The Rewards of Donating Design
Giving back to the community is always a great thing to do. And, what better way for designers and creatives to give back than donating time to design something for a local fundraiser, nonprofit, or charity?
Not only does giving back give yourself (and/or your business) a feeling of doing something good for the community, it can also increase exposure for your design business. If you (or your business) are in search of new ways to increase your brand exposure in a nontraditional advertising sense, think about putting your creative skills to use to donate design time to a good cause. Giving your time and energy to something good may just help you in return.
Just because you donate your time for one job does not mean you lose money and will never be able to make it back. Donations can actually do the opposite, and generate more business, if done properly.
How can you maximize your donation?
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving deep into donation mode. Think about the value of your services and creative talent, as well as the possible ROI of the donation.
Will the audience of the donation provide something your business could benefit from – i.e. potential new clients from a specific industry?
Will your donation time be worth a potential for ROI?
If the answer to both of those questions is “yes,” follow these tips on how to get a beneficial return on your donation:
Include your logo/branding or company name.
Creating a poster? T-shirt? Program book? Ask your client if you can include your name or logo on whatever it is you’re designing. Since you’re donating your time, it’s important that you get credit for the hard work you put in.
Ask to be a sponsor.
Though you may or may not be donating financially, you are certainly still donating your talent and time (which normally comes at a fixed or hourly rate). Ask your client to list you as a sponsor for the event or cause you’re designing for.
Network with the client.
As in all design projects, maintaining a positive and impressive relationship with your client is the key to success. Though the project you’re working on now may be for donation purposes, if you impress your client enough, they may give you paid work in the future. Or, they may recommend your services to another business.
Hand out your business cards to your client and at the event.
Always keep extra business cards on hand, no matter what. You never know who you’ll run into! Give your business card to your client, and bring extras to take with you to the event you’re designing for.
Ask your client to spread the word about your design services.
Your client has asked you donate your time and talent – it is certainly not out of the question to ask them for a simple favor in return. Spread the word about your design services! Go above and beyond your client’s expectations, and your client should have no hesitation on dropping your name. It could be something as simple as linking to your website or social media in a social media post!
During or after the event, do some self promotion.
Take pictures of the final product, or ask your client to send you photos/videos from the event you donated your designs for. Post these images on social media, or write a news post or blog for your website. Share that post on social as well! The more you can spread the word, the better – even if you’re doing it yourself. You never know who you can reach by using the power of social networking.
Don’t think of donating your talent as a loss of time and money. Think of it as an opportunity to increase your brand exposure, expand your network, and acquire new clients/projects/jobs.
So far in 2019, ocreations has donated design time to a variety of causes. Check out our official list and some photos of the donated designs in action!
- Lincoln Lions: An elementary school in Pittsburgh, PA
- LETA Lincoln 2019 Family Reunion: Shirts, flyers, and social graphics were designed and donated
- Mind and Body: Shirt designs were donated for a local race for mental health awareness in memory of Bradly Maslanka
- Off the Floor Pittsburgh: T-shirt designs were donated for a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, which provides basic used furniture, like beds, dressers, tables, and chairs to disadvantaged families who lack these items.
- Bethel Park Turkey Trot: Logo, shirt, and signage designs were donated to a local Thanksgiving Day race
- Bethel Park Breast Cancer Awareness Design: Annual t-shirt design for a high school football “Pink Out” game each October during breast cancer awareness month
- Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA): A local family fundraised and wore shirts for an annual awareness/fundraiser walk for the organization
- Ted Gates 22nd Annual Wrestling Tournament: The logo, signage and apparel designs were donated by ocreations for this annual, local event