In order to maintain a continued interest in and commitment to pro bono participation, it is crucial to regularly acknowledge the value that volunteer attorneys and their services provide in achieving the organization’s mission and providing services to clients.
Effective recognition can take a number of forms, from public praise at large awards ceremonies to a quiet acknowledgement of value like offering a volunteer dedicated office space.
Case Study: Illinois Legal Aid Online’s “Faces of Justice” Video Series
IllinoisProBono.org and IllinoisLegalAdvocate.org produce the “Faces of Justice” video series to highlight outstanding volunteers, advocates, judges, and law students working to expand access to justice.
Volunteers are nominated through a publicly available form on IllinoisProBono.org. Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) staff reviews nominations with a small committee, and selects one honoree a month to interview.
The videos are in a question-and-answer format, and focus on the volunteers’ motivations for volunteering as well as their major successes.
The interview with the honoree is typically an hour long, and relies on a standardized set of interview questions:
The interview is edited to a three to four minute long video, which typically includes the answers to four or five questions.
The final videos are posted on the homepage of IllinoisProBono.org and IllinoisAdvocate.org. Each video typically receives 60-150 views.
Essential Components of Volunteer Recognition
A strong recognition program provides both appreciation for all volunteers' participation and recognition of outstanding service. Using a combination of recognition methods is the most effective way to continually communicate the program's appreciation of its volunteers' efforts.
Formal Recognition Strategies:
Informal Recognition Strategies: