May 26th, 2011 by John Reeve
Web design and development agencies are typically small businesses where the creative and engineering types flourish in a loosely structured company culture. The few formalities us web designers and developers must comply with usually revolve around deadlines, workflow, meetings, and clients. Overall, it’s not a bad gig, it’s the type of environment where web designers and developers churn out their best work, where they are driven, but not corralled. One side effect of this form of a company culture is that our minds often have idle time to spare, where creative ideas are trying to break in to our cerebral cortexes and problems of logical nature are trying to find their way out. Giving your staff an opportunity to give back charitably is a win-win and keeps the minds of creatives and engineers from stagnating. So where do you start?
Giving money to a non-profit organization is the easiest way to give back. It’s as simple as writing a check. Plus, it’s tax deductible. There are plenty of ways to give money. One is to simply write a check from the company coffers. Another is to incentivize staff to give by matching their donations to an organization of their choice. Get creative with it. Not sure who you want to donate to? There are organizations out there, like One Percent for the Planet, that will help match you up with a non-profit organization. And once you start giving money to a an organization, you will quickly find there are plenty of other ways to get involved.
Time, in contrast to money, is one of the most difficult things we can give to a non-profit organization. Our schedules are compressed, our responsibilities spread too thin. But there are plenty of ways to get around such barriers and donate our time, even if it is only a few hours a year. As a company we can offer as little as a few days off for staff to volunteer at a local charity, or as much as a few days off to go on a long bike ride to raise awareness for a good cause. Non-profit organizations need people to help as much as they need money. We can serve food at a soup kitchen, clean up the beach, or simply man a booth at a fair. The volunteering options become limitless when you offer to give your time.
We are experts in web design and development, why not offer our expertise in these areas to help out our favorite non-profit organizations? Giving of our resources and expertise requires less than even money and time, because it’s something we are used to doing every day. We spend our entire work week designing and developing web sites, how hard would it be to knock out a cool design for a local charity? Not hard at all. A great way to get involved is to simply call up a non-profit organization and find out if they have any use for your expertise (trust me, they will jump at the opportunity). We can help by designing web sites, developing small applications, donating unused space on our servers to host a web site. Get creative, think of something. We can create just about anything online we want to, and we can just as easily put those creations do good use.
Web designers and developers work a lot with computers. As a result, we have a lot of computers laying around, many of them defunct and taking up space. There are plenty of non-profit organizations that will accept our discarded stuff. Whether it’s computers, desks, chairs, or leftover office supplies, there are people who could really use that stuff, and they don’t need or want the latest and greatest, just something that works.
Because giving back feels good. Because it’s better for everyone involved. Because it makes the world a slightly better place. Because one day we’re going to look back on our lives, and are we really going to wonder, gosh, I wish I had worked more and given less?