January 12, 2021

20 Years: 20 Logos

Filed under: Uncategorized — lidia @ 10:00 am

How do you sum up 20 years of logo design work? You search “logo” on your Mac and start sorting through files. Yes, that’s literally what I did, but I do also have my favorites from over the years.

As you can see, I used to do quite a bit of restaurant work. Much of my logo design work has been in this industry as the clients I worked with had multiple properties and constantly needed new logos (back during the early ’00s restaurant boom). The restaurant logos were also often the most fun to work on, as I could get inspiration from interior design palettes, textures and bright colors.

Some of the logos have since been redesigned (some redesigned by me!) but some are still being used—such as my logo. I’ve been using a variation of the sun logo since I was a design school graduate looking for work. I remember people telling me they recognized my resume because of the sun (an early lesson on the power of branding!)

The last two logos are beyond 20 years—from when I was in design school—but I just had to include them. I love the fact that in my identity designs for the Animal Welfare League (the last example) I didn’t use a logo lockup with the name, only the icon to make it stand out. I was already thinking conceptually back then!

My logo design has come a long way, but there are still aspects of those early designs that delight and inspire me. Here’s to 20 more years of logos! #LVD20

Fun Fact: Three of the logos are for family members, one for my dad, and two for my cousin’s businesses (proof that I come from a family of entrepreneurs). Can you guess which ones?

 

January 5, 2021

2021 Word for the Year: Collaboration

Filed under: Uncategorized — lidia @ 10:00 am

2021 Word for the Year Collaboration

This year’s word was a bit tricky to pick. I felt like I did a great job manifesting last year’s word (voice), so what to choose this year? Collaboration.

After participating in a recent webinar, the topic of creative collaborations came up and I knew I had my word.

I’ve been doing more creative collaborations this year, partly due to the pandemic but also because I’ve realized there is strength in numbers—by teaming up with creative friends, we can get bigger jobs, make a bigger impact and grow our businesses. It’s also fun to have “coworkers” when you mostly work solo.

I realized it was the perfect guiding force as we head into 2021. A few ways I hope to manifest “collaboration” this year:

  • Continue building my strategic and creative team at Lidia Varesco Design
  • Collaborating on events: participating in panels or other speaking events and  developing my own event (I’m dreaming of a summit!)
  • Blending complementary skills along with my colleagues
  • Creating and growing strategic partnerships

I’m also going back to my word for 2018 and continuing to streamline my business and financial systems (it’s been a real game changer!

See all of my past words for the year:

Do you have a word for the year? Let’s hear it!

December 15, 2020

What Makes A Good Giving Page

Filed under: Branding,Communications — lidia @ 10:03 am

Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels

The ultimate goal of any giving page is to encourage visitors to make a donation. After filling out 10+ donate forms during this year’s GivingTuesday, I jotted down some best practices and I took note of the most engaging elements of a well designed giving page. 

The key to success is a good user experience, and while your supporter is there keep them involved. Whether you are creating a giving page for the first time or need to refresh your organization’s page with new content, here are 5 things to consider when designing a giving page. 

Focus on Branding

The giving page is an extension of your website. It’s important to create a trustworthy page by including your logo and your organization’s color palette. This simple step reassures visitors they are still on your site while making their donation. In a 2020 report, Nonprofit Tech For Good noted branded pages raise 6 times more funding than generic pages. Inspire your supporters to take action! Include compelling images, create an uplifting video message and add testimonials of who you serve.

Be sure to share how donation dollars were put to use over the past year. Network for Good reports donors give 38% larger gifts to branded donation pages than to generic pages. 

I love the giving page at All Stars Project Inc. They incorporate the spirit of their organization with a moving image. Their logo and color palette are clearly identifiable in the top left corner of the website and the organization’s mission is clear. They even provide a snippet of what your donation dollars can provide.  

All Stars Project Giving Page

Good Functionality

Great content is step one. Collecting the donation is step two. Don’t lose your visitor with a complicated form and too many steps. 

Make donating easy and inspiring with these simple best practices.   

  • Ensure your donate button is easy to find. Most are located above the fold (the fold is that imaginary line at the bottom of the page before scrolling downward).  Try placing the donate button at the top right corner of the page.  
  • Make your donate button stand out in a bright color.  
  • Provide options by suggesting donation amounts at various levels: $10, $25, $50, $75, $100.
  • Share what your supporter’s donation will provide or allow supporters to choose what the donation should go toward.
  • Offer a recurring donation option, making it easy for supporters to keep contributing.
  • Allow visitors to dedicate the donation in honor or in memory of someone.
  • Ensure a receipt is automatically provided at the end of the transaction and in an email. 
  • Add a friendly reminder that the donation is tax deductible in the U.S. 
  • You might also want to mention the CARES Act temporarily suspended contribution limits.

Cradles to Crayons is a great example of an easy donation form and includes many of the tips above providing a feel good experience. 

Cradles to Crayons Giving Page

Be inclusive of all donors

Make donating fun by celebrating a variety of ways to give. Start with a low amount ($10.00) so everyone can get involved.  Encourage free ways to give such as social sharing, invite family and friends to join, volunteer time, donate skills, organize an event or create a birthday fundraiser on social media. 

Don’t forget to highlight additional charitable ways donors can support your organization. Include information on corporate donations, employer donation matching, stock gifts, in-kind support, and estate planning options. 

Hope for Widows is a great example of starting with a low amount, making the experience more inclusive.

Hope For Widows

 Audience Engagement

Don’t lose a captive audience. Keep them engaged to the end. Once your supporter hits the submit button, encourage them to explore your site and learn more about you. 

Here are a few ideas you may want to consider: 

  • If you didn’t share with donors what their dollars provide on the donation form, share the information via a link or video.
  • Add a link to your site’s most popular articles.
  • Add a link to get involved with your organization. 
  • Add a link to join your next event. 
  • Invite donors to join your email list and choose how frequent they want to hear from you: weekly, monthly, quarterly.
  • Invite donors to follow your organization on social media.
  • Offer a donor FAQ page.

Have a Follow-up Plan

Be sure to write a meaningful thank you. Keep donors committed to your organization’s mission by sharing impactful stories of your accomplishments. Show how your donor’s hard earned dollars are being put to use. Don’t always ask donors for more money but definitely have a plan to ask again. Supporters will only donate again if they feel connected to your organization. On-going communication is vital to future fundraising success.

There you have it! A good giving page improves your fundraising performance. Classy reported one-time donors who started on donation pages are more likely to return than donors who started on peer-to-peer campaigns or ticketed event campaigns. This means solid branding, a compelling message, good functionality, providing a variety of ways to give and keeping your audience engaged are critical to meeting fundraising goals. 

To learn more about how branding can impact your organization, read my post on why your nonprofit needs brand guidelines and how to create them. 

It’s never too early to start preparing for GivingTuesday! Read my series on creating effective GivingTuesday branding and marketing

 

November 18, 2020

Celebrating 20 years in business!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lidia @ 10:00 am

20 Years Ago

Today is my 20th business anniversary! 20 years ago today, my friend was mentoring me through the overwhelming process of starting a business and she said: “Just give it a few months.” Well, the months turned into a year, then a decade and now two decades.

As much as I would have liked to write a “20 things I’ve learned in 20 years” list today, I will tell you the main thing I’ve learned: You need a support network.

Whether it’s my small business friends, working mom groups, creative accountability group, collaboration partners, or membership groups I couldn’t have made it this far without their support, inspiration and generosity, both personally and professionally. Not to mention the support of my husband, family and parents (including my self-employed dad) and two kids who you’ve probably seen “crash” a meeting or two this year.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to do the work I love for organizations that are making a difference.

Thank you for being with me on this journey! #LVD20

October 7, 2020

Diverse & Inclusive Stock Photography Resources

 

Photo from DIsability:IN

Photo from Disability:IN

I love to share products that have worked for me over the years.  This post may contain affiliate links.  This means I may get a small commission when you click on links or buy something in this post.  This is at no additional cost to you. 

 

Updated October 10, 2002

During a session at ComNet V about reaching diverse audiences, the speakers spoke about the importance of using stock photos that are more inclusive and diverse. As an art director and designer, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, a recent stock photo search I did on “voting” returned a majority of images featuring white men’s hands (wearing business suits, to boot).

According to Getty Images’ Visual GPS, 63% of people prefer to buy brands that are founded by or represent people like themselves—however only 14% say they are well-represented in advertising and 15% in business communications.

Getty also reports that searches have increased year over year for ‘diversity’ (up 133%), ‘culture’ (up 115%), ‘real people’ (up 115%) and ‘inclusion’ (up 126%).

The need for images that are representative of all people is clearly here. But I know first hand that finding diverse and inclusive images on mainstream stock photography sites can be difficult. Here’s a list of resources for real and authentic photography.

Stock Photo Resources

Adobe Stock – Brwn Stock Imaging Collection

Brwn Stock Collection features images that feature people of color.

AllGo

AllGo is a collection of free plus-size stock photos.

In 2017, Getty Images reported triple-digit increases in searches for the terms “body positivity” and “real bodies”.

Photo by AllGo – An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

arabianEye

arabianEye is an authentic Middle Eastern collection of visual media, featuring Emirati, Saudi, Qatari and Omani people.

AsiaPix

AsiaPix is a royalty-free collection of contemporary business and lifestyle images with an emphasis on Chinese culture and subjects.

Asia Images 

Asia Images features images of business, lifestyle, and travel destinations in Asia.

Blend Images on Tetra Images

Blend Images is a collection of multi-cultural and ethnically diverse stock content.

Body Liberation Stock

Body Liberation features stock photos and images for body size diversity and acceptance.

Canva Natural Women Collection

Canva’s image collection of everyday women, whose personal stories and experiences challenge both gender norms and societal standards of beauty.

70% of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising and Getty reports huge increases in the following terms over the past year: “real people” 192% increase, “diverse women” 168% increase, and “strong women” 187% increase.

CreateHer Stock

CreateHer features authentic stock photography of melanated women.

Photo by CreateHER Stock

Disability Images by Design Pics Inc.

Disability Images includes rights-managed and royalty-free images showing a range of disabilities.

Disability Inclusion Stock Photography by Disability:IN

Disability inclusive stock photography provided by Disability:IN and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Disabled & Here

Disabled & Here features free and inclusive stock photos shot from our own perspective, featuring disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) across the Pacific Northwest.

eye for ebony

eye for ebony features models of all shades, shapes, and sizes.

The Gender Spectrum Collection by Broadly

The Gender Spectrum Collection is a representation of images of transgender and non-binary people.

Getty Images – AARP Disrupt Aging Collection

A collection featuring images of people 50+ in everyday moments that help break stereotypes and combat ageist biases.

An AARP study on age representation across the media image landscape shows that while people 50+ are fully engaged in their communities, seven in ten images of adults over 50 show them removed from the rest of the world.  

Getty Images – The Disability Collection

A collection featuring images that break stereotypes and more authentically portray individuals with disabilities.

Getty – Gender Blend

A collection of images highlighting the new boundaries of gender roles.

Getty Images reports they are beginning to see more inclusive representations that portray a more rounded picture of LGBTQ+ family life, including single parents, transracial families, blended families, co‑parenting, as well as parents of different ages and socio‑economic backgrounds.

Getty Images – The Lean In Collection

A collection of images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls and the people who support them.

Getty Images – Muslim Girl Collection

A collection that encourages a more positive depiction of Muslim women.

Getty Images – The Nosotros Collection

A collection that reimagines the visual representation of the Latinx/Hispanic community within North America.

Getty Images – Project #ShowUs

A collection devoted to shattering beauty stereotypes by showing female-identifying and non-binary individuals.

The Jopwell Collection

The Jopwell Collection features images of Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American leaders (social entrepreneurs, editors, techies, financial analysts, recruiters, marketers, student leaders).

kosherstock

kosherstock features royalty-free images of the Jewish world.

Mocha Stock

Mocha Stock features images of people of color.

nappy

nappy features free images of black and brown people.

From May to June alone Getty Images reports customer searches for diverse images have increased by 200% and searches for images around unity and equality increased by 500%.

NativeStock Pictures

NativeStock is a comprehensive image collection on Native American Indian cultures.

PICHA Stock

PICHA Stock features modern Afrocentric stories curated from hundreds of creatives from Africa and abroad

Picnoi

Picnoi is a free collection of images of people of color.

Above: Photos from Picnoi by Windows, Annie Spratt & Hian Oliveira

PictureIndia

PictureIndia features royalty-free images of contemporary Indian lifestyle and business themes.

Pixels in Colour

Pixels in Colour is adding diversity to the world of stock photography.

Pixerf

Pixerf is a global visual community and marketplace for Asian images.

Photoability

Photoability features rights-managed and royalty-free images featuring individuals with disabilities.

Around 15% of people in the world have a disability, but just 2% of stock photos contain any representation of their lives.

POCStock

POCStock features photos featuring Black, Hispanic, LatinX, Native, Asian and Middle Eastern people of color.

PUSHLiving Photos

PUSHLiving features disability inclusive stock images.

Representation Matters

Representation Matters is a royalty-free stock photo site that focuses specifically on diversity and inclusion.

Salam Stock

Salam Stock features Muslim and Islam related royalty-free stock photos, artwork and illustrations.

TONL

TONL features images of diverse people and their stories around the world.

UK Black Tech

UK Black Tech is a collection featuring images of BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) in tech from Britain.

WOCinTech Chat

WOCinTech Chat features photos of women of color in tech, free to use under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

Photo from #WOCinTech Chat

Image Collections

Tips & Best Practices

As Getty pointed out in their Visual GPS Report, “People want and expect imagery to be representative of themselves and the world they see around them.” Let’s utilize and share stock photography resources to give them the exposure they deserve.

P.S. Please share any stock photo resources that aren’t already on the list.

September 21, 2020

Racial Equity Organizations, Resources & Talks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:51 am
Photo from nappy.co

Photo from nappy.co

Updated 10/16/20

Below find local and national organizations who are making a change for racial equity, as well as takeaways from related talks and webinars. Some are clients and friends, while others are organizations I support or those with a mission that resonated with me.

Organizations – Chicago

All Stars Project of Chicago

Working in neighborhoods that have been hit the hardest by violence, the All Stars Project of Chicago offers the Development School for Youth where young people learn to perform as professionals by partnering with business leaders, as well as All Stars Talent Show Network and are working to establish a Center for Afterschool Development in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP)

Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy (CAAIP) is a membership organization committed to promoting dialogue, advocating for investment in African American communities, and building infrastructure for equitable leadership roles in the social sector. They are launching a database of BIPOC Philanthropy Consultants and Advisors. Add your listing here.

Equiticity

Equiticity is a racial equity movement that provides programming and advocacy for racial equity, increased mobility and racial justice to make lives better for Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color across the United States.

Future Ties

Future Ties provides free homework help, after school programs, teen and parent programs and summer camps on Chicago’s South Side.

I Grow Chicago

The mission of I Grow Chicago is to grow Englewood from surviving to thriving through community connection, skill building, and opportunity. They engage more than 3,000 people per year to address the root causes of trauma and violence through mentorship and supportive services, restorative justice and community building, as well as movement and health-based programs.

My Block, My Hood, My City

My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. They take students on explorations focused on STEM, Arts & Culture, Citizenry & Volunteerism, Health, Community Development, Culinary Arts, and Entrepreneurism. They recently launched a Small Business Relief Fund to assist small businesses affected by pandemic closures and business damage.

New Moms

New Moms is changing the future for young moms experiencing poverty and homelessness in Chicagoland by offering housing, job training, and family support. Their work focuses on the West side of Chicago.

Talks & Webinars

Learning and leading in times of trauma: How to establish an anti-racist workplace [wethos]

Presented by Susan X. Jane of Navigators Consulting

Key takeaways:

  • We’re knitting a big sweater—you only have access to one stitch, discover and pick a stitch that you can make the strongest.
  • Pick something you are passionate about focus on that (i.e. families, storytelling, gathering resources)
  • Be aware of the 4 Is of Oppression and create strategies to address them
    • Individual: Learn about race/racism and question your own assumptions
    • Interpersonal: Share what you have learned, connect with people who are similar and different
    • Institutions: Develop clear policies around race and create inclusive spaces
    • Ideology: Participate in movements, support storytelling and sharing

Watch replay

Understanding Identity, Power, & Equity in Design Leadership [99U Conference]

Presented by Antionette D. Carroll, Founder & CEO, Creative Reaction Lab

Key takeaways:

  • Instead of human-centered work, we should strive for equity-centered work.
  • As you do your equity work, as yourself: How is my mindset being shifted over time? What am I learning? How am I progressing?
  • We all play an active role in being a redesigner for justice.
  • Equity designers put people/equity first, are always tterating/making and improving, are building upon existing resources and have lived experience with inequity
  • Design allies can leverage their power and access on behalf of equity designers.

Watch replay

The Power of Allies and Inclusion in the Workplace [ASAE Conference 2020]

Presented by Bernadette Smith, Founder of Equality Institute

Key takeaways:

  • Use the ARC approach = ask, respect, connect
  • Come from curiosity: Can you tell me more? How do you feel? Can we talk about this?
  • Treat others as THEY want to be treated.
  • Be a visible ally, use your words.
  • Ask great, open ended questions.
  • Check in with team members.

Read more

The Stories & Storytellers We Need Now [Power to Fly 2020 Diversity Reboot Summit]

Presented by Dr. Sheila Robinson, Owner and Publisher of Diversity Woman Magazine,  Snigdha Sur, Founder & CEO of The Juggernaut, Carla Santiago, founder of STORi.Digital and Afrika Bell Kathuria, Founder of ABK Creates.

Key takeaways:

  • Bring more voices to the storytelling process, find ways to bring in different comments to change the narrative.
  • Open it up to more people—don’t default to same people for advice,  panels, etc.
  • Think of diversity as a whole (all aspects of it)
  • Expand your network—ask people in your network to connect you to new voices.
  • Make the current examination a long-term examination.
  • Educate at your dinner table.

Watch replay

Please spread the word about these organizations and talks—and let me know what your stitch is.

Making My “Stitch”

Filed under: Communications — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

I admit to having a feeling of powerlessness as I watched the recent news of racial injustice unfold. That is, until I watched a Wethos talk on how to establish an anti-racist workplace featuring diversity educator, speaker, and trainer Susan X. Jane.

In her talk, Susan explains that we are knitting a giant sweater: each of us can only make one stitch, so you must focus on a stitch that will make it stronger. This beautifully put everything into perspective for me: I don’t have to try to make a monumental change, I can start small, choose something I’m good at, and make my “stitch.”

As I’ve watched multiple talks and webinars over the last few months, taken notes and tweeted my takeaways, I quickly realized my “stitch” is collecting and sharing resources—something I’m passionate about in general.

I’m starting by curating a list of organizations who are making a change for racial equity (including many of my clients) as well as sharing my takeaways from related talks and webinars. I will keep adding resources as I go along in the hopes of bringing more awareness, as well as helping others in their journey.

Resources

May 4, 2020

Nonprofit Virtual Volunteer Opportunities (2020)

Filed under: Volunteers — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

virtual volunteers

Updated May 1, 2020. Details are as of press time, please see links for the most current info.

During the current shelter in place, I have watched nonprofit organizations cancel in-person volunteer events, as well as increase their need for volunteers. This can be especially hard on smaller organizations who don’t have a large support network.

In response to this, I compiled a list to match willing-and-able volunteers with organizations in need. Please consider sharing your talents and time with these organizations—and share your organization’s virtual needs to be added to the list.

United Way Quad Cities

Volunteer Needs:

Virtual Children’s Activities: Create a video of yourself, your family or your team completing an activity of interest to children while we are all staying home. Read a children’s book, conduct a science experiment, bake and decorate cup cakes or create your own activity.

More info about volunteering

giveNkind

giveNkind bridges the gap between what nonprofit organizations have and what they need to thrive.

Volunteer Needs:

  • Help place items from corporate donors with nonprofits across the country. Join our team of dedicated volunteers who reach out to organizations with the great news that we have donations they might need.
  • Individuals with experience in web design, social media, and Excel are needed.

More info about volunteering

Hope for Widows Foundation

Hope for Widows Foundation is a national support system for, and developed by, widowed women.

Volunteer Needs:

  • Social Media Coordinator (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Facebook Group Administrator
  • Board Member
  • Members Outreach Committee Member

More info about volunteering

Does your nonprofit have virtual volunteer opportunities?

Share it here to be added to the list.

 

April 30, 2020

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: Z is for Gen Z

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 10:00 am

Social Media Marketing Gen z

Gen Z

 

Gen Z, also known as “Philanthroteens,” refers to young people born in the late 1990s and later. This group has grown up with access to current events and social media, so they tend to be  well-informed, socially-conscious, and looking to make a difference.

Gen Z are fans of platforms driven by fast-paced visual content like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, (Criteo). Social change activities and volunteer experiences are especially relevant to this audience as they build their resumes and seek out internships and jobs.

Since they make up the next generation of donors, Gen Z should definitely be considered in the planning of your social media marketing strategy

April 29, 2020

A to Z of Social Media Marketing: Y is for YouTube

Filed under: Social Media — lidia @ 3:00 pm

Social Media Marketing, YouTube

 

YouTube

 

Video posts are bigger than ever. They are easy to digest, entertaining and engaging. Undoubtedly, the most popular video sharing platform is YouTube. After Google, it is the second largest search engine. It is currently more favored than all other social media platforms (Hootsuite) and is the top channel for Gen Z

When creating content, it can be used similarly to other social media channels for campaign sharing, promoting volunteer activities, general awareness and other visually-engaging mission-based activities. 

Also, if you have a Google for Nonprofits account, you may be eligible for the YouTube Nonprofit Program.  The program helps nonprofits connect with supporters, volunteers, and donors through specialized features. 

TIP: If you’re just getting started, check out Classy’s YouTube Cheat Sheet for Nonprofits

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