There is an old maxim in business that when the economy contracts and revenue declines, it's time to spend more money on advertising. A cautious mind resists such advice: Why spend more when we have less? An entrepreneurial mind responds: Because we want to be ready to take advantage of the next upswing in the business cycle.
The dialectic applies today to the community of state-based Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) programs. Income and grant-making started sliding when interest rates and then the stock market began to plummet in 2007 and 2008, respectively. For more than two years, IOLTA leaders have tapped reserves (if there were any to tap), reined in grants, and looked with a mix of hope and worry toward the future. And while virtually all IOLTA programs have contracted, some have aggressively positioned themselves to harness the forthcoming economic recovery.Activity abounds.
IOLTA programs are preparing for prosperity in many ways. Survey results from a recent national IOLTA conference revealed that IOLTA programs are:
The payoff from all of this enterprising work by IOLTA programs may lie just ahead. Comerica Bank in mid-April released an update of its U.S. economic forecast that calls for the Federal Funds Rate to climb by a factor of 10 to 2.50 percent by mid-2011, starting as early as September. That news is sure to echo in the conference rooms at the 2010 Summer IOLTA Workshops, slated for August 5-6 in San Francisco.
While there is no doubt that the current economic climate has created a severe challenge for IOLTA programs and the civil justice organizations that rely on them for funding, The Resource believes the action that IOLTA leaders take now will have a dramatic impact on the size of IOLTA grants for years to come.The Resource can help strengthen your IOLTA program's capacity.
The Resource has aided one out of every four IOLTA programs located in the United States , with more than 1,600 banks participating in IOLTA. With our help, their net revenue streams increased by more than $140 million per year at the peak of the last economic upturn. We can help your state's IOLTA program increase revenues too by:
Now in our 26th year, The Resource for Great Programs is a consulting firm based in Michigan that assists civil legal aid programs and their funders across the nation.
Our services concentrate on points of leverage in our client organizations where small-dollar investments can deliver big gains in impact.
Our president Ken Smith, our IOLTA Project Manager Kelly Thayer, our Information Services Project Manager Kathy Garwold and the remainder of our staff are experts in data analysis, policy and demographic research, program evaluation, and leadership disciplines, supported by our main office in Traverse City, Michigan. In addition, we can extend our reach as needed via a growing network of other firms and consultants with whom we collaborate as opportunities arise for producing extraordinary outcomes for our clients.