Heart of Sharing with United Way: How Can a Designer Help?
May 27, 2009 | Design Basics
Day of Caring / Heart of Sharing
Last Thursday, I volunteered with nearly 90 other creative professionals with United Way’s Day of Caring/Heart of Sharing Day. Designers, web developers, marketing specialists, photographers, writers and PR specialists were partnered with Portland area non-profits to give free, personalized advice to help them achieve their marketing goals.
The sessions were 90-minutes long and each non-profit was assigned a team of creatives to help them. This was the first time I participated, but there were many professionals who had volunteered in the past, and this was the event’s twelth year. I wasn’t sure what could be accomplished in such a short time, but it was exciting to help prioritize a strategy for these local groups.
I was assigned to work with Winter Kids. Although they have enough grant money and sponsorships to be able to afford well-designed printed materials, they were looking for ideas on how reach more people. Winter Kids focuses their efforts on children in grades 5-8 and helps to introduce and educate them about the benefits and fun of winter activities. Working along with Arthur Fink and David Sliwinski, we quickly realized that social media was an untapped resource for this group. This is a great target audience to connect via facebook and help the kids promote the program themselves through internet-based word-0f-mouth.
Good luck to Winter Kids, and I’m looking forward to friending you on facebook soon!
How else can Visible Logic give back?
My experience working with United Way made me realize that I have not really used my professional skills as a way to help others, as much as I would like to. My involvement with supporting non profits has generally been with cash donations. Also, I’ve definitely done my share of sports-based fundraisers such as 5Ks and bike rides to benefit charities. And I’ve financially supported many of my triathlete, running and cycling friends who participate in these events.
In terms of giving back through professional services, I have designed a logo and uniforms for the Chicago Tri Club. I also designed and maintained their web site when I was based in Chicago. Additionally, I designed and built the web site for the Community Cycling Club of Portland, and partnered with Dunkirk Systems on the design web site for the Chicago Jaycees. But these groups, while not profit-making businesses, really don’t pass as a needy charity.
So I wonder how I can best give back. I’m really interested to hear from you:
- Have you donated your expertise and time to a charitable group?
- Was it beneficial for both of you?
- Was it a straight pro-bono arrangement, a discount, or a consulting arrangement?
- As a not-for-profit, what is your greatest need?