working for free

I just finished an eight month long branding and messaging project last night.  My team gave a presentation of all of the deliverables to the board; they gave us three cheers and some hearty handshakes, and off we went.  The client had already started using some of the messaging, even before this final sign-off from the board, so I feel pretty good about the reception of our work.

My team was comprised of two talented marketing visionaries, a copywriter, and me, the project manager.

We did market research on the organization’s competitors, we gathered existing data about the organization’s current branding – or lack thereof, and we spent a lot of time consulting with the client time to really nail down what it was they wanted and why.

Having this new and consistent branding means that client will be better able to leverage themselves for increased funding and will, generally, have greater visibility.

All pretty standard hum drum, really.  Except we were all working for free.

I volunteer for The Taproot Foundation, this amazing nonprofit that provides service grants to other outstanding nonprofits in need.  You can apply for a grant to improve your brand, like the project I just finished, or you can get a website redesign, or a strategic staff development plan, or any number of several other options.  Working with Taproot means that a nonprofit can get help with the kinds of essential strategy and work needed to be successful, without having the resources to complete that work themselves.

I used to volunteer to do things like stuffing envelopes or giving directions at events.  Always for a worthy cause, but the 3 hours of minimum wage level work donated felt unsatisfactory.  They weren’t getting a whole lot out of value out of me and I wasn’t really being fulfilled by the experience.

I started volunteering at Taproot 2 years ago as a way to bolster my resume, but now feel like it really is the best way to do volunteer work.  They run projects in SF, LA, NY, Chicago and Washington; if you’re local to one of those areas, I’d highly recommend that you check Taproot out.

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2 Comments

Filed under Hi ho

2 responses to “working for free

  1. Too bad they are not in FL…maybe I could actually use my law degree and bar membership for something other than cynicism. Good for you for volunteering. I’m so selfish of my time.

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