Archives for category: design

I’ve admired the work of the folks at Invisible Creature for awhile now. From the Sasquatch Music Festival to the Hurricane Poster Project, Invisible Creature has developed a strong voice in the design world.

Now, you’re invited to join the fun! The Lil’ Happy Invisible Creature S.A.S.E Club is kind of a throwback nod to the days when people actually sent letters to each other (“S.A.S.E” means “self-addressed stamped envelope, by the way).

Here’s how it works:

It’s real simple. Send us a self-addressed stamped envelope and we’ll fill it with goodies. Put 2 stamps on your return envelope and we’ll fill it with more.

However, we thought we’d make it a bit more fun and interactive. Regardless of your artistic ability, we ask that your envelope addressed to us be creatively designed or illustrated. No rules, anything goes – and we’ll post the coolest ones on the Lil’ Happy Twitter page.

Our church community will be partnering with Amor Ministries this summer to build a home in South Africa for a family in need.  As I learn more about South Africa, I see a story that is both broken and beautiful.

The oppressive apartheid regime ended in 1994, and yet economic and social problems continue to linger today.  One third of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Almost ten million people live in poverty housing, crowded into townships in shacks made of whatever people can piece together — cardboard, scrap wood and corrugated iron.

Our church has partnered with Amor over the last couple of years in building homes in Mexico.  We appreciate the heart of service behind their ministry — Amor works with local pastors to listen to the needs of their communities and to find ways to bring long-lasting hope and transformation.

I designed a graphic below to give supporters a quick glance at our South Africa trip.  I deeply appreciate your prayer for our team.

One of the threads I saw running throughout The Ideation Conference (you can find other reflections here) was the importance of good storytelling.

Many (most?) nonprofits struggle to raise awareness for their work, find donors and raise support.  From organizations such as Invisible ChildrenOne Day’s Wagescharity: water, and Nuru International, it is clear that communications is not a nice touch to throw on at the end if your organization has time, but a crucial part of the work itself.

Stories that grip people’s hearts will naturally lead to participation and contribution.  And telling those stories requires a willingness to invest.

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Telling Effective Stories

charity: water consistently produces high-quality videos to communicate not only what they do, but why they do it.  Here is a recent example:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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This brilliant motiongraphic video from Nuru International was produced in-house and explains simply some of the complexities of their work:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Tell Your Story

Now, most of our organizations are not well-connected enough to have the director of Hotel Rwanda direct and Jennifer Connelly star in a promotional video pro bono for us, but similar principles can guide even the smallest teams. If you were to sit down with a friend, how would you answer the following questions in a compelling way:

Why do you believe in your work? Why should your friends & family?

One of the speakers at The Ideation mentioned that, if you can’t get your immediate family behind your idea, then maybe you need to re-think things a bit.

Via marketing maven and all-around social networking guru @decart, here are some useful tips on creating a hook for your story and engaging your members.

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Invest In Your Creatives

Among both charity: water and Invisible Children’s first hires were their creative teams (or, at the beginning, creative person).  As charity: saw the need for telling their story through videos, their creative took on the task of learning how to edit video, and they grew from that point.

At The Ideation, I met and/or connected via Twitter with many talented videographers, graphic designers and organizational consultants (as well as in-house creatives) who passionately care about people and finding ways to create a better world.  If your organization does not have the capability to produce creative content on your own, there are many who can help you out (at a reasonable cost).

In any case, organizations must be willing not only to invest financially in communicating their stories, but also in time, imagination and hard work.

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A Remarkable Gathering

Even though The Ideation was only two days, it was a whirlwind of incredible individuals and organizations committed to bringing hope, justice and good into the world.  As Brian Cooper, CEO of Glimmer of Hope, said, “It’s so rare to be in a whole roomful of people who care more about others than themselves.”

At The Ideation, I was privileged to represent Justice Ventures International — a nonprofit working to eradicate human trafficking, empower the urban poor, and ensure access to justice for the oppressed — as a board member and as part of the Pathos Ethos team — a web strategy group finding ways to partner with organizations working to love human + do good in the world.

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Last week, our family visited Los Angeles for a quick getaway.  Through a recommendation of a friend, we visited the Noah’s Ark exhibit at the Skirball Center.  We had a fantastic time there!

I had never heard of the Skirball, even though it’s just up the street from the Getty Center (which we’ve visited many times).  I’m so glad that we took one afternoon out to visit.

The Noah’s Ark exhibit is an immersive, interactive experience filled with creativity.  After entering the museum and finding our way to the Noah’s Ark exhibit, we waited for a couple of minutes for a quick orientation.

There, we found out that the animals on display throughout the Ark are made from recycled materials.  For example, they fashioned flamingos from spools of thread, fly swatters and combs and alligators from tires and violin cases.

Kids are free to run around, explore hands-on, and create their own animals from recycled art materials.  We used almost our entire two-hour block in the exhibit.  If you have kids, or are a kid at heart, the Noah’s Ark exhibit is a great place to spend the afternoon.