Let’s have a reality check. Unless you live someplace like Washington, D.C., the majority of your creative career is going to be spent doing very commercial stuff that isn’t exactly going to change the world. In the grand scheme of things there’s nothing wrong with doing work that drives the economy, creates jobs and keeps people employed. But sometimes, you want something more. You want to do something for the greater good. So what do you do when you want to use your powers for good?
Well, you can wait for the occasional agency pro-bono project to float across your desk with strings attached. The strings being the involvement of absolutely everyone else in the agency down to the receptionist because, after all, “It’s for a good cause.” Result? Too many cooks in the kitchen equals a crazed creative.
You could volunteer to do a project for a friend or relative, but we all know how that usually goes. A simple flyer turns into a full identity plan and website that eats up every free night, weekend and holiday for the next six months as you discover that the person you thought was your mom, sister, friend, cousin or next door neighbor is actually the demon client from hell. (Disclaimer: Don’t get your shorts in a wad. Come on, you guys know who I’m talking about. Wink. Wink.)
But wait! Thanks to the power of the interwebs, you can strike out on your own and do actual meaningful work that really will make a difference.

Sparked is a microvolunteering network that matches talent with non-profits and charities. I love the design of the site! You select pictures of areas that interest you (justice, animals, poverty, women’s issues, etc.) and they match you up with a worthy cause. The site is relatively new. There are more volunteers than causes as of right now, but once the word gets out, I have a feeling that will change.

Similar to sparked.com, this site let’s you sign up then review opportunities before committing to a cause. They’re limited to just web and graphic design, but definitely worth a look.

And while you’re in a generous mood, check out this entry at my husband’s blog about his involvement with Team Cul De Sac. It’s a fantastic group of artists producing original art based on Richard Thompson’s comic strip Cul De Sac. The art will be published in a forthcoming book with the original pieces being auctioned off. All of the money goes towards Parkinson’s research in association with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Hey, these guys actually got Bill Watterson to submit a painting — his first publicly released art since ending Calvin and Hobbes.

2 thoughts on “Using your powers for good.

  1. Thank you for mentioning Team Cul de Sac. I was so happy that your husband was so eager to help us on our project. We are lucky to have a friend like him! What a wonderful artist!

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