I think we do good work at Idea Market; websites that are pretty to look at and do cool things. They provide real value to our clients and to our clients’ clients. Sometimes, they may even help to make people’s lives better. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but I believe that a good town website (for example) can be beneficial to its citizens in actual, real terms. But with the possible exception of a fire ban notice perhaps, it’s not exactly a matter of life and death.
Which is why we don’t just do municipal or commercial work. I believe that if you want what you do in life to have deeper meaning, you need to apply your knowledge and skills to something that has a broader significance. Something that is a matter of life and death.
Now this isn’t meant to be a “Hey, look at us! We’re so great!” sort of blog, but I want to give some examples of organizations we’ve helped with recently that has brought a bit of fulfillment to the work that we do.
1. The United Way of Central Alberta held its 2011-12 campaign kick-off last week. It was inspiring to see so many people in one place, all in support of helping people in our community. And we’re not talking about helping just a little bit; we’re talking about helping to the tune of $1,960,000. That’s a huge number. Maybe too big to even wrap your head around. But then they told some real-life stories, including one about a guy named Barry. In a nutshell, Barry had hit bottom and only through the help of programs funded in part by the United Way was he able to get back on his feet and move forward. I met Barry after the program. He’s a real person who lives (and now works!) in our own community and doesn’t hesitate to admit that he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the help he received. Check out the United Way’s website to see how you can donate or otherwise support their work.
2. The organization on the ground that helped Barry the most?: The Central Alberta AIDS Network Society (CAANS). Don’t let the name fool you, though. While they certainly do great work within the HIV/AIDS community, they’re also a vital service to the broader “at-risk” population of Red Deer including drug users and sex trade workers. For many of their clients, the CAANS office is as close to a home as they have. Which comes as no surprise if you’ve ever spent any time inside their walls. There’s a warmth and acceptance there that is hard to find elsewhere. I personally spend several hours a week volunteering at CAANS; time that I’m pretty sure has come to mean more to me than to them. Idea Market hasn’t done a whole lot in terms of actual design for them yet… but we will be soon. Check back in a month or so when we launch their new brand and website.
3. Closely tied to CAANS is The Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing. They quietly operate all over Red Deer, providing services including emergency shelter, housing and detox. I’ve toured their facilities and listened to their stories. Some are heartbreaking; others are highly inspirational. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending their AGM on the shores of the Red Deer River at Fort Normandeau. This was not your typical AGM; we all sat outside in a circle, ate together, laughed together and hugged a lot. At the end of meeting they unveiled the new brand, banner, brochures and website that we got to create for them. I’ll have the details in our portfolio soon, but you can learn more about what they do on their newly launched website at: www.safeharboursociety.org Make sure you watch the video to get a better feel for the heart behind what they do.
4. Finally, as I write this we are putting the final touches on the 2011 edition of Red Deer’s Vital Signs, put together by the Red Deer & District Community Foundation. Much like the United Way, the Community Foundation is an over-arching organization that helps fund many other organizations in our area. The Vital Signs document is sort of like a report card on how the City is doing on a wide range of topics, from crime to library usage and from employment rates to air quality. It’s the study that helps identify what we’re doing well at and what needs more attention. This will be the fifth one we’ve designed for them and it launches on October 4. Please take the time to read through it; it may help you get a better feel for what’s happening around you and how you can make an impact.
Idea Market’s involvement with these projects has dramatically changed how we define our corporate mission. It’s changed how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about others. It has brought new value to how we spend the bulk of our day.
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe your day-to-day work doesn’t mean that much in the great scheme of things. What can you do to change that? How can you use your talents to do something to help others? Figure it out and do it. Because I guarantee that it won’t just help them; it will also bring meaning and fulfillment to your own work and life.