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Office Space for Fort McMurray Evacuees

Posted on May 6, 2016 by

Our hearts are broken for all of those affected by the Fort McMurray fires, and we want to offer up some help.

If you’re a small business that has been evacuated from the city and need a place to get some work done, we’re offering up some of our space. We have two offices and a boardroom that we’re willing to provide free of charge until the end of July.

The offices are furnished with a desk and chair, and the boardroom has a table and a few chairs. You’ll also have access to Wi-Fi and a few other supplies to help you get your business done during these very hard times.

To learn more or start setting up with us, please send an email that includes your contact information and what you are looking for to info@zagcreative.ca.

| May 5 | News
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5 Tips to Taking Better Photos

Posted on April 21, 2016 by

We’re taking more pictures than ever. We have the ability to take countless photos and we have multiple platforms to share them on. As a photographer, I’ve developed my own list of tips to help create more engaging photos for every type of camera. Get out there, and get that killer shot. You might even gain a few “likes” in the process.

  1. Take fewer photos at once

It’s easy to fall into the temptation of snapping a million photos per second to sort through them afterwards and hope that one turned out. Resist. Instead, assess the situation and take a few moments to plan the photo before you even pull out your phone or camera. Once you start shooting, take your time. It’s about quality over quantity.

  1. Move around

After you’ve taken the initial photo you were inspired to get, try again. But this time, move around. The first framing of your subject might be good, but push yourself a little further and you might get something great. The best way to do this is to literally move your feet and walk to a new perspective.

  1. It’s all about the light

Photography is really all about capturing light. Train yourself to see more than just the thing you’re taking the photo of. It’s just as important, if not more important, to see the light around or on the subject of your photo. Generally, the more interesting the lighting in a shot, the more interesting the whole photo will be.

  1. Think differently

Often in photography, your initial idea with a photo has been done before, and done often. Take a moment to really try to see the scene differently. Get into the motivation of the photo and try to show your audience an emotion. If your viewer feels something when they look at your photo, you’re doing something right.

  1. Do your own thing

As with lots of things, rules are meant to be broken. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes and develop your own style. Figure out what you like and make it better. Just keep experimenting and let your photos show your personality.

| April 4 | Design
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Change isn’t the enemy.

Posted on April 15, 2016 by

They say that change is good, but let’s be honest with one another, it can also be downright terrifying. Change usually means you’re taking a risk. It means the outcome isn’t predictable. And it means you’re about to lose a little bit of control.

I’m a new girl in Edmonton. Actually, I’m a new girl to Canada. I hail from the land of the red, white, and blue. Marrying the love of my life brought me to Edmonton, but that decision also meant leaving my family, my friends, the familiar surroundings that I adored, and the place that I called home. So with that I pulled up my socks and took the biggest leap of faith my life has ever seen. And you know what? It’s turning out better than I ever could have imagined. I have an amazing job, a growing network of friends, my guest bedrooms are always full with visitors, and slowly but surely, it’s all starting to migrate towards a feeling of home.

I’ve learned many lessons along the way: of independence, of intuition, and of resiliency. But what I’ve really learned is how to be fearless, and you need a little bit of that in the advertising world. We’re constantly encouraging our clients to try new things, to break the mold, and to move away from the expected. So here’s my takeaway. I encourage everyone to see the reward beyond the risk, to be a little bold, and to be willing to be okay with the unknown. More than anything, I urge you to see opportunity through fear.

Because sometimes fearless means having fears and having doubts, but living in spite of those things by simply allowing them to build new beginnings.

5 Tips to Make Your Space More Creative

Posted on March 31, 2016 by

In my experience, by the time you look around and realize that your space may be hindering your creativity, the problem has probably been going on for a while. Everyone is different, but these 5 tips help me set up and maintain a space that helps me think and work creatively.

  1. Get a Plant

At home, I like to have small, low maintenance plants in corners and empty spaces. Being around something green and living helps me feel awake, and it helps me keep up my energy all day. If your desk or workspace doesn’t get enough light for a real plant, consider a nice photo of a plant of an earthy screensaver instead.

  1. Limit the Clutter

Sometimes a little clutter is unavoidable, but if you can keep it contained to files, folders, or a dedicated drawer, I find it’s easier to keep the rest of your space neat and open.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Eat

Working where I eat and eating where I work makes it hard for me to focus on one thing, especially when smells linger. Nothing gets me down creatively like the smell of stale Pad Thai.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Sleep

Working in my bedroom or bed makes me so sleepy, and it’s hard to get going when everything around me reminds me of naps and rest.

  1. Keep Personal Items On Display

Looking at things I like helps me to think about things I like and keeps my mood up. Making my space familiar and comfortable is really important for me to be as creative as I can be.

If you’re like me, your space has a lot to do with how you feel and how you think. I hope these tips help you create a space where you can think and work smarter.

Extra Tip: Lovely little plants like the one pictured with this post are available at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market!

10 Free and Discount Nonprofit Marketing Tools

Posted on March 24, 2016 by

I’ve been involved in marketing nonprofit organizations for over 10 years, currently serving as Vice President on a nonprofit board. The challenge I always face is how to reach the largest audience with a limited budget. Luckily there are many marketing solutions from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and LinkedIn available for free or at discounted rates to charities and non-profit organizations. I’ve tried all of these solutions, and they have made a significant contribution towards the growth of the organizations I have worked with, while saving thousands of dollars in marketing and communication costs.

Taking advantage of these nine solutions can expose your organization to new audiences and generate more donations.

 

Google Ad Grants

The #1 most effective free nonprofit marketing solution available is Google Ad Grants, available through the Google For Nonprofits program.

The program offers $10,000 USD per month of in-kind advertising in Google AdWords; these are the ads that appear on the top of any Google search result.

These ads are displayed through an ad action, with all advertisers bidding the maximum they are willing to spend for every click on their ads. The Google Grant bid is capped at $2 USD making it difficult to compete with some paid advertisers and utilize the full budget available. To maximize the budget and get the full value of the program, the AdWords account should be set up utilizing all best practices including ad extensions. Nevertheless, the grant provides an incredible value. We recently set up this program for one of our clients at zag creative and saw some phenomenal results. The client received over 50,000 ad impressions leading to over 3,000 clicks at a value of over $2,000 Canadian in only one month.

If you need help applying, setting up or managing a Google Ad Grant, get in touch with us at zag creative, we’d be happy to help.

Visit Google Ad Grants for more information.

 

 YouTube Nonprofit Program

YouTube is another product offered with the Google for Nonprofits program. The main benefit offered by this feature is the ability to add call-to-action overlays on your videos. This can help you generate more visits to your website from a video. You can also add cards to your video to generate donations or link anywhere to a website.

Visit YouTube Nonprofit for more information.

 

Google Apps for Nonprofits

I always recommend that organizations, regardless of size, use a branded email address that matches your website (ex: name@yourdomain.com). This is an easy way to give your organization a more professional image.

Creating a custom Gmail address through Google Apps for Business will cost you about $5 per user per month. Fortunately, Google offers non-profit organizations unlimited email accounts, with 30GB of storage per account for free. In addition, you’ll get access to Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Calendar, Google Groups, and video conference calls for up to 15 participants.

Visit Google Apps for more information.

 

Office 365 Nonprofit

Office 365 is another email option and the largest competitor to Google Apps for Business. They also offer unlimited users but with 50 GB of storage. Office 365 has several advantages over Google Apps, such as shared contact groups, shared inboxes, meeting rooms, online versions of Microsoft Office, and a SharePoint intranet. The main disadvantage is that the webmail user interface is not as intuitive as Gmail.

If you need help deciding which email system will be best for your non-profit or assistance in setting it up, zag creative is happy to help.

Visit Office 365 Nonprofit for more information.

 

TechSoup Canada

To signup for Google Nonprofits, you’ll need to be registered for TechSoup Canada, a nonprofit that partners with top software companies to provide free software licenses to nonprofit organizations.

In addition to qualifying organizations for Google Nonprofits, TechSoup offers donated software from leading companies such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Intuit QuickBooks, Sage 50 (Formerly Simply Accounting), as well as software specifically designed for nonprofits such as Sumac Contact Relationship Management.

Visit TechSoup Canada for more information.

 

Vistaprint Non Profits

Printing your marketing material can be another expensive need for any nonprofit. Vistaprint is an online printing company that fast and reasonably priced printing. Before you place your order, reach out to their customer support and they will likely offer you a discount such as 33% off + free economy shipping on paid orders.

Visit Vistaprint for more information.

 

MailChimp and Constant Contact for Nonprofits

Keeping in touch with your supporters is vital in managing a nonprofit organization. One of the easiest and cost effective ways to do this is through an e-newsletter. Two of the leading providers of e-newsletters are MailChimp and Constant Contact. MailChimp claims that over 200,000 nonprofits are already using Mailchimp and offers a 15% discount. Constant Contact offers a 20% discount with pre-paying for 6 months and a 30% discount when pre-paying for a 12 month subscription.

Not sure which platform is best for your organization? zag creative can help you decide as well as with setup and template design.

Visit MailChimp or Constant Contact for more information.

 

LinkedIn for Nonprofits

LinkedIn offers resources on how nonprofits can leverage the professional capabilities of the platform, as well as discounts for job postings.

If you’re searching for skilled volunteers and board members for you nonprofit, LinkedIn offers 90% off a 30-day job post. The website claims that over 10 million members have shown interest to volunteer or serve on a board through LinkedIn.

If you’re hiring a paid position, LinkedIn offer 50% off a job post, which regularly costs over $200. LinkedIn job posts can be an effective hiring method by reaching over 400 million professionals worldwide.

Visit LinkedIn for Nonprofits for more information.

 

Facebook for Nonprofit

Unfortunately Facebook does not currently provide any in-kind advertising or exclusive features for nonprofits.

Facebook, however, does offer specific advice and resources on how nonprofits can benefit from using Facebook on their Facebook for Nonprofits website. They also have a “Donate” call to action for Facebook pages with a nonprofit category.

Facebook is currently testing, with select charities in the US, the ability to donate right within Facebook. You can check this feature out by clicking on the Donate button on the World Wildlife Fund’s Facebook Page. We’re hoping that this expands to more charities and countries in the near future.

Visit Facebook for Nonprofit for more information.

Canva for Nonprofits

We have used Canva for several of our clients and its a great low-cost and easy to use platform for web and social media graphics. Canva supports nonprofits by providing free access to “Canva for Work”, their premium model, to all eligible nonprofit organizations.

Visit Canva for Nonprofits for more information.

Using these 10 marketing tools, your nonprofit can significantly increase its reach and save money at the same time. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or need any help with your nonprofit.