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Charitable Work Requires Time, Commitment

May 2, 2013

Filed under: Enjoying Life,Lawyer Coaching,Practice Growth — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:22 pm

Integrating a charitable marketing project is a fantastic opportunity for you to grow your practice and make a difference for charity all at the same time.

But, before you go charging off to impact the charity and tackle the project, you should strongly consider the most important step, making room for the charitable project in your already overwhelmed and busy life.

To make a great impact on any charitable project you have to have control over your time. The number one frustration we hear from our lawyer clients is that they are time starved. Their work life balance is shot.  They work, work some more, and have no life.  Thus, I would strongly recommend that the first thing you do before taking on a charitable project (or any volunteer commitment) is to have your time management and focus under control.

Let’s assume that you have taken my advice, or at least acknowledged it, and you are ready to start your project. The second step is to get you to think about your project before you commit to it. With that said, here are some key criteria that I recommend before you take on a charitable project.

  1. Clarity About the Charity. Do not take on a charitable project for just marketing purposes.  If you do, two terrible things will happen. First, you will run out of gas. Meaning that when it gets hard this project will drop and you will use it as ammo about why you are a bad person (you may not, but I promise I would). Second, people can sense a faker a mile away.  It is almost as if they can smell it. If they think you are there just to generate leads for new clients it will blow up on you and you will never get clients. Pick a cause you personally care about it and you believe in it.
  2. Only One Charity and One project. A powerful charitable project can make a huge difference and be a time sucking vortex that wrecks you practice. My rule is focus only on one charity and one project at a time. Do not volunteer to be on the fund raising committee at one charity, the golf tournament on another, and on a board of another. Unless you are independently wealthy and do not need to practice, you need balance your family, your health and your practice. Do one charitable project at a time and do a phenomenal job on that one. If you are active in your community you will have more opportunities to be volunteer (or be volunteered) than you can imagine. You will want to say yes, but you need to appreciate that there will be no limit to opportunities to serve.  In the end, you will be crushed by all the commitments. My strong rule is one charity and one commitment at time.
  3. Create a Time Budget. What I mean by that is determine the amount of time you are going to give this project. For example, is this going to take on average one hour per week? If so, budget it. Put it on your calendar like a client appointment. Be realistic. Most lawyers are so overwhelmed that they say yes without having a clear plan on how to execute on the work they agreed to behind the yes. Sit down and plan out the project.
  4. Manage It Like a Project.
    1. Why are you doing it and what is your commitment level (1 low to 10 high)?
    2. What results are you hoping to produce?
    3. What will it look like when you are finished?
    4. What resources will you need?
    5. Who do you know that can help you get the project done?
    6. What is your time budget?
    7. What is your financial budget?
    8. What are your actions steps? Write them out just like you would a simple business plan. In my experience, one to two pages, no more than 10 action steps.

Bottom line, you have to have your personal time managed so you can commit to taking on a charitable project. My rule is no more than one project for one charity at a time. Do an extraordinary job at that one project. Good luck with your project, and I hope it makes a difference for your charity.



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