Do Good

Do Good

Do Good

Most large corporations have a Community Relations or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department, which focuses on giving back to the communities where they do business, where their employees live and where their customers are. According to a Time Magazine article, in 2002 only about a dozen Fortune 500 companies issued a CSR or sustainability report. Now the majority does. 

Some companies are B Corps–they have faced rigorous scrutiny to demonstrate their commitment to community, environment and people.  There are currently 2,003 B Corporations in 50 countries, in more than 130 Industries.  At the entrepreneurial level, some smaller, niche companies are experimenting with CSR as a mission of the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits. B Corps, as they are known — the “B” stands for beneficial — are a new kind of business entity that by law are required to generate social and environmental advantages. (Time Magazine 2012)

And some companies just Do Good, because no matter what you call it, it’s the right thing to do.

Shift Collaborative is not prescriptive in our approach to giving

As Shift partner Sarah Mayer wrote in her blog, “doing good is an individual and personal thing. To ask that the entire [Shift Collaborative] team to support one charity, or do one good thing together, feels prescriptive.”shift-off-site

To put a greater focus – not just on the organizations we work with, and not just on the organizations the staff volunteer for, but with organizations that have meaning to us and an impact on our lives – Shift Collaborative created Do Good.

Do Good was born out of an off-site staff retreat where the team reflected on 2016 and planned for 2017. Each staff member wrote down the names of their three favorite nonprofit organizations on separate pieces of paper and dropped them into the proverbial hat (in this case it was a tote bag). We drew 12 organizations from that hat.  Don’t worry, we saved the others.

Our goal for 2017 is to highlight one organization each month.  The nonprofit ambassador (aka the staffer who submitted the name) will lead the rest of the staff in a lunch & learn to share some knowledge and personal experience or passion for the organization.  As a team, we will create and share posts on our social media to highlight the work of the organization.  In some cases, there may be a volunteer opportunity or a donation of items for the organization.  All of this is to recognize do gooders in our local, national and global community. It’s our way of lifting up the work of others.

Dr Jim Withers

Our spotlight organization for January is Operation Safety Net.  We are inspired by Dr. Jim Withers and his words echo how we feel about our Do Good initiative.

“Never underestimate the power of people.”

“It’s about human connection.”

“We are all in this together.”

If anything would “go viral,” we hope it is this idea of spreading good news.  We will share our stories and the stories of the organizations and hope that you will help us.

This is who we are.  This is Shift, Doing Good.

Here is our Do Good list for 2017

Jan – Operation Safety Net

Feb – Operation Better Block

Mar – ACLU

Apr – Sojourner House

May – The Trevor Project

Jun – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Jul – New Voices Pittsburgh

Aug – The Innocence Project

Sep – Please Live

Oct – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Nov – St. Vincent DePaul

Dec – The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh


Be Creative Every Day: Tips From the Non-Creative

Be Creative Every Day: Tips From the Non-Creative


Creative: Having the quality or power of creating. Resulting from originality of thought, expression. (

As you can imagine, a creative agency like Shift Collaborative is full of creative professionals. I am not one of them. Not in the traditional sense. I can’t draw a stick figure. I don’t sketch or doodle during conference calls. I make lists.

I’m a people person, a project manager. I work with colleagues to keep projects on task and to translate the work to the client. I love to brainstorm ideas and work as a team.

But I spend a lot of time working on spreadsheets and documents. I’m not complaining, but last year I felt like I needed my own creative outlet. So I started taking a photography class in October 2015. I already owned a “good” camera but didn’t know how to use all the features, and a 101 class was the perfect place to start.

At that same time, the Adult Coloring Book phenomenon was growing, and I added a coloring book and pencils to my Christmas wish list.

The Art Before Breakfast book opens with the following:

You are about to discover that

  1. Making art will make you saner and happier
  2. You don’t need to think you have “talent” to make beautiful art
  3. Art making can fit into the craziest, busiest, most hectic and out-of-control lives – even yours.

Cover of Art Before Breakfast

And then, Shift partner Cynthia Closkey gave me the book Art Before Breakfast.

Was this all a coincidence? Were the stars aligning? I was definitely getting the message: Be creative every day.

I kicked off 2016 with a resolution to be creative every day! Some days that meant taking photos, and other days – especially those cold, gray days when the sun goes down at 4pm – it meant coloring.

I started with my new coloring book and the first few times I sat down and put Crayola Colored Pencil to paper, I wanted to hurry through the image and get it done as fast as I can. But that’s not how it works. I learned to turn on some music and take my time, selecting colors and working through the image.

I then turned to a Page-A-Day calendar. On most days I spend 10-20 minutes coloring a picture. Mine are very symmetrical. (I can’t help myself.) Some days, I don’t finish the image. And I’ve learned, that’s okay.

Crayola colored pencils and coloring paperIn a December 2015, Huffington Post shared a blog post from James Clear, who writes about the health benefits of creativity writing.

In our always-on, always-connected world of television, social media, and on-demand everything, it can be stupidly easy to spend your entire day consuming information and simply responding to all of the inputs that bombard your life. Art offers an outlet and a release from all of that. Take a minute to ignore all of the incoming signals and create an outgoing one instead. Produce something. Express yourself in some way. As long as you contribute rather than consume, anything you do can be a work of art.

At Shift, we encourage all our clients to be creative. In our exerciseSHIFT kickoff meetings, drawing and doodling provide a physical and mental break from whatever everyone has been doing prior to the start of the meeting.

You have certainly heard of left brain versus right brain thinking. It has long been thought that left brain thinkers have strong math and analytical skills, and the right brain thinkers have more creative characteristics.

I say use your whole brain!

I’ve continued my photography education, and I was excited to hear my instructor tell me that she can see my personal style evolving and emerging.

Some of the instruction given in the latest photography class, which focused on composing an image, reminds me of how we can be creative every day. Maybe you’ll find it helps you too.

  • Be mindful of the background
  • Avoid distractions
  • Add some depth
  • Keep the clutter out
  • Simplify
  • Change your perspective