A steady fundraising stream allows the program to expand and the program coordinator to concentrate more time on the quality of the program. Also, demonstrating external support for the program can increase internal buy‐in from the law school.
The faculty salary is the greatest cost of running a credit‐bearing Street Law program. A few programs also hire an administrative assistant and/or a law student fellow. Other costs include office space, equipment, and duplication costs. Some programs also have costs associated with field trips and other program enhancements.
Tips and techniques
Internal Funding: Law School
- The best way for a Street Law program to become an integral part of the law school is for the law school to fund the entire program or at least a professor’s salary. This is not always feasible. Programs that are trying to get more funding from the law school might start by requesting in‐kind contributions such as use of office space and equipment, including a copy machine.
- Find out whether your university has some form of community or public school collaboration—they might have some modest funding or information about funding available for your program.
- Find ways to make the program a component of the curriculum. Does the law school have a community service requirement and could Street Law be offered as part of that requirement?
- Approach decision makers with a clear idea of program costs and a budget.
- Use work study or AmeriCorps programs at your university to fund a law student program assistant. These programs may provide you with a paid part‐time assistant at little cost to your program.
- Before you begin soliting funds from external sources, we recommend that you first contact your law school's development office. They may having policies in place that will dictate they type of fundraising your program is allowed to do; they might also be able to assist you in identifying sources and developing proposals.
- Approach formal funding sources like community foundations, school systems, or bar associations. Each of these likely has a formal funding process that requires a grant application. First, brainstorm the broad areas your Street Law program connects to (e.g., youth development, democracy building, increased interest in legal careers, juvenile justice, etc.) and see which local foundations are interested in funding these areas. Figure out what connections you might have to these foundations, as it is more likely that your proposal will succeed if it is not sent blindly.
- Approach external sources of informal funding like local corporate counsel, firms, or alumni. These sources are less likely to require a formal funding proposal. You will likely be more successful by asking them to fund a specific activity or event and attach their name to it. For example, ask a firm to buy a classroom set of Street Law textbooks. Offer to place a label in each text acknowledging the firm’s contribution. You might find some local law firms with close connections to the law school by talking to the Office of Career Services to find out who hires graduates of the law school.
Publicity and Website
- Presenting the program in a good light will be an important strategy in securing funding. Create website presence for your program with information and success stories—ideally as a part of the law school website. Use the website to highlight all the aspects that showcase the quality of the experiences offered by your program, including class sessions, field trips or extra activities, and use of community resources. Provide a link to www.streetlaw.org for more information about law-related education.
- Many foundations will also want some evidence that the program works. You can find helpful information in the Program Evaluation section. Think about how the program benefits law students, high school students, and the community. Collect success stories that capture the heart of Street Law to highlight for funders. If you are a new program, talk to people who are undertaking a similar program to collect success stories (view directory of participating programs).