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Here’s a little story about how a small nonprofit got lots of free design work, just by being receptive to it.

I had been watching social media for a local nonprofit called Befrienders, which pairs isolated seniors with volunteers who commit to visiting them for an hour a week.

I could see that whoever was running Befrienders was making an effort with their Facebook posts. I sent a few encouraging messages (and a bit of unsolicited advice) for which they graciously thanked me. After donating a few bucks to one of their fundraisers I got acquainted with director, Jessica Stillman, via email, and offered to help her with graphic design if she needed it.

Jessica took me up on the offer. She sent me a copy of a newsletter/annual report that she (sole, part-time employee) had made herself (see slideshow below). I could tell that she worked hard to make it look nice, though I’d have done a few things differently to make the same product look even better. A lot of it comes down to simple tricks like

  • consistent text styles
  • margin size and alignment
  • image sizing/cropping


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anyway, these initial interactions gave me the impression that I’d enjoy working with Jessica. 1. She is gracious to strangers offering helpful advice. 2. She thanks her donors. 3. She follows up. 4. I saw the humility, energy and perseverance in her communications with me, her Facebook posts and her annual report, so I inferred that she applied this same dedication to the rest of her job, which includes screening and interviewing volunteers and senior applicants for the program, among many other things.

Done. I’m all yours. What do you need?

Jessica and the Befrienders Board of Directors were working on a “Sponsor a Match” campaign to help bring in funds so that Jessica can further spread the word about the need for volunteers, and continue screening them at a high level in order to provide the best results for the senior applicants that the nonprofit serves.

She didn’t really have any copy written. So I just dug in her website for the info to make a general brochure. It was already well written, and I liked their logo, so it was easy make a brochure.


I suggested to Jessica that instead of making a whole brochure for her Sponsor a Match program, to make a 3.5×8.5″ insert which could also be the mail-in piece. That way she doesn’t have to print a full brochure for each special audience. Every penny counts.

We created a modest match sponsor appreciation packet, which includes a thank you card, a small framed display certificate, and a window decal.


Since we now had a pretty new general brochure, I suggested making other targeted inserts that could contain compelling information for potential volunteers and senior applicants. Next, I discovered that this year is the Befrienders’ 25th Anniversary, so I suggested making some promotional items focusing solely on the anniversary.


I was able to get the entire print package printed for under $500 (not counting the anniversary balloons, pins and stickers, which aren’t yet in production).

It was a wonderful experience working with Jessica and I hope that this new suite of materials will help their program serve even more local seniors. To learn more about Befrienders of Bozeman, or to donate to this worthy cause, visit:

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