In addition to representing clients, the personal injury law firm Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley in West Palm Beach, Florida, runs a bustling extracurricular program: It has matched thousands of volunteers with nonprofit organizations in their local community.
Nearly 30 years ago, the firm began purchasing radio and TV air time and donating it to South Florida nonprofit organizations so they could use it to raise public awareness, promote their activities, and recruit volunteers. The firm still provides television public service announcements, paying for both air time and production. These 15-second TV spots often run the week before an event the nonprofit organization wants to promote.
Founding partner Chris Searcy explained that many of the organizations the firm works with are ones it has supported financially. “We realized we could make the dollars go further” by promoting the nonprofits and helping them find volunteers, he said, adding that money spent on production and air time can come back to benefit the nonprofit tenfold.
Last year, the firm launched another program that connects nonprofits with potential volunteers. Called “Take Time to Care: Volunteer!,” the program’s Web site features about 50 diverse organizations—including Audubon of Florida, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, Inc., and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society—that potential volunteers can read about and contact. (See www.searcylaw.com/about-the-firm/take-time-to-care.)
The program drives potential volunteers to the site by running TV spots about the importance of volunteerism and directing people to visit the Web site. The firm also fields phone calls from members of the community who have heard about the program. “It’s a living, breathing campaign,” said Joan Williams, the firm’s Public Relations director.