but that has not been my experience. You CAN recruit lawyers to do free work, you just have to approach them in the right way.
So a couple of weeks ago I started a fairly low-key campaign to recruit a bunch of lawyers for a new pro bono program. We had an upper limit of the number of recruits we wanted; you absolutely do NOT want to recruit more than you can use, because it's a waste of time for them and volunteers who services don't get used have a right to be a little pissed off.
We gave ourselves two months to recruit our number, and started with a few quiet notices to attract the  most motivated. Later on, we figured, we'd see where we were and reach out a little deeper into the pool of recruits to activate those who weren't looking to do pro bono. Maybe do a few cold calls or whatever.
Today we checked our recruitment numbers, and we are essentially full. We have a couple of spaces left open but need them for a few targeted recruits that we had been saving for later. Whoo-hoo! 
Let me emphasize:
  • From LAWYERS
  • Basically FULLY RECRUITED after a couple of weeks
  • After a fairly low-level campaign (a couple of web posts and a couple of emails).
Can you imagine the response we'd have gotten if we'd, I don't know, SPENT SOME MONEY ON RECRUITING?
Ok, I know this is just one data point. Maybe the world really is going downhill and everything's getting worse.
But I don't think so. On the evidence, people really want to make the world a better place. We just have to talk to each other and get organized.

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