Why Skills for Good Works for Me
The recent merger of WomenOnCall and Chicago Cares not only expands volunteer opportunities in Chicago but opens the door for all professionals to volunteer their skills. Marty Carver, an experienced graphic designer and advertising professional, has volunteered on numerous Skills for Good projects. By sharing his design talents, he helps nonprofit organizations achieve their goals while strengthening and growing his creative abilities. Read more about why he keeps coming back to Skills for Good.
Tell us about yourself and what initially attracted you to Skills for Good.
Marty: I grew up in the western suburbs and went to college at the University of Dayton, where I earned my BFA in Visual Communications Design. After graduating, I moved back to the Chicagoland area and eventually into Chicago. I am now a graphic designer living in Noble Square. I've been working as a graphic designer for about 10 years now, working at a printing press, in advertising, for a not-for-profit organization, and now in the marketing department of NELSON, an interior design firm.
I had been looking for ways to volunteer and spend more time giving back but was hesitant/nervous to make the major time commitment that a lot of organizations were looking for, which is why I was excited to discover Skills for Good. I am always seeking new outlets to be creative and design challenges away from the office. Skills for Good provides me with the perfect way to combine my interest in other design opportunities and my desire to find a way to volunteer my time and skills.
Would you share more about one of the recent volunteer projects you completed with Skills for Good?
Marty: I recently designed the building block logo for EQUIP, which is a program run by the Bright Promises Foundation. I worked with Katherine Dreher, Director of Development and Marketing, to create a logo that we felt embodied the mission of the program, which is to provide multi-year, capacity-building support to early childhood education agencies, helping them to work with the staff and families to create long-lasting, sustainable quality improvements that directly benefit low-income children between the ages of birth to five. I really enjoyed working with her to refine the shape, spacing, color, and type choices of the final mark.
How did your work help the Bright Promises Foundation?
Marty: In creating a logo and brand for EQUIP, The Bright Promises Foundation can now present the program as if it were a stand-alone organization/entity. This should help solidify EQUIP as an important and impactful program. Bright Promises is also now able to promote the program as a unique brand, which should help with communications to potential donors and recipients.
You’ve volunteered with several nonprofits through Skills for Good. What keeps you coming back?
Marty: All the nonprofits I've worked with have been very flexible with hours and deadlines. I always request having at least one weekend to work on whatever initiative I've volunteered for and that request is always accepted. There are a lot of days when I get home from work and the last thing I want to do is sit down in front of the computer again. The flexibility granted by these organizations allows me to work on the design at whatever pace I need that week, which ensures that I'm able to put my very best effort into the project and that the organization and I will be able to come up with a design that is going to be effective for them.
Do you have any words of advice for individuals who are looking for a meaningful way to give back or thinking about joining Skills for Good?
Marty: Just do it! I was nervous to get started, and I wish I had done it sooner. I was concerned that with limited free time and a full-time job that I wouldn't be able to do a good job or do enough for these organizations. But every organization was very accommodating of my time and very appreciative of the work that I provided. I've really enjoyed all the projects that I've worked on and there's a very special feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when you complete a project for one of these organizations.