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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Advocates for Legal Equal Access is a start-up not-for-profit company just beginning operations.  Advocates offers much needed public interest legal services for the Burlington, VT market.  Marketing is critical to success.  The basic market need is an expanded offering of legal services for community members who do not currently have access to legal representation.

Market Summary

Advocates possesses good information about the market and knows a great deal about the common attributes of the targeted customer.  Advocates will leverage this information to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how Advocates can better communicate with them.

Market Analysis

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Market Analysis
  20012002200320042005 
Potential CustomersGrowth     CAGR
Citizens not served by others for economic reasons9%22,54724,57626,78829,19931,8279.00%
Citizens not served by others because of subject matter9%31,45534,28637,37240,73544,4019.00%
Other0%000000.00%
Total9.00%54,00258,86264,16069,93476,2289.00%

Market Demographics

The profile for the Advocate's customer consists of the following geographic, demographic, and behavior factors:

Geographics

  • The immediate geographical target is the greater metropolitan city of Burlington with a population of .9 million.
  • A 75 mile geographic area is in need of the services.
  • The total targeted population is 54,000.

Demographics

  • Male and female.
  • Low income, below $25,000 a year.
  • Are having a difficult time surviving on their take-home income.
  • Cannot afford legal representation.
  • May have a high school education.
  • Have an hourly or blue collar job.

Behavior Factors

  • Have difficulty staying away from legal problems.
  • Act as if they are unaware of certain laws.

Market Needs

Advocates is providing people with legal services that they need but cannot afford.  Advocates seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to their customers:

  • Selection: Advocates offers a wide range of legal services.
  • Accessibility: Advocates has a convenient downtown office where the majority of their services are offered.
  • Competitive pricing: Advocates for Legal Equal Access offers a sliding scale for payment by clients with some of the clients not required to pay anything based on their income level.

The market trend over the last decade has been the erosion of government subsidized indigent legal representation or legal aid.  This trend has occurred primarily because of the republican controlled Congress and their perception that it is not important to provide legal representation to people of all income levels.  Republican rhetoric generally holds that it is an individual's obligation to provide for themselves and the use of public money for legal aid is undesirable. 

During this time period, the amount of funding that Congress has supplied legal aid organizations has been constantly decreased and in many circumstances eliminated.  This funding trend is indicative of the republicans callousness of low income people's constitutional rights of reasonable access to the legal system.

Market Growth

There is a huge market need for legal aid, legal representation for people who cannot afford legal representation.  As Congress has constantly reduced or eliminated legal aid, there are thousands of people who require legal representation to assert their rights, yet cannot afford this service.  For many, their rights are trampled because they have no advocate to argue their side of the case.  For a country that should be incredibly proud of their Constitution and how protective it is for the majority of its citizens, it is frightening to recognize that although we have a first rate Constitution and legal system, many people do not have access to this because a lack of money. 

Regardless of the fact that our legal system and Constitution are benchmarks for other westernized countries, so many people are not on the same legal playing field by virtue of the simple fact that they do not have as much money as their adversary.  This inequity has developed a demand for indigent legal services.  Advocates for Legal Equal Access has been formed to address this societal epidemic.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the threats facing Advocates.

Strengths

  • Strong professional skills and knowledge.
  • Highly developed networking and fund-raising skills.
  • Passion for their work.

Weaknesses

  • The struggle to raise money.
  • Clients who have gotten themselves into real legal messes.
  • The need to constantly fund-raise to maintain cash flow.

Opportunities

  • A caring community.
  • An endless supply of clients.
  • The possibility of the end of the Republican-controlled Congress.

Threats

A negative change in the economic climate which could reduce funding due to a decrease in company donations.

Alternative Providers

Advocates for Legal Equal Access does not have any true competition as a not-for-profit organization serving indigent citizens.  There is more demand than supply and Advocates will be serving citizens that are not served by other organizations. They do have competition for donations or funding.

Other organizations that provide indigent legal services are:

  • The public defenders. This is a publicly-funded organization/group of attorneys that provide criminal defense for indigent individuals. While some of the public defender's work overlaps with Advocate's such as due process claims, a lot does not.
  • St. Andrews Legal Clinic. This organization provides similar services that the Advocates provides with more of an emphasis on criminal and housing issues. This organization is privately funded with a fair amount of the donations coming from religious-based activities/donors.
  •  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). This organization serves people's civil rights claims. There are no economic requirement for this organization, i.e. you do not need to be indigent. The ACLU has a limited budget and typically will serve cases that are higher in profile or have a greater precedent value. Precedent value is based on America's common law system where previous case law (judge made law) is what sets laws in addition to legislation. So if a case is in the appeals court, it will hold more value in terms of precedent than a case in trial court, therefore, the ACLU is more likely to take the appeals case as they get more bang for the buck.

Service Offering

Advocates for Legal Equal Access provides civil rights legal services for the Burlington indigent community. These types of services range from discrimination to fair housing practices to 1st amendment issues to due process claims. These services will apply to individuals who qualify for services using the Advocate's minimum qualification system, based on a variety of factors including income, access to other legal alternatives, and the type of litigation that is being sought or defended.

Keys to Success

The keys to success are:

  • Provide services that are in demand and neglected by the government.
  • Successful fund-raising.

Critical Issues

Advocates for Legal Equal Access is still in the speculative stages.  Its critical issues are to provide much needed legal services while concurrently engage in networking and fund-raising efforts at sufficient levels to ensure adequate cash flow.

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