11.13.2006

Good Works (Part 3): Lend Your Talents

If you can't afford to give money to a cause but still want to help out, one option to consider is volunteering. Sometimes you get to help those in need directly, and sometimes indirectly through behind-the-scenes functions such as fundraising. When it comes to fundraising events, volunteers are needed to staff ticket sales and food service, to name a few. It can be quite a tedious and thankless chore, as people may snap at you to do this and that. In the end, it will help out a lot, though it doesn't necessarily feel rewarding (believe me, I've been there quite a few times). However, some of the perks include free food or at least free admission, and maybe you might get to scoop up some free leftover goodie bags. If you want something more substantive, you gotta work it. Make it your opportunity to learn a few things and meet some people. I've done a little bit of networking that way. I usually hate networking, but when you're working together, you share something in common. It's a good start for conversations and such.

If doing grunt work is not for you, make yourself part of the attraction. If you love being in the spotlight, consider performing at an event. You'll get the above perks without feeling like you're being ordered around. Even though dealing with the event planning bureaucracy can be a bit annoying, winning the adoration of the crowd at the end of the performance is very rewarding, not to mention all the money you've helped raised. If you're artistic and crafty, create something to donate for an auction. The costs on your part varies, depending on materials and time, but you'll be doing what you love, and best of all, your work may fetch a lot of money. Whether you're performing or crafting, your work will help get your name out there, thereby creating some potential brand recognition. It's virtually free publicity, and any publicity is valuable, especially for a start-up.

That said, even though you're doing something for cheap or for free, put in a professional effort. Don't act or make your product look like crap. Make sure both the quality of the thing itself and its presentation are as high as can be. Packaging is important as a matter of general principles (this goes for gifts you give to your family and friends, especially with the winter holidays coming up and all), but a professional appearance can be achieved with minimal cost. Take this necklace I made as an example:

Until now, I only made things for myself and people I know on a casual basis, so I never bothered to package jewelry. However, when I decided to design a piece for an auction, I had to worry about packaging. I actually spent a lot of time looking all over the place for creative yet inexpensive ways of packaging things. In the end, I ended up using a free-with-purchase box that I got from FIDM and some tag board that I bought to make exhibits with for my trial class. The board functions as a little raised platform on which the necklace is pinned down and displayed. The yellow plastic box alone looks incredibly cheapy, but add some creative arrangement and you've got yourself something marketable.

This is certainly not the best example. If I had more time, I would have done a better job. Weeks later, I went to the Container Store and found some sleek yet affordable boxes.

3 comments:

BrownEyedGirl said...

Love that necklace! So pretty :)

SDMC said...

Your necklace is great! Wonderful way to give back!

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks y'all!