How to use your creative superpowers for good

Creative people have two main superpowers the world needs:

  • They see the world in ways no one else does.
  • They tell stories in meaningful, powerful ways.

Since these skills come naturally to creatives, they almost have a responsibility to use them to do good in the world.

When most people think of giving, they probably think about donating money. Sure, creatives can do that too, but there are many ways they can give back without giving money. They can donate their stuff, their time — even their blood — but for this blog post, we’re going to focus on one thing: donating skills.

Reasons to give back

There are many reasons creatives should use their talents to help worthy causes. Here are a few of the big ones.

They know how to get attention.

Inherently, creative people are good storytellers. They know how to shine a spotlight on a subject and cut through noise. They’re experts at finding interesting angles and getting their messages heard. It’s what they do every day for their clients. 

Endless causes need help.

Thousands of worthwhile causes need help, including human rights, wildlife conservation, homelessness, disaster relief and political activism, to name a few. The folks who run organizations that support these causes have vision and passion, but most of them aren’t marketers. They don’t specialize in communication strategy or digital marketing like advertising creatives do.

They can give others a voice.

Unfortunately, many communities have groups that hover on the fringes of society. Without people willing to help, these marginalized folks wouldn’t have a voice or a way to tell their story. Their experiences need to be heard to help the public understand why they should care and how they can help. Creative folks can make sure the voiceless have a voice.

It’s good business.

Ok, this reason is a little selfish, but it’s 100% true. Doing good is good for business. Most professionals want to work with people who care about more than just making money. The same goes for advertising agencies and businesses in general. Purpose — that trendy, beloved industry buzzword — makes companies relevant. Today’s consumers want to align themselves with businesses that are making the world a better place. It’s as simple as that.

Giving is contagious.

As creatives donate their skills to good causes, their friends and colleagues will want to do the same. People are usually willing to help, but they’re unsure of who to support and how to lend a hand. Creative people can be the catalyst who inspires others to enlist. Even small actions can have far-reaching effects.

Answering a higher call

At Duft Watterson, our agency doesn’t take the responsibility to make the world a better place lightly. Most of us help nonprofits and worthy causes in a variety of ways. Art Director Alex Rhodes donates his design and photography skills to the Discovery Center, a local hands-on science center here in Boise, and Greenspeed, an organization that encourages the use of renewable fuels and energy in motorsports. Our COO Jill Watterson sits on the board at Faces of Hope, a support center for victims of abuse.

Rich Lufrano, our new senior copywriter, writes for various animal volunteer efforts. Graphic designer Maddie Godwin has helped the Museum of the Rockies in Montana and a high school ski group in Alaska with design needs. Associate creative director Tony Hart and I have used our creative skills to support a local fire department and the Warhawk Museum, which displays rare artifacts from World War II and other wars. I also donate writing and photography skills to the Idaho Office of Refugees at Jannus, a local health and human services organization.

In addition, Duft Watterson is part of 1% for the Planet, which means we commit to donate 1% of our annual revenue to support nonprofit organizations that protect the environment. To date, over 1,800 1% for the Planet members from 45 countries have raised more than $200 million to support environmental nonprofits around the world.

However we donate our time and skills, all of us at Duft Watterson have learned that when we give back, we always get more in return than we give. We hope you can have similar experiences.