A growing number of firms are now offering their services for free as public outrage builds over President Trump’s executive actions. In fact, the latest gratis service was inspired by the Republican’s immigration order.
Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order that created the “Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern” disrupted travel for thousands of U.S. permanent residents, refugees and visa holders bound for the United States from seven designated countries, caused chaos at domestic airports, ignited protests and drew rebukes from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
It also inspired Kendall Tucker, CEO of Polis, to offer her firm’s services free to advocacy groups.
Polis announced Monday that its software and data will be available for free to “any organizations whose missions are specifically to help immigrants, support refugees and/or defend Muslim Americans until President Trump's executive order is repealed.”
That’s a change of posture from the non-partisan outfit, which launched in fall 2015, and has found success primarily with corporate door-to-door outreach.
“The reason for doing this is because President Trump's executive order banning immigrants from certain countries means that Americans will have fewer conversations and meet fewer people which directly contradicts our mission to connect people with the organizations they care about,” Tucker told C&E.
She added in a public letter: “There is no substitute for in-person communication, so go talk to your neighbors. We support you.”
Consulting firms offering their services for free has become a mini trend since Trump won the presidential election last November. His surprise win initially shocked the consulting world, but practitioners are increasingly using opposition to the administration as a way to storefront their services.
For instance, after the Trump administration kiboshed some of the digital outreach for healthcare.gov ahead of the Jan. 31 signup deadline, DSPolitical teamed up with two former Obama administration officials to run digital spots.
The campaign is raising money through a GoFundMe page, with all proceeds going to targeted ad placement. A spokesman for DSPolitical, which developed the creative for the spots with healthcare.gov’s former head of marketing, Josh Peck, said the firm won’t receive any money for its services.
In a statement, DSPolitical CEO Jim Walsh said: “In the early days of the Affordable Care Act, DSPolitical was proud to be part of the effort that helped target uninsured Americans with digital advertising designed to get them signed up for affordable health coverage. After the Trump administration made its announcement, we knew we had to act.”
While the effort isn’t a money maker, DSPolitical will get access to the data from the campaign, which it said it will release after the deadline for signups passes.
It’s not just digital firms making their services available for free. A group of female consultants in Chicago recently launched Rodham Consulting, which provides one hour of free consulting services to female candidates in Illinois from a collective of experienced practitioners. If the candidate wants to retain the firm’s services — or a member of the collective — she can do so down the line. But the first session is free.
“We really exist as a pro bono firm to get [candidates] started down that path. [After the intro session], we could recommend certain professionals to help her run her campaign,” Anne Szkatulski, an attorney and principal at the firm, recently told C&E. “We want to be the first phone call an Illinois women makes when she wants to get involved politically in her community and hopefully run for office.”