Creative Go-Round: An All Win Program

A common problem nonprofit agencies face is their inability to reach their target audiences.  While often innovative in their development of and devotion to their mission and values, they often simply lack the resources and manpower to mobilize the correct kind of communicative campaign.  Because nonprofits tend to rely heavily on support from community members and donors, the importance of effectively reaching out to them is of even greater importance.


The brainchild of Executive Director Christopher Gerke, Creative Go-Round (CGR) is a nonprofit design firm working to help other nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area.  Located on the Chicago River just north of downtown, CGR offers industry-standard technology and facilities that enable our creative team with the tools and space to ideate, create and produce deliverables for our clients. For more than four years, our designers have come in from local design schools to create social change within their community and gain valuable knowledge, skills and experience.


Currently, CGR is accepting applications for new nonprofit clients that are in need of design and/or communications services. These new nonprofit clients will receive the benefits of a fully functional design firm without the high cost of other for-profit firms.


CGR is accepting new client interviews June 10-21 on a first come, first served basis. Meetings are set up in two-hour blocks, and will be conducted at the CGR office. This will be the last interview session held until fall, and all communication and design work will be completed during the summer and fall terms.


Whether you are a nonprofit looking for services, or if you know of a great organization that could benefit from CGR’s design studio, please spread the word about this outstanding nonprofit firm. Nonprofit clients interested in design services can apply on the CGR website (

Reinvent Yourself with the Grant for Good

Firebelly Design is teaming up with other media organizations in Chicago to offer a full-scale, bottom to top marketing reinvention for nonprofits called the Grant for Good.  Whether your nonprofit is in need of a full makeover or has finally reached the point where you’re ready for an all out, professional marketing strategy; take note!  The Grant for Good will provide operational and product support including strategy and development consulting, web design, photography, event planning, and social media strategies.

Why is marketing important to nonprofits?  It supports everything a nonprofit does.  Marketing helps raise awareness of whatever issues you address, helps recruit and engage volunteers, donors, board members, and employees; and creates a reputation for your organization.   Even if you don’t think you’re in a position to create a marketing divison, creating a strategy through the Grant for Good can be the foundation for building a consistent and effect marketing plan ready for growth when you are.

What is a marketing strategy and organizational development really about?  Through the Grant for Good, a team of media and consulting experts will help you set out a plan for executing a sustainable marketing strategy.  This includes both building your organization’s capacity and clarifying your audience, message, mediums, and material to carry out your strategy.   According to Shannon Downey with Pivotal Production who spoke from the Grant for Good team, “One of the benefits of the grant is that not only do they receive the services, but they also learn the value and gain insight into how to continue this into the future. The Grant for Good is intended to be a long term sustainable opportunity, not just a short fix.”

What would you ultimately get out of this?  It depends on what you need.  Mrs. Downey continued, “This could be everything from board member retention and fundraising to brand message and marketing strategy. We believe they are all linked and inform each other. This is why we have created such a dynamic team of do-gooders. The organization can expect a total makeover. Copy development, photography, logo and brand identity, non-traditional marketing and social media, event production, storytelling videos, website development and an overall redesign of all of their materials in conjunction with the organizational tools they will receive.”

Who should apply? Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit within 50 miles of Chicago (some exception made) with a $100k to $1 Million budget can apply.  The best applications will be those expressing a commitment to investing in marketing and who just need help getting there.

Applications can be found on the Grant for Good website and are due on December 3rd.

Cricket Announces "Community Voices" Grant for Chicagoland Area Residents

Cricket has just launched its Chicago Community Voices grant program, open to any Chicagoland area resident. These micro-grants will empower local heroes to make a difference in their communities and demonstrate the kind of value our communities can create with just $2,000.

Who should apply? Anyone with a great idea for addressing a problem in your community. Is your child’s science textbook from the last century? Does your local food pantry need to repair its delivery van? Could you hold a workshop to educate your community about obesity and healthy lifestyles? Your great idea can happen, and you can get great grant-writing experience in the process!

Rene Parson, the Regional General Manager at Cricket and co-chiar of Cricket’s Diversity Council put it this way: “The Chicagoland area is well known for its community activism, and we’re excited to provide opportunities to residents to bring their great ideas to life through ‘Cricket Community Voices.’”

The Community Voices grant program will fund 10 projects for up to $2,000 each. And, if you don’t get it the first time, you can try again because these awards will be given out every four months!

Proposals will be judged by a stellar group of long-time community servants and activists including John Pfeiffer from the Inspiration Corporation, Suzy Yehl Marta, founder of Rainbows for All Children, Marty Castro, chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and Miss Lori of Chicago Moms Blog and Miss Lori’s CAMPUS.

You can find all of the information at The first application deadline is November 5th.

This article is the first in a series covering Cricket’s new Community Voices Grant Program.  If you want to find the others, simply click the “Cricket” Tag at the top of this post.