“So, what do you do?” Civil legal aid communications specialist leads ATJ Conference attendees in strategies for sharing the impact of our work

By Erin Lunde Keenan, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

In today’s politically charged climate around issues of equity and justice, telling the story about our work and the need for civil legal aid has never been more important.

To address this need, the ATJ Communications Committee invited a civil legal aid communications specialist to the Access to Justice Conference in June to help us all more effectively communicate about the work we do and why it matters.

At the conference, Søren Rasmussen from Voices for Civil Justice – a national communications initiative raising awareness of civil legal aid – led a group of engaged attendees in two sessions on the best ways to communicate about our work.

The first session focused on how to communicate about civil legal aid in ways that resonate with our audience – whether family and friends, the media, or the larger community. For example, attendees learned proven messaging strategies around civil legal aid, how to start with the “why” of what we do, and how to share client stories in powerful ways.

The second session explored an effective tool for sharing the need for and impact of civil legal aid – a model known as “VPSA” (Values, Problem, Solution, and Action.) Participants learned how to start a conversation about our work with shared societal values behind civil legal aid – such as fairness and opportunity, before diving into the problems addressed by civil legal aid. The problem is then framed as a threat to our shared values, solutions are identified, and the audience is ready for a call to action: support civil legal aid.

To view the PowerPoint from the training, visit the Access to Justice Conference website and select the session Creating a Persuasive Message.

The ATJ Communications Committee is committed to helping Alliance members effectively communicate about our work and shared values. Keep watch for opportunities for further communications training in the coming months.