As a freelance designer, you need jobs that pay. Non-profit corporations, community organizations and individuals typically have small budgets, if any budget at all. So why would you want to take on any of these projects? Well, I’m glad you asked.
I’m sure we can all agree, expanding your portfolio is never a bad idea. Why include mock-ups to provide examples of your work when you can provide a live site for clients to experience first-hand? Not only is this more representative of your work, but it affords the potential client a chance to see how their site might function in real-time. They also have a larger pool to draw inspiration from.
In some cases, sites you’ve designed can help sell additional services or more advanced functions. Perhaps a prospective client came to you requesting a simple, five-page, informational site. After seeing some of your other work, they’ve decided to expand their project to include an online store or seamless editing functionality.
Working with these organizations can offer you the opportunity for creativity and innovation with the design. In my experience, the people heading these projects have little idea what they want the site to look like or do. They may have a color scheme or an idea about creating a blog or message board, but here is where they look to you for your expertise. People realize it’s not enough to have just a webpage anymore. Visiting a website needs to be a great experience for their visitors, they just don’t know how to do it themselves.
An important aspect of any job is “word of mouth” marketing which can manifest opportunities to attract potential clients in three ways: 1.) Visitor to the organization’s website; 2.) Members of the organization you worked with on the site build; 3.) Partners of the client organization.
Visitors to the organization’s website may get the desire to build their own site, having seen your work, and may be encouraged to move forward feeling a certain level of comfort with your work. The organization members you worked with may consider you for other organizations or projects they are involved with. They will also tell others, including partner organizations, how wonderful it was to work with you and offer praise about the work you were able to do with a restricted budget or little direction.
Finally, charitable works will always reflect highly of you, personally and professionally. Not only can these projects provide excellent press, but they will help increase confidence potential clients have in you and your work.
There are few cons when it comes to taking on “small projects,” particularly in today’s economy. Perhaps you will take time to consider some of the non-profit corporations or community organizations in your area who may benefit from a web prescence. With these projects, everyone wins.