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 (

Coping through Grief during the Holidays

Guest Author: Suzy Yehl Marta, president and founder of Rainbows For All Children (

Forget Normal Rockwell.  In many of today’s families there will be an empty chair at the holiday table. Dad – or Mom – is fighting in Iraq. A sibling was killed in a car crash. A favorite aunt and uncle recently divorced. Grandmother is in a nursing home.  Holidays can be a challenging time for grieving families, especially for children. What is meant to be a cheerful time for most is the hardest for those missing a loved one. Traditions and memories are hard to forget and joy can be hard to remember. Here are a few tips on how to help your children cope through their grief during the holidays.

  • Plan the holiday celebration – don’t just let it happen. Sometimes “no shows” might occur by loved ones who are not ready to face the pain.
  • Identify the difficult moments in the upcoming season. Before the family gathers, establish ground rules that prohibit certain actions such as taking sides or verbal bashing of any family members.
  • Be conscious of your feelings. Often times, it is difficult for a child to express his or her feelings right away. Share what you’re feeling with them and establish a safety net for open communication.
  • Be realistic about your capabilities. Explain your choices and actions to your children. They might not completely accept every decision you make, but they will understand.
  • Accept your limitations. A parent also needs time to grieve and holidays will bring back painful memories.
  • Trim down to essentials – build in flexibility. The time you spend on activities with your children will outweigh any present that they receive.
  • As a family, discuss old and new traditions – make some changes. Healthy families change. New traditions rekindle a sense of commitment.
  • Acknowledge your loss – talk to family and friends. Take time to talk about the person who is absent. Ask the children how they feel, listen to what they say, encourage positive reminiscences.
  • Live in the moment. Be grateful for the family that you do have and are able to spend the holiday with. Life is unexpected, so don’t worry about the future and do your best to control what you can.

Rainbows for all Children is a Chicagoland-born and based international non-profit providing services to children and parents experiencing grief.  Be sure to check out their profile on our 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.