Media Exposure Draws in New Donors: Legal Aid Society (pro bono attorneys)
Capitalizing on statewide media exposure, Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm bests annual fundraising goal
The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands provides free legal services throughout a 48-county service area to low income individuals and families who have nowhere else to turn.
Because it is a non-profit organization – Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm, in fact – Legal Aid Society’s ability to accept cases throughout the year depends on the generosity of volunteers and donors. For every one person Legal Aid Society serves, three are turned away due to budget restrictions.
Tasked to meet a specific fundraising goal each year, Legal Aid Society turned to the Bradford Group to raise their profile in the media, and expose the organization to potential new donors through public relations campaigns.
Gaining the attention of the media and general public required a clear and compelling argument on the need for Legal Aid Society in our communities. To make this argument, we called on Legal Aid Society’s biggest advocates, their clients.
With thousands of cases handled by Legal Aid Society each year, we collected client stories from staff attorneys and volunteers about various legal issues including consumer, employment, family, health, housing, income and domestic violence cases.
Such client stories included:
- A lawsuit filed on behalf of 39 severely disabled Tennesseans against the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- A horrific domestic violence story, which ended with Legal Aid Society helping to bring legal justice to a young mother of two.
- A sensational landlord/tenant case from Tullahoma, that we dubbed “Landlords Gone Wild.”
We crafted press releases, opinion editorials, newsletters, media pitches, resource guides and marketing collateral to reach a statewide audience.
In 2012, the Bradford Group helped Legal Aid Society secure placement in 296 news stories across the state, a six percent increase in news coverage over 2011.
As a result of outstanding fundraising initiatives and strategic public relations campaigns in 2012, Legal Aid Society surpassed their fundraising goal of $720,000 by $45,000. The total amount raised allowed Legal Aid Society to handle 5,358 cases and provide free legal assistance to 4,622 low-income individuals.