Rather than make a bunch of empty resolutions this New Year, I made a list of what I was not going to do as a designer (see 14 anti-New Years Resolutions from a Web Designer).¬† After thinking through the first month of my design blog, I was challenged by a desire to make a difference in 2010.¬† That’s why I’m calling 2010 A Year of Giving.

I owe much of my success in the launch of my blog to the generous giving of those both near and far.¬† Family and friends encouraged me as I published my first few articles.¬† But it was also the help and gifts from complete strangers that gave me an extra boost of encouragement.¬† Matt, a designer/blogger who runs Echo Enduring Blog, helped get me off the ground and continues to give me advice and support even though we’ve never met.¬† Li, the designer behind Loveli Designs was my first contributor to the site (see her article on Typography in Art), even while her site sat unfinished.¬† There are countless others who have been so kind and generous with gifts, both tangible and intangible. Now I want to Pay it Forward and give back in 2010.

Ways to Make 2010 a Year of Giving:

Here are some ways that you can give back as a designer/blogger in 2010:

Give of Your Talents

We spend countless hours developing and expanding our skill set.¬† Why not use what we’ve developed to help someone who’s not paying our bills.¬† There is probably someone who comes to mind that could really use your services but may not be able to afford your fees.¬† Make it a goal to help at least one person completely without payment.¬† If you can help more, that’s great. I promise it will be worth more and will be more enjoyable than working for another pay-and-complain client.

Give of Your Money

Design (and even blogging) can be quite lucrative. Even with the economic downturn, there are many designers that I know who made more than enough in 2009.¬† Why not take just a little of that extra cash and put it to those in need. I know, I know–what about the starving artists? Well there are also starving children who would never even dream of having a computer to even read this article.¬† Pick out a charity or cause that is close to your heart.¬† Paul Boag mentions some great causes in his recent post: Are we changing the world?. Give a little that can go a long way.

Give Support and Advice

The thing I’ve come to love most about the design community is the openness and general willingness to offer advice. Make sure that you are contributing to this general well-being.¬† Write an article about design. Share your words of encouragement with fellow designers.¬† Display your art to inspire others. These actions can spur on great designs and will only help to strengthen the good name that has been granted to designers in general. If you need an outlet to share with the world, feel free to contribute right here on Visual Swirl.

What Do I Have to Give?

In 2010 I’ve already decided to design one website pro bono and I hope to be able to do more of that as the year progresses. I will continue to look for places to give financially because while I do not consider myself wealthy, I am blessed by on what I need. I’m also going to give back to the design community through writing, design, and encouragement, both on this blog and more importantly on others.¬† Finally, I will start the year with a simple giveaway to those who have faithfully read this post…

A Simple Giveaway

I’m giving away a couple things that I’ve been given. Consider it a Pay-It-Forward Giveaway:

-A one year subscription to Pingdom, a service that monitors the uptime and response time on your website and server (approx $120 value)

-5 invites to Google Wave

There are 2 ways to win:

1) Leave a comment below with one way that you will make 2010 a year for giving.

2)Follow us on twitter @visualswirl and tweet the following message:

I’m Making 2010 a #Year4Giving. RT @visualswirl Make 2010 a Year for Giving (Giveaway Included) http://bit.ly/5X3E4V

Comment and Tweet to double your chances of winning. Entries will be accepted until Thursday, January 7th at 10:00am EST. A random drawing will determine the winners which will be posted on this blog and notified either via email or DM on twitter.

How will You Make 2010 a Year for Giving?

Let me here what difference you can make.

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