Articles by Year: 2017
We’re busy wrapping up more than gifts here at Prosper for Purpose — we’re also wrapping up the year. Our offices will be closed Christmas week so #TeamProsper can spend time with loved ones. But before we go, we want to share what we’re grateful for this year.
Our clients inspire us whether they’re transforming their communities or changing the world. They are purpose-driven people leading companies and nonprofits, consultancies and educational institutions. We choose our clients carefully and they, in turn, challenge us to bring our best each and every day.
We continued to live our motto of using ‘communications for a better world’ by helping these clients achieve social and environmental impact by building relationships that matter. In 2017, these relationships were built through strategic storytelling, branding and fundraising, mixed with social media, event management, and much, much more.
While the U.S. and the world saw some setbacks this year in terms of global sustainability and social justice, we are encouraged to be part of a rising tide of business as a force for good. We believe any setbacks are sure to be temporary as we raise our voices and increase our efforts around issues that matter.
As a two-year member of the B Corp community, Prosper is proud to be one of more than 2,300 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and more than 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to redefine success in business in terms of people, planet and profit. We at Prosper have added a fourth term: purpose.
At Prosper, we practice a servant leadership model of management because we know the best leaders are those who help others be their best. In the day-to-day, this looks a lot like friendship. Everyone has a seat at our table, everyone has a voice. We were honored to receive “Team of the Year” award at the PRSA Cleveland Rocks award banquet earlier this month. We can’t wait to see what is to come for our team in 2018.
We recently completed our annual PDPs (personal development plans). As we plan for 2018, we will be figuring out how we can best support and empower each other to meet our goals, both inside and outside of work. To us, Prosper for Purpose is not just a company, it’s a mantra.
Hi, I’m Meg! As the newest member of #TeamProsper, I’d like to officially introduce myself. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before heading to St. Louis for boarding school and college. I officially moved to Cleveland in May 2017 and I’ve been enjoying getting to know the area over the last six months.
My passion for purpose-driven business began towards the beginning of high school when I was a member of the National Leadership Council, a program that accepts 20 students each year to study and practice servant leadership both at home and on service trips. One of the most memorable experiences from the program was our service trip to Peru. We taught classes in Spanish in a rural mountain school and helped the community with building projects, including the construction of a community greenhouse.
Those few weeks in Peru completely transformed the way I saw the world and I came home convinced that I would work for nonprofits. During my freshman year at Principia College, I took a few introductory business courses and decided to blend my interests by studying the way business can have a positive impact. One of my favorite initiatives in college was founding the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where students can collaborate on projects and budding ideas with the support of faculty and educational resources.
Over the last few years, my professional experience has included social media management, communications, marketing, design, photography, and writing — all of which come into play in the agency environment. One of my favorite internships was serving as the communications manager for San Francisco-based B Corp, Bixbee, which provides a backpack full of school supplies to a student in need for every backpack they sell.
When I arrived in Cleveland, one of the first things I did was search for B Corps in the area. I was delighted to learn about Prosper for Purpose and even more thrilled to officially join the team in September 2017 as the production coordinator for brand and operations! In just a few months, I’ve had the privilege of working on several interesting projects in a variety of roles, giving me more exposure to the many facets of agency life. Most importantly, I appreciate being part of a company where our mission is at the core of everything we do.
Whether I’m planning an event, creating graphics, or covering ground across Cleveland to implement our strategies, I love knowing that each project enables our clients to maximize their positive impact. It’s so rewarding to turn creative ideas into tangible results, and I’m excited to be part of it.
Our 12 Months of Giving program allowed us the opportunity to work with three Cleveland-area nonprofits during the third quarter of 2017.
In July, we had the pleasure of assisting the Malachi House, a home that serves those who are terminally ill and provides them with a comfortable place to spend their final days. The Malachi House has a full-service kitchen, family dining room, living room, chapel, atrium, and incredible volunteers who help provide care to their residents in a comfortable and compassionate environment.
Our August pro bono client, Slavic Village, is a community located in the heart of Cleveland. Its rich history draws in people from all walks of life. People of all ages go to Slavic Village to experience all that it has to offer. From recreational activities to an abundant amount of housing opportunities and top-notch educational offerings, there’s something about Slavic Village that encourages people to stay once they’ve planted their roots.
In September, we worked with the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Since 1994, the Conservancy has been doing wonderful work to help protect our beloved national park. Through their youth programs, volunteer opportunities and more, they truly live their vision — “Connecting you to your national park. Preserving it for future generations.”
We thoroughly enjoyed supporting each of these amazing organizations. They are doing tremendous things and we can’t wait to watch them continue to make a difference.
The holiday season is upon us, which means individuals may feel encouraged to give more freely to their favorite charities. We love this generous end-of-year spirit, but we’re also committed to giving back to our local communities throughout the rest of the year. Which is one reason why we are continuing our 12 Months of Giving program in 2018.
Each month next year we will provide a Northeast Ohio nonprofit with:
- Three (3) hours of free strategic consulting on a current challenge
- Promotion through Prosper for Purpose’s website, social media accounts and various other channels
During our 2017 program, we have had the opportunity to work with some amazing organizations such as the May Dugan Center, Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Would you like to add your name to this list and prosper with us next year?
Just complete and submit this entry form to be considered for our 2018 12 Months of Giving program. Or, tell your favorite Northeast Ohio charity to apply!
It’s important to us to work with purpose-driven clients in both the business and nonprofit sectors. When our clients do well, their communities prosper. So, join us as we do well by doing good together in 2018.
Amanda Gorman, the first U.S. youth poet laureate, opened the 2017 Social Good Summit with a powerful poem that included an inspiring message: “Here, in this great gathering, we do good so that the world might be great.”
Her quote perfectly sums up the mission of the Social Good Summit, an annual event held in New York City during the United Nations General Assembly week. The summit brings global and community leaders together to create innovative solutions to world problems. Passionate activists foster vital conversations to unlock fresh ideas on how to combine new media and technology to improve the lives of people around the world.
I had the opportunity to attend the Summit this year and hear world leaders discuss the progress being made to solve pressing issues, including global warming, education, refugees, violence and healthcare. Global citizens and activists focused conversations on the advancements needed to make the world a better place by 2030. Being a social activist, I was excited to engage in such powerful conversations with passionate individuals who are making a large scale impact.
One of the most inspirational speeches I heard was from two volunteers of the Syrian White Helmets, Khaled Khatib and Mounir Mustafa. The White Helmets consists of nearly 3,000 volunteers, both men, and women, who risk their lives every day to save citizens affected by barrel bombs in the war-torn nation of Syria. The organization has lost 200 volunteers since 2013 amid rescue attempts but has saved nearly 99,000 Syrian civilians. The White Helmets released an Oscar-winning documentary on Netflix last year, which provides an inside look at the devastating reality of Syria. You can watch the moving trailer for the film on YouTube.
I also had the opportunity to meet Yulu PR Founder Melissa Orozco, who Team Prosper has been working with to promote Impact Relations, the newest sector of PR based on sharing stories to help organizations create positive social or environmental impact.
Overall, the Social Good Summit ignited a passion inside everyone who attended to follow the Global Goals to make #2030NOW. Now is the time for organizations and activists to create purpose-driven dialogue to solve international problems. Feeling inspired? Check out the recorded conversations from this year’s Summit to learn more about joining the world together.
“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Given the number of political, social and economic issues we currently face on a daily basis, the wise words of Gandhi have never seemed more pertinent. But how can we as individuals unite to make a difference on a local, national or even global level?
The International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, is observed worldwide each year on September 21 as a day of ceasefire and nonviolence. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day allows people, businesses, governments and communities to set aside differences and commit to building peace.
Join us and countless others who believe in a ‘do well by doing good’ philosophy by celebrating Peace Day tomorrow. Here are a few ideas to help you get involved:
- Take the #PeaceDayChallenge, which was launched by the United States Institute of Peace as a way to promote peace, raise awareness and inspire action. Downloadable resources, a social media toolkit, and ideas on how to get involved are available on their website.
- Watch a Peace Talk, inspirational personal stories, ideas and solutions to resolve conflict and contribute to peace.
- Join the conversation on social media. Share your story by tweeting or posting for peace. Follow #PeaceDay, #IDP2017, #ForgiveForPeace and #TogetherforPeace to read how others are making peace possible.
- Observe a minute of silence/moment of peace at noon for those fighting and/or hoping for peace.
- Make and share a ‘recipe for peace.’ International Alert features delicious recipes from around the world because sharing a meal can ‘promote understanding, introduce us to new cultures and get people talking.’
- Explore the free Peace Education Resources available to schools and individuals around the world in the six official languages of the United Nations. The resources explore issues such as intercultural cooperation, conflict resolution and bullying.
- Attend a Peace Day event. Educational conferences, workshops, marches and community gatherings are planned worldwide. Consider holding an event in your community to raise awareness about peace issues that matter most to you if no events are in your area.
- Make a donation to an organization working for peace and humanitarian efforts, such as UNICEF, Refugees International, the International Committee of the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.
We live in a time when conflict, war, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Now is the time to work together to set aside our differences. We must find practical solutions to a more peaceful world. So, tell us, how will you make peace possible?
In today’s world, everyone is a design critic. With consumers’ easy access to the corporate ear through social media comes highly accessible opportunities to improve user experiences. Plus, in the growing digital age where most people live in interfaces almost as much as their real lives, the spotlight on visual communication has expanded from the creative population to the general public.
Whether you’re frustrated with Netflix’s poor organization of movie options, enjoying the “Sort by ‘Price: Low to High’” option on a retail site, or feeling enticed by a Facebook ad for a product you didn’t know you needed, you’re (probably unknowingly) assessing graphic design.
With the rising population of design critics, it brings to mind questions like: How do we measure the strength of a design from a consumer perspective? How do trends affect our experiences? And how does the evolution of visual communication affect our opinions and experiences? It’s time to enhance our way of thinking about design criticism — to polish the lens through which we look at visual communication.
When looking at an ad from the 1920s, 50s, 70s, etc. one typically gets an immediate sense of the era from which it originated. But have you ever wondered what will be the defining visual design characteristics of this decade? What will we look back at and say “that was so 2010s?”
This question came to mind a few years ago while attending the Cincinnati Bockfest parade. A local business’s van rolled through in a branded vinyl wrap and suddenly I had an “aha!” moment. I found myself noticing their brand identity, identifying the aesthetic as a clear reflection of the current era. Although I don’t have a photo of that van to share, the images below illustrate what I believe to be some of the iconic graphic styles of this decade:
This modern design status-quo often dictates people’s opinions, but I think viewers sometimes misuse “good design” to describe what is actually trendy or current design. While various design techniques fall in and out of style over time, not all trendy designs are strong visual communication and vice versa. For example, in one of my first college design classes, we were taught that the use of drop-shadow was outdated. My peers and I misinterpreted that point as “the use of drop-shadow is poor design.” I eventually learned that although the use of this technique often appears outdated and therefore unappealing, it is not necessarily a reflection of bad visual communication. (In many cases, it can actually be used quite tastefully in a modern way, but I digress.) Even when used distastefully, if the composition communicates the message successfully, isn’t that the primary indicator of good graphic design?
So where do we draw the line between “good” and “on-trend” design? These days, the motifs I notice in modern visual communication are geometric shapes and patterns, symmetry, monoline styles, metallics, handwritten display fonts, knolling, and, of course, flat and minimalistic design. It’s easy to mistake designs with these elements as well-done, but that’s not a guarantee.
In the end, the success of a design, no matter the level of modern aesthetics, is dictated by its ability to achieve its goals. Good design may not always be on-trend and may be mistaken for bad design when in reality it is just outdated. Sometimes good design is unappealing to those immersed in mainstream trends, but draws in its target audience nonetheless. Other times, on-trend styles contribute to the quality of a design when used to strategically target a specific audience.
Think back to past eras’ aesthetics: although they look outdated, is the message clearly communicated? It is important for designers and critics alike to know the difference between “good design” and on-trend design. But it’s imperative for designers to be consistently immersed in the world of design education in order to stay sharp. It’s one thing to be well-versed on the principles of superior visual communication — it’s another to have the ability to adapt to modern aesthetics. Decent design communicates, period. Good design communicates strategically. Great design does so at a superior level.
During the second quarter of 2017, we had the pleasure of working with three amazing organizations as part of our 12 Months of Giving campaign. We are so happy that we have the opportunity to share their stories and help them work towards their goals.
Our April pro bono client, The Greater Cleveland Food Bank, began in 1973 as a clearinghouse to recover food that was being wasted. It is now the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio. Their goal is to raise awareness about food insecurity in Ohio — one in six people is food insecure and The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is looking to bridge the meal gap.
Forbes House, our May organization, is the only domestic violence shelter in Lake County, Ohio. Their non-disclosed location is an ideal place for abuse survivors in Northeast Ohio to heal from the trauma of abuse and rebuild their lives. Their mission is simple and effective — to empower individuals and families to end the cycle of abuse.
In June, we shifted our focus to the Thea Bowman Center, which started as a food bank 50 years ago. The Center serves not only as a food pantry, but also provides after school programs and summer programs aimed towards children and senior citizens. Thea Bowman, a catholic nun from Mississippi whom the Center was named after, was a leader in her community who aimed to make sure that people utilized their talents. She was a lover of all people — something the Center aims to emulate to this day.
Each of these organizations brings something wonderful and new to the table in terms of how they are assisting others. Our time with them may have been short, but we truly enjoyed learning more about each organization and helping them prosper.
Did you know one of the world’s oldest forms of communication is still widely used today? Calligraphy, the combination of visual art and communication, has roots tracing back to ancient China as early as 200 BC and has influenced many cultures’ visual communication styles.
From scrolls to social media, calligraphy’s impact on society has lasted centuries and continues to reinvent itself in modern visual communication. Why is it that while most visual communication trends fade and recycle from era to era, calligraphy’s ubiquity has never seemed to diminish? Today we take a look at the history of calligraphy to discover how this ancient form of communication has remained relevant all these years.
The origins of calligraphy date back to ancient China during the Shang dynasty when the writing was often carved on turtle shells or animal bones. Official calligraphy script was incorporated into Chinese writing in the 3rd century BC and led to the earliest form of cursive script. Ancient Chinese calligraphy styles greatly influenced Japanese and Korean calligraphy.
Islamic calligraphy can be traced back to the 6th century and is strongly tied to the Quran. The language is written from right to left and has varying styles, including Kufic, Naskh, regional and modern styles. Islamic calligraphy is written not only on paper but also on tiles, vessels, carpets and inscriptions.
In Western culture, calligraphy influenced the creation of the Greek and Latin alphabets. Christian churches perpetuated the use of calligraphy by hand-copying the Bible and other sacred texts in order to promote and spread the religion.
After the introduction of the printing press in Europe during the mid-fifteenth century, the original purposes of hand-written lettering dwindled. But contrary to other instances of obsoletion, calligraphy did not meet its end. Instead, its purpose evolved to meet new needs.
Like all fonts, hand-lettering communicates a distinct personality and voice. While designers now have a plethora of downloadable calligraphic fonts at their fingertips, authentic hand-lettering is known to be the ideal, higher quality option. This demonstrates a remaining need for calligraphic artists in a post-printing press era.
Additionally, hand-lettering videos have become a prevalent social media trend, inspiring the general population to observe and practice calligraphy for fun and to enhance personal communications. The growing popularity of “bullet journals” has also encouraged the rise of modern-day calligraphy.
Calligraphy has more than just a history — it has an evolution. This evolution, along with calligraphy’s nostalgic charm as a consistent stylistic trend, is the reason it has stayed relevant throughout time. Unlike other visual communication trends, its uses have evolved with society’s evolving needs and cultures. The question now is: What will we use it for next?
The inspiration for this blog post came from Prosper’s Vice President & COO, Jenny, who recently brought in an authentic calligraphy set from China (pictured above). The set inspired our team to learn more about the creation of calligraphy as the combination of design and writing resulting in a powerful form of communication.
Summer is officially in full swing and there’s no better time of the year to clean out your closet, basement or extra storage spaces to organize your home. Donating your gently used clothing, food, toys, and other supplies is a sustainable way to get rid of extra items without throwing them away. However, donating the right items to places where people in need will actually receive them is vital. Below is a list of ways you can make a difference when it comes to donating your items.
- Research before you donate to make sure your items will go to people in need. Check out this list of where to donate everything in your home from A-Z.
- Separate toiletry items from food items to avoid the food tasting like soap or other strongly scented products.
- Wash your clothes before donating them for a better chance that they will actually be worn. Also, be considerate of what you are donating by making sure the clothing is in decent shape.
- Find a suitable drop-off location for your donations. Some good options are Goodwill, Salvation Army, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Dress for Success, The City Mission, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, homeless shelters and churches.
- Take the time to have a conversation with the people you are donating to if you meet them. Just taking the time to hear their story will make a big difference in both of your lives.
- Forget to ask what is needed before you give, especially when it comes to donating food. Choose non-damaged packaging, non-expired food and nutritious options to give.
- Include soap, shampoo and conditioner when donating to the homeless. Switch out those items for baby wipes instead.
- Send snacks such as sticky and sweet breakfast bars since the receiver may not have access to dental care. Instead, donate snacks such as applesauce, pudding cups, trail mix and beef jerky.
- Donate to clothing bins found in gas station or store parking lots. Often times, these boxes are a scam as donations are often resold for profit instead of reaching the right people.
- Think of donating as a one-time deal. Continue to donate your gently used items by putting reminders on your calendar to keep you on track.
Donating is a great way to get rid of extra items in your house without feeling the guilt of throwing them away. Many people are in need of food, clothing and toys so it is important your donations actually reach them.