The Philly Fellow will build and strengthen VIP’s capacity to assist low-income Philadelphians with their legal issues through two primary projects; volunteer recruitment and retention. These volunteers provide pro-bono legal services for hundreds of low-income Philadelphians who are at risk of losing their homes, families, and income.
Agency Mission VIP promotes equal justice for the poor by providing civil legal services not otherwise unavailable, collaborating with other legal services organizations, and promoting a culture of volunteerism by educating and exposing attorneys and law students to issues of poverty.
Address 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 400; Philadelphia, PA 19102
Total number of Agency Staff Members 16
Please state in measurable and quantifiable terms the specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address
VIP's goal is to promote equal access to justice for the poor. VIP achieves this goal by securing pro bono legal services for more than 2,500 low-income Philadelphians, annually, who cannot afford attorneys and whose cases cannot or will not be handled by other public interest organizations. VIP’s clients are among the most marginalized in the City of Philadelphia—people who, without VIP’s help, face navigating the legal system alone. In order to serve the ever-increasing number of clients requesting assistance, VIP needs to recruit, retain and better support our volunteers to ensure we can serve more low-income clients at risk of losing their homes, families and income.
Describe how your agency addresses this need, and how the new capacity created by this fellow will help alleviate the problem
The Philly Fellow will build and strengthen VIP’s capacity to assist low-income Philadelphians with legal issues through two primary projects: a. Volunteer Recruitment: The Philly Fellow will have primary responsibility for creating and launching a coordinated recruitment plan for new volunteers. This will include a new volunteer orientation; using traditional and new social media to recruit volunteers; and developing potential partnerships with law schools, paralegal schools, area law firms, corporations and associations. b. Volunteer Retention: The Philly Fellow will create develop and implement a plan for retaining existing volunteers, including developing training videos and print materials; identifying supportive services for volunteers such as mentors and in-kind resources; nominating volunteers for awards; and communicating regularly with volunteers about the importance of our work and our appreciation for their efforts.
Describe the level of community involvement in the fellow’s project
Philadelphia VIP’s mission is to assist those most in need in our community with critical legal issues. As such, the Philly Fellow will be actively engaged in the community for both projects through meetings, working groups, presentations and outreach to clients and volunteers. In particular, the Philly Fellow will work with VIP’s partners including individual volunteers, law firms, corporations, the Judiciary, and other public interest agencies for both aspects of the project.
Please outline in list form the fellow's duties and responsibilities
1. Volunteer Recruitment:
a. Create and launch a coordinated recruitment plan for new volunteers.
b. Design and implement a new volunteer orientation.
c. Manage VIP’s relationships with “Contact People” at area law firms, including coordinating the semi-annual Contact Person’s Breakfast.
d. Develop partnerships with potential sources of volunteers.
2. Volunteer Retention:
a. Create and implement a coordinated plan for retaining existing volunteers.
b. Communicate regularly with volunteers through VIP’s monthly case list, website, quarterly e-newsletter and annual report.
c. Nominate volunteers for local, state and national awards.
d. In conjunction with Executive Director, coordinate VIP’s Volunteer Awards ceremony.
e. Identify supportive services for volunteers, including in-kind resources.
f. Review and update VIP’s current volunteer appreciation strategies.
Please outline in list form the skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position
~ The Philly Fellow should have a strong commitment to ensuring access to justice for all.
~ The successful candidate should be a self-starter who enjoys working in a fast-paced environment with a small, close-knit staff and who is attentive to details.
~ Strong communication skills are important, both written and oral.
~ Ability to use Microsoft Office products, including Word and Access, experience with Publisher a plus.
~ Comfortable with technology such as Skype, Facebook, and website software (Drupal).
Please describe your agency's plan to orient and train the fellow
When the Philly Fellow arrives, s/he will participate in an intensive two week training program to acquaint the volunteer with all staff, familiarize the volunteer with office systems and administrative policies, and educate the volunteer about the legal issues facing our clients. The Executive Director will then train the Fellow on current volunteer recruitment and retention strategies, and develop benchmarks for the year. The Systems Manager will train the Phillly Fellow on the technology systems used at VIP, including Legal Server (case management software); Drupal (website software) and Constant Contact (e-newsletter). Following the orientation, the Fellow will have the opportunity to attend staff in-services, monthly trainings for volunteers, and other agency-sponsored events. In addition, VIP will work with the Philly Fellow to identify professional development opportunities throughout the year in particular areas of interest to the Fellow.
Name and title of the fellow's immediate supervisor
Sara Woods; Executive Director
Please briefly describe plans for supervision of fellow
The Philly Fellow will meet with his/her direct supervisor, Executive Director Sara Woods, on a weekly basis for status updates and goal setting. In addition, the Philly Fellow will participate in regular meetings with the Administrative team, including the Executive Director, Systems Manager, Director of Administration and Administrative Assistant. The Philly Fellow will also participate in case review with our Litigation and LawWorks teams on an ad hoc basis to develop a basic understanding of the legal issues involved in our cases, which will inform the direction of our recruitment and retention efforts. VIP has an open door policy and we encourage collaboration and communication between staff members. Staff meetings are held monthly and the Philly Fellow will participate in these meetings.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above? Yes
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will have their own Desk? Fellow will have their own Computer? Fellow will have their own
Please approximate the percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 30%
As a team leader in a group setting 10%
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? Approximately once a week to meetings outside of the office. The vast majority of the meetings will be in Center City Philadelphia and will be accessible by walking or public transportation.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No
1515 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102