While as a freelancer there may have been times when you’ve wanted to tear your hair out, for the most part, it’s pretty great. You have the freedom to work wherever you want and the flexibility to create a schedule based on your preferences. Plus you have the opportunity to work on projects that are engaging, innovative, and meaningful.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you can show your love and gratitude for all the good that’s in your professional life by giving back. Here are some ways you can show your appreciation to your clients and the community at large:

Volunteer
If you’ve always wanted to give back to the community, you can offer your services to a local non-profit. Sites to look for volunteering opportunities include Open to HopeVolunteerMatch and Idealist.org. You can also participate in a local time bank, where you can exchange goods and services sans money. You’ll get a feelgood high and meet like-minded folks.

By helping others through a non-profit, you can spend time doing something you might get to do in your professional life. For instance, you get to work with animals if you love four-legged creatures and don’t own any pets, or help with a beach cleanup effort if you love being at the ocean.

Volunteering at a non-profit can also boost or expand your existing skills. For instance, if you want to improve your photography skills, a non-profit might be open to you working with their marketing department and train with a more seasoned photographer. Or let’s say you want to improve your public speaking prowess or have been hard at work on an ecourse. Your volunteership could potentially serve as a testing grounds before you launch your new product or service. It would also be a great way to get feedback on what works and doesn’t, and make adjustments before you put it out in the market.

Support your clients’ charitable efforts
If one of your clients is organizing a fundraising drive or involved in a worthy cause, show your support by making a donation or volunteering a few hours. It could also be a great way to build rapport with your client after hours and in turn strengthen your working relationship. 

Offer a bulk rate or free add-on
If a new client needs a certain number of articles or photographs retouched in a given month, you can offer a bulk discounted rate. Or you could throw in a set of tweets on top of generating posts for a set period of time. Of course, this is totally at your discretion. Some freelancers would frown upon offering a discounted rate for a set number of articles or graphics.

On the other hand, if offering a special rate would help secure stable work and ensure a more steady income, it could work to your benefit. It really depends on your personal situation and what you’re comfortable doing.

Donate to a local charity
If you’re having a killer month income-wise, consider making a donation to a charity. Create a pact with yourself that you will give X amount if you hit Y in income. It’s a great opportunity to pick charities that are important to you. On top of that, donating to a charity could help your finances

You can also find clever ways to tie in your donations with your personal brand. For example, if you have a website, consider donating funds to a meaningful cause if you hit a certain number of likes on one of your site’s social media feeds. To increase engagement, have your followers vote on a charity.

Showing your love as a freelancer doesn’t have to be cheesy or hard. It’s as easy as finding creative ways giving back in your professional life and to the community. Besides improving the lives of those around you, it can also offer you new avenues to grow professionally as well.

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