Promoting the Program to the Public
In order to sustain and grow the program, you will need community support and funding from outside sources. Here are some ideas to consider.
The excitement and enthusiasm for the concept will provide enough energy to start the program. But, from there, you will need to collect results in the form of assessment of student progress, data of student success, and other materials to document the success of the program.
From student participants: Statements of success from students, professors, and members of the legal community are highly valued. Everyone wants to hear from students who participated in the program. We want to know what benefits they gained. You should be able to show the value of each aspect of your program.
From professors and administrators: People also like to hear the development of the students from the viewpoint of the professors and administrators. These people are the constant factor that can compare progress over time. Statements about students before the program was implemented and after the program was started are a good way to document the value of the program. These commenters can include educators from the four-year college and even law school.
From the legal professionals: People like to hear from the experts in the field. In this case, these people would be lawyers and judges. Obviously, this will require that the program exist for a few years before your students make it through to this stage.
In addition to testimonials, accumulating data and generating reports will support the program. The data should not be limited to the goal of how many students graduated from law school and became attorneys. There are so many touch points along the path to document student successes, such as tangible indices of success, i.e,. grades, completion and graduation rates, admission to four-year colleges and law schools, and subsequent graduation from these schools.
There are also intangible indices that are a little more challenging to measure, such as confidence, self-esteem, optimism in their future, acquisition of skills, like time management and stress management, study strategies, reading comprehension, public speaking, and comfort navigating a profession and networking.
All of the good news needs to be shared with your stakeholders, especially those outside of your college. While “no news is good news” works in some situations, “out of sight, out of mind” is more apt when it comes to your program. Your partners, both funders and volunteers, appreciate learning about your program. They want to know that they have made a difference in your students’ future education and career path. It is also important to project your program in a positive and forward-moving light.
Be sure to share your successes with your stakeholders periodically. The successes highlighted in your messages will increase as your program grows. You might begin with email messages, then graduate to newsletters, and maybe celebrate in annual gatherings. Perhaps you can get your students involved in a project. They can share their accomplishments and take pride in noting positive reactions from stakeholders.