If you want to see a room full of graphic designers cringe, just mention that you need some free or low-wage work done. Nine times out of ten, most will go running for the hills, Wacom pens in hand. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, doing low paying work for charities or other charitable venus can be a tremendous boost for your career—and not to mention your own self-esteem. Don’t believe us? We figured you might not. With that in mind, check below for some of our top reasons to do some free or lower-end work for charities.

  1. Exposure: Let’s hypothesize for a second that you’ve submitted a successful bid for a new cancer fundraising campaign put out by St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Now, no matter how you slice it, this is a huge deal, and potentially a very massive break. Sadly, you won’t be getting paid anything for the gig, as it’s on a volunteer basis. But is this really so bad? Let’s assume you create one of the best designs of your career with the piece, and that St. Jude’s absolutely loves it. From here, they’ll spread it all around the country, potentially hanging it up in subway tubes, displaying it in magazine adverts, or even putting it on billboards along the highway. So in the long run, you might not have been paid for your weighty efforts, but if you can drive into town and see your design printed on a thirty foot space in public view, that’s some serious exposure. Add it to the resume, and be sure to tell people your portfolio is hanging just outside of Nashville.
  2. Career Re-Juicing: So many times we get burnt out in this business. Whether you’re tired of fighting with the client, tired of working long hours, or just tired of staring at a computer screen all-day, being a graphic designer can really take a toll on your self-esteem. With charity work, you have a real chance to boost your ego and sense of self-worth. By creating advertisements for free for a good cause, you’re doing something undeniably good for a lot of people. This is what we all aim for in life, after all, and if you can do it using the skills you have, and the equipment you make a living from, we feel that’s a goal worth shooting for.