As the coronavirus pandemic’s impact in the U.S. became more severe in the spring, organizations such as Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation realized their services were going to be more in-demand than ever.
The nonprofit, which provides free legal services and social support to people experiencing intimate partner abuse as well as landlord-tenant issues, needed to recruit more attorneys to keep up with an increasingly dire caseload.
Faced with the risks of the virus itself, people experiencing domestic violence were left with little option but to stay in close contact with their abusers at home, says AVLF communications manager Ashleigh Starnes. Additionally, “The housing crisis in Atlanta was bad before the pandemic, and Covid-19 has exacerbated that. There are thousands of evictions lined up waiting to be heard when courts reopen and the eviction moratorium is lifted.” In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banned most evictions for the remainder of 2020.
The organization was concerned how to use its limited resources to recruit new volunteers when their usual outreach efforts usually yielded just 10 new people per month to its database of over 1,000 private attorneys.
But in July, one AVLF board member introduced the organization to a new campaign called BrandAid being launched by local PR and marketing firm Jackson Spalding. The agency, which had experienced a drop in client work while businesses paused their ad spending due to the pandemic, wanted to use their newfound time to provide pro bono marketing help to local nonprofits instead.
One of those beneficiaries was AVLF. BrandAid marketers