Creatives should never work for free

If you are a creative, you have been asked to work for free. People generally think creatives do a few minutes of work a day and then spend the rest of their leisurely work hours drinking coffee or napping. Apparently what we do is seen as ridiculously easy and quick.

As with any career, you should do some work for non-profits. It’s a great way to give back. However, it is easy to be taken advantage of in this situation if the organization does not understand the value of your services. Creatives should never work for free, and it is your job to educate people about your worth.

First, if you are asked to do volunteer work for a non-profit that you truly wish to help, give them a proper proposal. Gather all the information about their needs and write it up as you normally would a paying client’s proposal. That way, they can see how much value they are getting from your services.

Next, ask the non-profit if they have anything in the budget (even $50-100) to offset the time you will be spending. They may or may not.

And lastly, there are many no-cost ways the non-profit can compensate you. They can give you a “Thanks” on their website with a link to your business website. They can include you in the program of an event. They can put your business cards out at an event. The person you worked with can leave you a positive recommendation on LinkedIn or Facebook. If they do not offer, ask for these things and tell the person how valuable they can be to your business.

You do not need to work for free. Your skills and expertise are valuable. The more you insist upon this, the more people will respect it.