Training For A Good Cause

thumbnailDo you ever catch yourself daydreaming at work? Have you ever accidentally nodded off, for just a second, during a presentation? Is there ever a day that your workload is just plain dull?

Luckily for most of us, working at a creative agency is vastly more exciting than something like insurance sales. Still, even the best of us can get stuck in a rut.

Earlier this year, during the 23rd round of edits to some random layout, I found myself yearning for something a bit more creative. I reached out to a colleague and we started coming up with little design exercises. It seemed like a great way to flex our creative muscles and do some training at the same time.

After a few weeks it dawned on me that we were missing an opportunity. If we were going to invest creative energy into a project, there had to be a way for someone to benefit. A quick Google search resulted in exactly what I was looking for. Allow me to introduce you to Catchafire!

Catchafire-logo

http://www.catchafire.org/

The mission, as defined on the site, is “to provide talented individuals with meaningful pro bono experiences in order to build capacity for social good.”

Basically, do-gooder organizations post want-ads for cheap creative labor. But what they lack in commission, they make up for in creative freedom.

Within a few hours we were linked up with a non-profit rare cancer organization in search of some infographics. Sounded like fun. I phoned our contact, discussed the project, and requested that she forward a list of messages they wanted to convey in graphic form.

What I saw in my inbox the next morning drastically changed the project.

The documents received included:

  • Annual report
  • Patient brochure
  • 30+ pages of Word docs
  • Multiple hand-drawn sketches that NASA could not decipher

And in that instant, I learned what it was like to be an account manager.
SCOPE CHANGE!

Over the last few months, the project transformed from a set of simple infographics, to a 2-minute animation sequence with voice-over, original music, and an accompanying PDF for print. Our team grew accordingly and in the end, everyone had a chance to get out of their comfort zones and explore different roles. Designers became illustrators, copywriters became voice-over artists, and art directors became traffic managers.

It was a very rewarding and educational experience and the organization was thrilled with our contribution to their cause.

So, the next time you find your eyes going fuzzy while reading a 90-page black-and-white manuscript, consider expanding your horizons and doing some good along the way!

screengrab

To visit the Chordoma Foundation, click here: http://www.chordomafoundation.org/ 

A very special thanks to everyone who volunteered and sacrificed their nights and weekends to work on this project:

Michael Driesse: Art Direction, Illustration, Traffic

Kristen Sween: Copy, Voice Talent

Michael Kaiser: Animation, Multimedia

Patrick Suler: Audio, Multimedia

Jodi Smith: 3D, Animation

Tyler Kearns (my son!): Original music

CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION:
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