2019 CreativePro Ignite Show

I signed up to present at the 2019 CreativePro Ignite show. It was an opportunity to have 5 minutes in the spotlight, in the relaxed and friendly confines of an after-hours get-together with your colleagues, and laugh your butts off. Below was my presentation, “Be Selfish, Volunteer!”

Over a year ago I was handed a paper brochure that was clearly a copied copy of a copy, fully customized in Microsoft Word, and it was handed to me with a smile, a mission, a vision, and some new found friends and that is the day I made my decision to join a local non-profit as a volunteer.

But not just any volunteer… the Volunteer Public Relations Chair for the club and the selling point for me was that flimsy brochure that was screaming in my face for help, 911 designer rescue, from it’s long-lived life of home printer torture. 

And sadly, only after I started volunteering with this non-profit did I realize the impact they were truly making in the community…

  • They were collectively giving thousands of hours in community service
  • Leading local efforts to raise awareness on crime trends
  • Were providing thousands of dollars in college scholarships 
  • Were collecting and donating items to other non-profits
  • Etc. etc.

And all I got was their dated brochure.

So this evening I would like to present to you the idea of “Being Selfish, and Volunteering.”

We all know and have heard the good wholesome, selfless reasons to volunteer but I wanted to present volunteering to you in a different light, progressing YOUR design career.

We all know the feeling of when making something you really love and sometimes our jobs can’t always provide us with that level of engagement.  

For instance, only 30% of the U.S workforce report being enthusiastic and committed to their work.  With 62% prefer to work for companies that provide volunteering opportunities, and 70% of millennials volunteering for causes they care about, it’s clear that people are increasingly looking for work that is both fulfilling, and impacts the world in a good way.

Couple that with the increasing growth and trend for images and video over plain bodies of Times New Roman font, and the bombardment of social media and marketing. 

Companies and non-profits with money will be able to pull ahead thanks to their marketing teams, but what about those local non-profits that are making HUGE impacts in your backyard but have NO paid employees to continually support their marketing efforts.

NOW… I have been a volunteer for longer than I have been a designer and I have learned that by taking a selfish approach to volunteering you can get more out of it personally, professionally, and can still make a deep impact.

For instance, I believe it’s always important to consider taking on an extra design project here or there by volunteering your time, but it’s also a great strategic move if you are in the beginning of your design career because it provides you with the opportunity to gain practical experience that will 

help you build your portfolio and even expand your skills. On top of that, if you are just starting out, volunteering allows you to make new friends and network with people who share your passions, which is fruitful in finding clients, referrals, mentors, and possibly even partnerships.

Plus, when you start solving real problems for the non-profit you volunteer with you’ll make progress faster, hone your client process, learn more about what you are truly capable of, and become truly prepared to do the job that you’re preparing yourself for. 

And don’t think about volunteering as a monetary loss, but as an investment in your future AND your communities future.  

So I know you all got the talent in this room but I also know what you are thinking… the number one excuse not to volunteer is time and that is also why volunteering has been in a decade long decline.

The world is moving so fast and people tend to be in a rush and thus have less time for things like volunteering. Don’t let the excuse of time keep you from making a difference. You can  volunteer for just a couple of hours a month, and that just deciding not to volunteer at all.

Hi, my name is Laurie Dragonchuk from Pasco, Washington and I am a designer for a startup who also does freelance work for individuals and non-profits, mom of one, and I also volunteer for Catholic Charities and Soroptimist International, and I hope you consider becoming a bit more selfish and volunteering

Thank you.