Almost a year ago I decided that it was time to look into doing some volunteer design work. I’d done some pro-bono projects in the past and had great experiences, so, since I was well settled in San Francisco with my living situation and full time design/marketing position, the timing felt right to spread my wings a bit and donate some of my time and skills.
I stumbled upon the Taproot Foundation while sifting through the volunteer listings on idealist.org, and after perusing their site for a few minutes was pretty impressed. Taproot works with business professionals across the country (and around the world) to place them with nonprofits who have been awarded “service grants”. There are applications on both ends – you have to apply to be a Pro-Bono Consultant, and the organizations have to apply to receive a service grant.
I applied and was accepted within a few days. Once you’ve been accepted, you’re entered into Taproot’s well organized online system (which feels more like an online community), where Account Directors assigned to projects can find consultants to recruit for their teams.
I was recruited to be the graphic designer for a brochure project for the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay. I was thrilled to be a part of this team – working as a designer/marketing professional in the financial industry on a daily basis, I had my heart set on a project that focused on kids (to change things up) – and I was lucky to be chosen to work on one!
Our task was to make a brochure that would promote and introduce (or re-introduce) the JCC East Bay’s Afterschool Programs to the Berkeley and Oakland communities.
Our team consisted of 5 (amazing) people: an account director, project manager, marketing director, graphic designer (yours truly!) and copywriter. We worked wonderfully together, and were kind of a dream team! We all completed our individual tasks on time, and were able to deliver a great brochure as a result.
The Finished Product – 11×17 Tri-Fold Glossy Brochure
The Taproot Foundation strives to make the experience and process as easy as possible for their pro-Bono consultants and non-profit organizations, so we’re provided with resources and an amazing blue print document to help navigate our milestones and deliverables.
Photos taken at our last meeting. We’re clearly in celebration mode.
The project overall was a really great experience for me personally. Being a designer who has mostly worked in a nonprofit environment, it was great to see how marketing professionals in the corporate world work. Also, my team had a very diverse range of professional experiences. It was a pleasure to work with each one of them and I felt like this project helped me grow as a designer and a marketing professional. Working with the ladies at the JCC East Bay was a breeze (and a joy!) as well. I look forward to my next project!
I can’t recommend Taproot enough. If you’re interested in volunteering your time to help a local non-profit, or want to learn more, check out their website: www.taprootfoundation.org