Volunteering as a Creative Pro: 6 Overlooked Benefits

It’s no secret that humanitarian and disaster relief organizations provide opportunities for folks to give monetarily. Donors support philanthropic causes because they have a desire to raise awareness, build social equity and provide resources to communities in need. But, did you know that many charitable organizations offer opportunities to volunteer as well?

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Have you been thinking about using your creative skills to make an impact on the world? If so, consider reaching out to a nonprofit. Already a volunteer? That’s fantastic! You may be a graphic designer supporting a soup kitchen. Or, you could be a front-end developer, trying to help an animal shelter relaunch its website. No matter what kind of creative professional you are, it’s clear that you’re curious about the benefits of volunteering.

So, let’s discuss why you should volunteer.

In a nutshell, giving back is an opportunity to make a difference and support a humanitarian cause you believe in. And, if done strategically, volunteering can accelerate your career. You may be wondering, how can giving back take my career to the next level? If you’re curious, please keep reading. In this post, we’ll explain the 6 most overlooked benefits of volunteering as a creative pro.

1. Volunteering is one way to give back, to your local community.

When you think about charity, which organizations come to mind? If you’re a designer, developer, or creative pro of any kind; it can be tempting to target your volunteer efforts toward big orgs with fancy branding. But, where can you make a difference? One major benefit of volunteering is that it opens up opportunities for you to give to those in your community.

Is your local library struggling to get funding? You could design an email campaign to help boost donations. Is the food bank in your area in need of assistance? Your skills could be used to create signage that informs folks of an upcoming food drive – the possibilities are endless! So, instead of putting in applications at nationally or globally-known nonprofits, consider charities that are a little closer to home.

Remember, whether you support local, national, or international orgs; the important thing is that you’re helping those in need. Secondly, you can add those creative, volunteer projects to your portfolio.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

audrey hepburn

2. You can get out of a creative rut by volunteering.

Whether you are just starting your design career or you’re a seasoned creative professional, creative ruts are almost inevitable. Can’t think of anything creative? On deadline and don’t know how to execute your design project, despite your training? We’ve been there before. And, we know what can help.

Volunteering can be the solution to getting stuck in a creative rut. How? Well, without the pressure of designing for your day job or sticking to a client’s perimeters on a freelance project, you may be able to create more freely.

If you’ve been feeling like you’re all tapped out of ideas, search for volunteer opportunities related to your skillset. In the process of finding inspiration, you’ll undoubtedly make an impact. So, get out there and share your compassion and creativity with the world.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?

Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. Volunteering opens up opportunities to network.

Not sure where to find like-minded creative professionals? Take a look at your interests. What type of design work are you interested in? What humanitarian efforts do you support or want to raise awareness about?

After you’ve done some soul searching, apply to become a volunteer. You may find luck connecting with kindred spirits in your career field when you come together in support of a common goal.

The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering:  Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good.

Ivan Scheier

4. You can learn new creative skills while you volunteer.

Ready to take your career to the next level but missing relevant experience? Volunteer!

Sounds counterintuitive? Just, think about it for a moment. Organizations, that need volunteer assistance, present the opportunity to learn new skills while you volunteer. For instance, a nonprofit, disaster relief, and education-focused organization will gladly take an app created by a budding UI/UX designer – even if you’re still learning.

So, if you need to sharpen your skills or acquire a few new ones, pick up some volunteer work.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

William shakespeare

5. Volunteer work improves your communication skills

Are you one of many creative pros who struggle to communicate? Shyness is common among creative people. If you wish to become an expert communicator, who is comfortable speaking in any room, volunteering may be what you need.

Why? Well, volunteering can present the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life. The more you talk to others about your ideas, the more comfortable you’ll become in general. So, go help someone in need and sharpen your social skills in the process!

Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.

Natalie Portman

6. Your volunteer experience can make you stand out as an applicant.

At the end of the day, you want to have a stellar career as a creative pro – we get that! So, how does volunteering help you achieve that goal? The answers are on your resume!

If your resume is falling flat, volunteer work experience can help you stand out as an applicant. And, if needed, it can fill the gaps between periods of employment. So, if you’re ready to give back and create a brighter future for yourself, become a volunteer.

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