Michelle McCoy Designs

Creative solutions to build stronger brands

10 reasons why I participate in pro bono design work

Some people are critical of the term “pro bono” when it comes to graphic design work – they think it’s diminishing the value of designers and that nothing should be given away for free. I disagree.

The term”pro bono” is short for the Latin term “pro bono publico”, meaning “for the public good.” It often refers to free services that a professional provides to poverty-stricken clients, non-profit groups or charitable organizations. Design is not the only profession where services are provided to others for free. For instance, whenever there’s a state of emergency caused by a storm, everyone comes together to provide assistance, from doctors and nurses, to electricians, tree removers and even children. Why do we have to wait for a catastrophe to strike? Why can’t everyone make volunteer work a part of their regular routine?

If you are a creative professional and still skeptical of providing pro bono design services, please take a look through my list of 10 reasons why I participate in pro bono design work below. Perhaps you will reconsider your stance, and see that it’s not so bad after all!

10 reasons why I participate in pro bono design work:

1.) I care about giving back to my community.
(Columbia / Baltimore, Maryland represent!)

2.) I love all forms of art, and will support fellow artists through my designs.
(You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.)

3.) I like to make a positive difference and help others.
(What goes around, comes around, right?)

4.) I like to get involved in new, exciting projects and learn
something along the way.
(This keeps my designs “fresh”.)

5.) The final products are great to include in a portfolio to show variety.
(Mix things up a bit!)

6.) It can lead to additional work.
(That’s what I’m talkin’ about. $$$)

7.) It builds a network of local business contacts.
(It never hurts to know more people and stay well-connected.)

8.) With small organizations, every contribution goes a long way.
(Words cannot emphasize the power of “Thank You”.)

9.) I like to exercise my design skills.
(Try something out of the ordinary, or learn a new technique.)

10.) It’s fun!
(Like they say, if you love what you do, you won’t have to work a day in your life.)


Some of the most recent pro bono design work that Michelle McCoy participated in was with the Baltimore Jazz Education Project, which held their fifth annual benefit concert on October 26, 2012. This organization provides instruments to middle school youth and gives them the opportunity to receive lessons after school. Michelle also created fliers to promote a St. Paddy’s Day Bash, which will be held on March 17, 2013. The event is hosted by the Paul J. Kelley Jr. Charitable Foundation, Inc and the proceeds raised will go towards Gilchrist Center Howard County. Stay tuned to see what these designs looked like, and to learn more about other pro bono design opportunities Michelle McCoy is involved in!


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This entry was posted on March 6, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , .


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