April 2015

IMG_3007-001 (1)Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the Practising Law Institute’s program on Social Media for Non-Profits and Public Interest Organizations. The Practising Law Institute is a Bronze Sponsor of Pro Bono Net and we are very pleased to partner with them. Liz Keith, Program Director at Pro Bono Net, and a Faculty member at PLI spoke with attendees in San Francisco, CA and was also broadcast LIVE via webcast to over 350 registered participants! Liz was joined by the Executive Director of OneJustice.org, Julia Wilson, and Pro Bono Net’s very own LawHelp Program Coordinator, Xander Karsten. The program offered three presentations meant to help non-profit organizations and public interest organizations start, maintain and grow their social media programs and campaigns. Below I’ve included a discussion on each presentation highlighting what my favorite pieces were within their presentations.

 

Xander Karsten – Institutionalizing Effective Policies and Practices

Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Coordinator, Xander Karsten, discussed the policies, procedures and ethical questions involved in participating on social media platforms. Since there are so many options and variables out there, each organization really needs an official social media policy, not only to keep all employees on the same page, but also to construct and carry out a proper plan that fits the organization’s unique needs and audiences.

Xander Karsten
LawHelp Program Coordinator Xander Karsten

Policies create a framework to govern the creation of content, responses to communications, and conduct of employees on social media. Most policies are written within an ‘if X then Y’ framework to make following policy easier and more direct. Xander focused on four specific sections that are commonly found within social media policies. The key is to consider some of the commonly used sections that have been found to be useful and determine the best policy for your individual organization.

The Introduction & Purpose section of the policy is a great place to address the overall context, feel, and voice of the organization on social media, and help to define what goals are integral to the policy itself. This section can also be a great place to discuss the expectations and evaluations of success that the organization is going to rely upon moving forward. Since change is inevitable in social media, this section can provide a context and framework for those changes, and should be updated accordingly.

Content creation should be given its own section within a social media policy as the intentions, goals, branding and tone will directly affect the type and frequency of content being shared on each platform. Copyright in social media differs than traditional materials as it is designed to allow users to take and share all materials freely. In this regard, your organization should ensure that the material they share either has some sort of branding, or the story/image or other content that’s been preapproved for use.

Policies regarding responding to comments and questions should also be addressed in the Content section, as they include responsive content, and should be updated and changed according to the organization’s need. For example, Pro Bono Net doesn’t provide direct services to clients, so our policy is to provide the person with alternative means of finding what they need. Many people who contact us are looking for referrals or legal help so we send them to LawHelp.org in order to find local assistance and information according to their area.

The Accounts & Platforms section of the policy is the perfect place to address what platforms your organization will participate on. Branding and identification can be discussed in this section as well. Every organization needs to have a policy regarding the type of information and images that will be shared under the brand name and where that content will be shared. All disclaimers should be worked out in this section and maintained on appropriate platforms. The tone and branding can vary depending on what platforms your organization is on.

It is crucial to put in the policy what position or person will be responsible for the administration of the site, content creation, monitoring and responding. Some organizations may have a dedicated team to work on their social media campaigns, while other organizations have a single person responsible for all of the above. It is important to make these decisions ahead of time and create an Administrators/Roles section within your policy. This is also a great place to put policies regarding problems and incidents like hacking or communications blunders. Knowing who is responsible for taking action and what actions should be taken can help an organization maintain a professional face on social media and prevent a small glitch or mistake from becoming a serious problem.

The options discussed above are important to consider when creating a policy, but it is not an exhaustive list by any means. To learn more Xander suggests visiting www.socialmediagovernance.com/policy.

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Practising Law InstituteThis seminar/webcast was hosted by the
Practising Law Institute. To register for any webcasts or seminars go to www.pli.edu for more information.

At the core of Practising Law Institute’s mission is its commitment to offer training to members of the legal profession to support their pro bono service. PLI offers pro bono training, scholarships, and access to live programs, Webcasts, and On-Demand archived programs, as well as an extensive Pro Bono Membership program. For more information about PLI’s pro bono programs and activities, please visit www.pli.edu/probono. Follow PLI’s Pro Bono Group on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @ProBonoPLI


IMG_3007-001 (1)Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the
Practising Law Institute’s program on Social Media for Non-Profits and Public Interest Organizations. The Practising Law Institute is a Bronze Sponsor of Pro Bono Net and we are very pleased to partner with them. Liz Keith, Program Director at Pro Bono Net, and a Faculty member at PLI spoke with attendees in San Francisco, CA and was also broadcast LIVE via webcast to over 350 registered participants! Liz was joined by the Executive Director of OneJustice.org, Julia Wilson, and Pro Bono Net’s very own LawHelp Program Coordinator, Xander Karsten. The program offered three presentations meant to help non-profit organizations and public interest organizations start, maintain and grow their social media programs and campaigns. Below I’ve included a discussion on each presentation highlighting what my favorite pieces were within their presentations.

 

Julia Wilson – Social Media and OneJustice.org

One Justice long

Julia Wilson is the Executive Director for OneJustice.org, and offered participants a case study on her own organization’s social media work for the past two years. Along with many other pieces of advice and insights, she spoke of the planning that must go into a social media strategy before content should be generated.

The very first thing her organization did was define specific goals to be met by the social media strategy. Be it awareness and participation, or direct campaign contributions, an organization should be very clear about the purpose of their social media work and how they plan to accomplish that purpose.

Whenever there are goals, there must be a method of determining success Programs such as Google Analytics help measure certain statistics about social media pages and can easily be integrated with the social media sites an organization is using. However, some goals may not be measurable in such a statistical way. While the amount of involved users is important, measurement should also have a human component to gauge whether those who are being reached by this post are actually reacting in a positive way.

For example, OneJustice.org wanted to encourage their constituency to get to know the employees. To do this, Julia and her employees brought in baby pictures and asked social media followers to guess which employee belonged to which picture. After all of the votes were in, they released the answers along with additional information about the work that employee performs for the organization.

This project didn’t directly generate donations, nor did focus on the direct work of the organization. Instead, it provided information in a fun and creative way that inspired participation while also offering information about the employees. A project like this takes a lot of planning and dedication, and clearly set goals with predetermined measurements of success.

Secondly, one must define their target audiences. An organization must determine their target audiences prior to creating content, so that the content can better resonate with the intended audiences. While organizations cannot reach everyone, this doesn’t mean that it cannot appeal to multiple audiences in multiple ways. This is why organizations have multiple platforms in which to engage their constituents. OneJustice.org found that Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram worked really well for their needs.

Speaking of platforms, deciding on the target audiences will help an organization to choose which platforms and tools are right for their organization. As certain audiences like lawyers are most likely on LinkedIn, organizations with similar audience targets should have a LinkedIn page and find ways to engage on that platform. A student audience is more likely to be on Twitter or Instagram, so a nonprofit attempting to reach student audiences should consider interacting on those platforms.

Once your organization has clearly defined goals, audiences and tools, it is time to determine the organization’s voice on each platform. The social media tool may help to define a type or tone for the organization on that platform, but an organization still needs to determine a voice for itself. For example, LinkedIn is more of a professional social media platform and requires a more formal tone when speaking through that platform. However, the tonal quality isn’t simply defined by professional. What is the goal of your organization on LinkedIn? Are you speaking to colleagues or donors? All of these decisions must be made on each platform based not only on what that platform details, but also what your organization’s goal is for that platform.

OneJustice.org defined its overall voice and then pieced out what they needed for each platform. This offers some flexibility because there can be some overlap between the platforms. For example, while the organization wants to be seen as an expert on the issues on the LinkedIn platform, they do NOT want to have a professorial tone. They want to be a contributor to a conversation without being overly pretentious or condescending. By defining their overall voice and then choosing which attribute fits best on which platform, OneJustice.org has both a defined strategy as well as flexibility to adapt in particular situations.

All of this strategizing will help an organization determine appropriate content for the various platforms they interact on, but in order to ensure that all employees are on the same page and all of the bases are covered, it is important for every organization to have their own social media policy. Tune in Monday to find out some key attributes of developing a social media policy from Xander Karsten!

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Practising Law InstituteThis seminar/webcast was hosted by the Practising Law Institute. To register for any webcasts or seminars go to www.pli.edu for more information.

At the core of Practising Law Institute’s mission is its commitment to offer training to members of the legal profession to support their pro bono service. PLI offers pro bono training, scholarships, and access to live programs, Webcasts, and On-Demand archived programs, as well as an extensive Pro Bono Membership program. For more information about PLI’s pro bono programs and activities, please visit www.pli.edu/probono. Follow PLI’s Pro Bono Group on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @ProBonoPLI


IMG_3007-001 (1)Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the
Practising Law Institute’s program on Social Media for Non-Profits and Public Interest Organizations. The Practising Law Institute is a Bronze Sponsor of Pro Bono Net and we are very pleased to partner with them. Liz Keith, Program Director at Pro Bono Net, and a Faculty member at PLI spoke with attendees in San Francisco, CA and was also broadcast LIVE via webcast to over 350 registered participants! Liz was joined by the Executive Director of OneJustice.org, Julia Wilson, and Pro Bono Net’s very own LawHelp Program Coordinator, Xander Karsten. The program offered three presentations meant to help non-profit organizations and public interest organizations start, maintain and grow their social media programs and campaigns. Below I’ve included a discussion on each presentation highlighting what my favorite pieces were within their presentations.

Liz Keith – Getting Started and Growing with Social Media

Liz Keith

Pro Bono Net’s Program Director, Liz Keith, focused on starting and growing a social media program and highlighted ways organizations can identify which tools to use. She broke down a number of sites based on information gather by the PEW Institute and offered her advice. I’ve identified the top three that I felt were the most versatile and widely used.

Facebook

According to studies done by the PEW Institute, Facebook caters to younger audiences, but has been rapidly growing among older populations in recent years. It is a great tool for connecting with audiences in a personal and less formal atmosphere. Liz suggests posting less than three times a day, and including some sort of media rather than just text. For example, the visual component to a Facebook feed is crucial.

According to the PEW study, posts that contain photographs get 53% more likes than those without, and link-shares that include previews of the content and photographs get considerably more attention. With all of the competition on Facebook, getting visual and creative can boost an organizations popularity and success on the platform.

Twitter

According to Liz, Twitter is a platform better suited to timely messaging and personal broadcasting. The Hashtag (#) ability on Twitter helps to focus attention on a specific campaign, issue, or topic and can be a wonderful tool to communicate with your audiences. Building connections and tying messaging in with current events is much easier on Twitter than other platforms due to its fast paced nature.

Liz recommends posting more than once a day and advised that repeat tweeting may be necessary in order to get your message across to audiences. With twitter feeds being so populated, having image content can again help to attract users eyes, but it may still take a few tweets on a subject to garner the attention an organization is looking for.

It is also important to note that Twitter can be seen as more of a discussion based platform, as much of being a part of Twitter is responding, updating and connecting with audiences and the community.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a very different kind of social media platform, with a much more professional edge. While Twitter and Facebook are often seen as an informal conversation, LinkedIn is where your audience connects around professional interests. Since users tend to be more professionally minded your messaging should reflect this.

While media and photos still increase attention, offering resources and connections to professional materials will be of more interest to users and audiences. If your organization is hoping to, or has already, established itself as a “thought leader” this is the platform in which to express it. LinkedIn is a great resource for developing relationships with other organizations, as well as leaders in the industry in which your organization falls.

Other Platforms

Other platforms mentioned and described in her presentation included Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. Finding the right fit for your organization is very important. However, whether or not your organization decided to participate on a platform, it is imperative to claim the usernames and platform handles associated with your organizations name or nickname to prevent anyone else from using it.

With all of this information in mind, Julia Wilson took the stage to deliver a case study on OneJustice.org. Tune in tomorrow for the highlights of her discussion.

____________

Practising Law InstituteThis seminar/webcast was hosted by the Practising Law Institute. To register for any webcasts or seminars go to www.pli.edu for more information.

At the core of Practising Law Institute’s mission is its commitment to offer training to members of the legal profession to support their pro bono service. PLI offers pro bono training, scholarships, and access to live programs, Webcasts, and On-Demand archived programs, as well as an extensive Pro Bono Membership program. For more information about PLI’s pro bono programs and activities, please visit www.pli.edu/probono. Follow PLI’s Pro Bono Group on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @ProBonoPLI.

 

 

Bridge with tagline - volunteer faded

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2015, which took place April 12-18, Pro Bono Net would like to recognize the thousands of volunteer lawyers who make a huge difference for those in need. Each day during the week we took to social media to highlight a resource from Pro Bono Net to help volunteer attorneys and legal professionals with their work. Below is a list of those highlights.

We also released a press release thanking volunteer attorneys and legal professionals which can be found HERE. Once again we wish to thank all of the volunteers that continue to make our mission of increasing access to justice a reality.

Sponsored by Points of Light—National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each subsequent year, with literally thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

Pro Bono Opportunities Guide

Volunteer lawyers can connect to opportunities through the National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, an online, easy-to-use, searchable directory of organizations providing pro bono opportunities across the country available through probono.net, the flagship site and namesake of Pro Bono Net. Legal professionals can search for opportunities through organization, topic and even location. The guide can be found here: http://www.probono.net/oppsguide/

The National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide is a joint project of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, its project the ABA Center for Pro Bono, Pro Bono Net and contributing organizations. 

Pro Bono Libraries

Often volunteer attorneys are addressing legal needs that are outside their usual areas of experience or expertise.  The Pro Bono Net network offers a variety of practice libraries where volunteers can find information and resources that include training materials, model briefs and pleadings, case law, videos and other helpful information. The information is sorted based on subject matter, and is state specific to help volunteers access the information they need.

The Library tool is available to members of probono.net in both the national site and state sponsored websites. To become a member go to http://www.probono.net

Pro Bono Training Calendars

Many sites in our network feature calendars with listings of CLE training and other community meetings, lectures, or legal clinics. This tool provides information about training opportunities to assist Pro Bono attorneys and volunteers find the trainings they need since lawyers are not always working within their usual area of legal expertise. These trainings are also geographically sorted to help volunteers find trainings in their area.

The Pro Bono Net National Calendar can be found at http://www.probono.net/calendar/ and categorized by states. The network sites also have their own calendars.

LawHelp Interactive Forms

LawHelp Interactive (LHI) powers online forms that allow low-income people without access to a lawyer to prepare their own legal forms online for free. It can also be used by overstretched pro bono and legal aid attorneys seeking to work more efficiently. LHI supports volunteer attorneys in direct representation, limited scope and referral and screening contexts by helping them to do their pro bono work more efficiently and providing support in new areas of law.

Visit https://lawhelpinteractive.org/FindForms to find out if forms are available for nonprofit advocate and volunteer use in your state.

More Resources

Here is a listing of additional resources that Pro Bono Net helps to provide volunteer attorneys and legal professionals. For more information visit http://www.probono.net

Disaster Legal Aid http://www.disasterlegalaid.org/ – A national site designed to help advocates and volunteers navigate FEMA applications and appeals, and assist disaster survivors facing with other legal needs.

Pro Bono To Go in MN http://www.projusticemn.org/collections/   – A Minnesota statewide mobile tool which provides mobile guides and checklists to Pro Bono volunteers on their smart phones

The National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory http://www.probono.net/dv/ – Online searchable directory that provides access to volunteer opportunities related to Domestic Violence

The Immigration Advocates Network Volunteer Opportunities Guide http://www.immigrationadvocates.org/probono/volunteer – Online searchable directory that provides access to volunteer opportunities related to Immigration issues

Military Pro Bono http://www.militaryprobono.org/probono/ – Online resources and searchable directory that provides access to volunteer opportunities related to military and veteran issues

Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved. Comprehensive programs including www.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives.