By Katherine D. Hoke, Managing Partner/Principal/Attorney
Shields Legal Group formally joined Entrepreneurs for North Texas (“EFNT”) and established the Shields Legal Group Charitable Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas (“CFT”) as of year-end 2013. But, as of January 1, 2014, we still did not have any kind of formal community involvement program in place. This article is about our journey to IMPACT │ 365.
The first thing we did was to assemble a Community Involvement Team, consisting of 4 employees holding different positions within the firm. With EFNT’s guidance, we conducted a survey among our fourteen employees to determine their experiences with volunteer activities, and their thoughts and preferences about community involvement. Twelve employees participated and their responses were very useful to the team. It became readily apparent that the firm was going to have to allow employees to volunteer during work hours. The employees also wanted the opportunity to volunteer together as a firm.
Armed with valuable employee input, the first order of business was to craft a firm policy regarding volunteer time. Once again, I went to the Internet to find out what other companies (i.e. large corporations) were doing about volunteer time. The corporate trend leaned toward allowing some form of paid volunteer time, in vastly differing amounts.
Because we are a small law firm, any absent employee (even if it is for volunteer work) impacts the whole. The Volunteer Time-Off Policy had to strike a balance between encouraging employees to engage in approved volunteer activities while still meeting the business needs of the firm. At the end of January, we announced the firm’s VTO policy and it has been implemented as a “pilot” program.
The Community Involvement Team also had to decide on the focus of our volunteer efforts. After two months of brain storming sessions, the team came up with a Mission Statement, a new name for the firm’s community involvement program, and a tag line!
The name IMPACT │ 365 represents a challenge to our employees to take some form of intentional action, whether big or small, every single day of the year to make a positive impact in the community. We have highlighted three specific areas of focus:
- Sustaining the environment;
- Lending a helping hand through volunteer service; and
- Giving back through financial gifts.
The tag line: Giving Back. Right Here. Right Now. describes our desire to act with intentionality and immediacy in our local community. The final branding looks like this:
Now that we know what our mission is, how do we implement it? That is the subject of the third and final article in this series.