DeathtoStock_CreativeSpace1_11.45.06_AM.jpgDo you ever find yourself wishing you had more money in your center to be able to hire an amazing graphic designer so that all of your materials and graphics could have the same branding? Do you secretly know that clip art died well before Princess Diana, but you feel you have no other choice? I know that feeling. When I worked as a director of a local pregnancy center, I was fully able to use programs like Photoshop, but it meant I had to design things at home in what was supposed to be my free time. And man, the free design programs might have created materials that looked like they were from 1978, but WHO IN THE WORLD HAS TIME TO MAKE THINGS LOOK GOOD? Just get it out the door!

Well, I am here to let you know that there is a better option out there”¦ and you can access it for free.

A friend of mine told me about this website called Canva, so I started using it for some side project graphics I needed. Having zero background in graphic design, I needed something that gave me ideas rather than a blank slate for me to have to create something out of thin air. While working in Canva, I discovered an even more comprehensive and easy to use program they developed called Canva for Work. I immediately sighed a sigh of defeat because while the subscription price was minimal in comparison to hiring a graphic designer, that was still ministry money that I needed elsewhere. But then, because God is good in His amazing ways, I found a link where non-profits can apply to use it for FREE! That’s right, I said it. You too can have this program for FREE!

Many centers are already using Canva. So what makes Canva for Work different? In a demonstration by one of their designers, I discovered that you can insert your own brand colors, use your logo, and collaborate with many other team members from your center on designs. So, even if you’re not the one doing the design work at your center, you can collaborate with your staff on designs they’re working on, and even edit them. It makes communication and consistency a breeze.

From the sound of it, you’re probably wondering if Canva has paid me to “sell” this product to you. Not at all! I really get this excited about great products that make your lives easier. I’ve been in your shoes, so I have a different perspective now. The work you’re doing is important, and money shouldn’t come between you and professional looking marketing. So, now that you know there’s nothing in it for me or Care Net, how do you get started?

The first thing you need to do is watch this video so that you can see all of the awesome things you can do with this program. Do you want to create beautifully branded materials? Do you want your materials to actually match? Do you want to raise your level of professionalism without paying an arm and a leg for the graphics to be designed for you? Then do yourself a favor and watch this video.

If you decide that this is something you want to take your center to the next visual level, all you have to do is create an account on (I suggest using a general email address that can outlive your time at the center), and apply for your free nonprofit subscription to Canva for Work. In the U.S., the only documentation you will need is a copy of your 501(c)(3).

At Care Net, we are always on the lookout for programs and ideas that make your life easier while taking you to the next level. Is there something you’ve found to be helpful in saving you time and effort at your center? Share it in a comment below.

Kay_Sanford.jpgKay Sanford is Care Net’s Conference Administrator.

This post originally appeared on Care Net’s private, affiliate-access website.