Do you ever wish that you could use your creativity to help with the world’s problems?
We’ve all felt the effects of the economy over the past few years, but non-profit and charity organizations have especially seen cutbacks. As it’s been with the business world, several small non-profit organizations have shut down, but there are still plenty out there. But if you’ve ever thought about lending a helping hand, now is definitely the time.
The real question is, “How?”
I think Habitat for Humanity is an amazing organization, but I can’t do much more than swing a hammer. And while the organization certainly needs plenty of hammer-swingers, there are other groups where my (and your) talents might be better used.
And if there isn’t a better fit for our creative gifts… then maybe we need to think outside the box and find new ways to help the world.
Just to help you think of what’s possible, take a look at one of my favorite creative organizations: Tom’s Shoes. You may have already heard this story, but Blake Mycoskie created TOMS Shoes after a trip to Argentina. He wanted to be able to give barefoot children shoes not just once, but many times.
His business model is set up so that whenever a customer buys a pair of shoes, a pair will also be donated to those in need around the world. Take a look at the selections of shoes (and soon, eyewear) available, and you’ll quickly see that this company prizes creativity.
As a side note, you may be asking yourself, “what does TOMS stand for?”
Blake Mycoskie had this to say in response in an interview with Treehugger.com.
There is no TOM. We like to say that everyone is TOM, because what TOMS stands for, it’s a derivative of the word ‘tomorrow’ and the idea that we have a better tomorrow.
A Multitude of Ways to Help
How can you use your gifts to not only give you a creative outlet but also benefit the world? Sometimes, as in the case of TOMS Shoes, our gifts can be used in a way that directly impacts those in need. Other times, the artwork that we create can be used to indirectly support the poor and needy. For example, if you are a traditional artist, you can use your ability to help a non-profit organization create a poster for an upcoming event.
By saving the organization design and printing costs, you’ve helped the organization to be able to devote more resources to the needy. By providing an attractive design, you can help people actually notice that organization in a positive way.
With so many bits of information competing for our attention everyday, non-profit organizations can easily get lost in the shuffle since most of them do not have the advertising budget they need to regularly catch the public’s eye.
Whether you’re contributing in ways that directly or indirectly helps, it still helps!
Here are some more ways that you can pitch in.
- Design a website for a non-profit organization.
- Sing / play your music in a nursing home for the elderly. (Probably not heavy metal, but you get the idea…)
- Donate artwork to shelters or a wide variety of other organizations to help create a warm environment for those in need. (I’ve been in some places that looked very cold, simply because they didn’t have artwork to help cheer the place up.)
- Visit kids’ hospitals in superhero costumes that you create or purchase like the Batman guy did. (Incredible story if you haven’t read it.)
We Need Your Creativity
I’ve come up with just a few ideas, but I would really like to hear from you on this article. What are more ways that creative types can help out? The more information we have here, the more we can help inform other artists on ways they can help in their own communities and around the world.
The combination of charity and creativity is a notion that’s dear to my heart. If you have any stories of great experiences that you’d like to share, please leave a comment, or you can reach me on the Contact page. I’d love to hear from you.