Charitable Contributions – Make A Difference

Charitable Donations

Does your company make charitable contributions or give back to the community?

Kinds of Charity Donations

Charity donations come in many forms. Cash donations are the most common but donations of time, skill and items are also much needed. You can donate clothes, food, water and tents to disaster relief operations. Many charities accept used clothing, knitted items and shoes and distribute them to the needy. Orphanages and shelters would greatly appreciate your toy donations.

You can also donate vehicles, furniture, computers, books, old cell phones and practically anything that you may no longer have a use for but others can certainly benefit from. Additionally, giving your time through volunteer charity work is extremely valuable.

For me, I have chosen to donate my skills and time and to benefit charitable causes.  I have also chosen to run for various charities.  A charity in many ways is like a business so having a professional image allows the charity to hit the ground running.  I have created logos and letterhead for one charity, designed t-shirts to be sold to raise money and donated gift certificates to be auctioned off to raise money for a charity.

Speaking of hitting the ground running, I ran a 5K (sponsored by a client) to benefit the Maine Cancer Foundation and I am currently training for a marathon to benefit the Red Cross and the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier (benefiting those without health insurance).

In January, I will be running the Disney Marathon to benefit Caleb’s Crusade, a charity established by my friends to provide funds for childhood cancer research and to help children and families affected with childhood cancers to cope with their everyday expenses incurred during treatment and relocation.

Reasons for Giving to Charity

Big natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Cuba, and the tsunami in Japan can compel individuals to give what they can to affected communities. Others encounter eye-opening experiences that lead them to start giving to charity.

Many  businesses are motivated to give because of tax deductions associated with charitable donations. In addition, charitable giving is also a good way for a company to strengthen its brand and develop good relations with the community. Giving to charity can also help drive business as many customers are likely to buy from a company that gives back to society.

For individuals, tax breaks are also a top reason for donating to charity. On the other hand, there are also many individuals who give solely out of their desire to help people in need. Others support a cause that they can identify with, they believe is important, or has personally affected their lives. For instance, friends and families of cancer patients or survivors may donate to charity to help fund research, provide treatment, or create awareness about the disease.

For me, it was watching my friends 4 year old son, Caleb, fight a losing battle with leukemia in less than a year.  I witnessed a strong family get stronger but still not have the strength to overcome that terrible disease, even after many forms of treatment including chemo and a bone marrow transplant.

Shortly afterward, my ex-husband, the father of my two older sons, was diagnosed with brain cancer.  He is an active, otherwise healthy Little League coach and father of 4 (remarried with 2 more boys).  Three years post-diagnosis, he is maintaining his quality of life after having undergone chemo, radiation, numerous surgeries and trial medication.

Two years ago, a lifetime family friend was diagnosed with liver cancer and at the age of 33 and after less than a year of fighting, lost her battle with cancer.

Whether the donation comes from an individual or a business organization, giving to charity – for whatever reason, in any form, whether a big or small amount – will help make a difference in the lives of many people who are in need.

I hope that you will join me, in your own way, in helping the cause of your choice, so that together we can make a better world.

QR Codes: What are they and what do they do?

QR Codes - Design Lab 10

Have you heard of QR codes or QR Code Readers (or the mobile apps that read them)?  Maybe you’ve just seen some weird looking images start popping up in magazine advertisements, t-shirts, flyers or posters?

Whatever the case, if you’ve wondered what they are and why you’ve started to see them, read on!

QR (stands for Quick Response) codes are two-dimensional images that can be scanned by smart phones and that can contain text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser by encoding the information in the image.  They can even contain pre-formatted text messages!  This makes it possible for people to link a print ad (or any other print material) to the internet and their mobile device.

While all of this may seem strange and even a little unbelievable, QR codes have actually been around for a while.  They were originally created in Japan in 1994 and used to keep track of inventory.  In the last several years creative uses for the QR codes began to emerge…

In 2007, the Pet Shop Boys released a single criticizing the British national identity card concept. The single came complete with a QR code linked to the critique.

In 2009, QR codes were created for character design and promotional materials in the Shane Acker film 9.

Within the last year, QR codes have emerged as a possible mainstream marketing trend, but it’s still in the early stages of popularity.  You can expect this to be a growing trend!

A standard QR code can contain up to 7089 characters!  The possibilities are endless…

  • a link to your website
  • real estate flyers
  • a vCard
  • coupons
  • “secret” store front sales
  • pre-printed / formatted text messages from your clients phone requesting you contact them
  • an easy way to “check-in” to social media site
  • and the list goes on!

Free QR Readers are available for almost every mobile device. You can find one by clicking on the Application Store icon on your mobile device or follow the link below to access the application store for your specific device online.  Once you arrive at the App Store search for “Free QR Code Reader” and download the application.

Android App Market

Apple App Store

Blackberry App World

Windows App Marketplace

Now, try out the reader on the image below: