Nothing feels better than being able to help someone who’s really in need. This can mean a lot of things from donating money or possessions or to serving in your local community or church. Many people forget that the skills they have as marketers, designers, developers, writers can be a huge benefit to organizations in your local community or abroad.
For professionals—or students just getting started—your training, expertise and experience can help an organization that is struggling to get off the ground or reinvent themselves. As marketers and designers, we understand how much branding can mean for branding and communicating a message that can yield results. For many non-profits and community organizations, the costs associated with quality communication and marketing services can be overwhelming. This is an excellent chance for writers, designers, developers and anyone with an understanding of marketing to make a big contribution with a little of their free-time.
Were to start? If you’re interested in making a difference for a charity, you can reach-out directly to an organization that you know needs help or that you have an interest in. If that organization can’t use your help right away, they’ll likely add you to their volunteer list or be able to recommend an affiliate that can use your help. You can also go online to one of the many websites created to unite marketing do-gooders like yourself with organizations in need. Grassroots.org is a large and popular site. There are also many niche volunteer organizations who cater to special interests. Creativepaw.org is an example of a site that aligns creative professionals with groups who support and care for the interests of animals.
Before you begin you should think about what kind of services you’d like to help provide. Like any opportunity, knowing how to present yourself and your capabilities will help you and the organization you’d like to help figure out how best to apply your expertise.
You may also use this as a chance to self educate and broaden your capability. Unlike a traditional client, non-profits are happy to have support. This is an excellent opportunity for you to apply some new techniques to your craft or experiment with new skills. Although it’s best to communicate your plans with the organization that you are helping, most are open to trying new things and open to new solutions. There are few better ways to broaden your portfolio or create a case-study for your new marketing idea than to have a real-world example with non-profit.
Although donating your time is a great way to help the community and feel good about your contribution, you don’t have to be completely altruistic. Ask the organization you are working with for a contributor’s credit, a letter of reference or a link in their website footer. This will give some referral traffic to you or your website and may eventually lead to a new opportunity.
The most important thing to remember when donating your time, as a marketing professional or otherwise, is to enjoy yourself and know that your effort can make a big difference to any organization or charity effort.