Sometimes when you are starting out, in particular, it is a good idea to get experience. Although a lot of us do it later as well it’s a good idea to volunteer to do a design as a gift. This can be because we feel the need is very important or something just because we like the cause.
It can take up a lot of time, especially when a person who is the main instigator of the need for the website pushes the envelope more and more. I have only ever had one time that I was sorry I volunteered and even that time it was one of the best designs I ever did. The thing about volunteer work is that you usually have free reign as to what to do, and your imagination plus the opportunity to try various devices and ideas, is almost unlimited.
What motivated me to do it for free? I thought the motivation behind the website was a good and helpful until towards the end it came to the fore that although the persons motivation was pure greed. I am unsure to this day as to whether the original motivation was just well hidden, or it grew with the website. Either way before the end I had realized where it stood and when they pushed me to then do a few more months of SEO work for them free I declined.
The reasons behind volunteering are many and varied and usually to do with something you are very interested in. What does tend to surprise me still is the way many people think automatically if you can do something all they have to do is bring it to you and ask. Very seldom do they think of the fact that this is the way you make your living. I know of many places and organizations that come and ask and then look surprised when you say sure I will prepare a quote for you. My criteria is usually when I am motivated myself to do a job, or it excites me and I know they cannot afford it. I have also become more wary of free loaders. There is a very big difference between offering on your own and people who volunteer you.
When you are starting out the need to get examples of your work out; there is often one of the main reasons, and it is a very good one. The thing is that you need to pick and choose what you want to volunteer for. You need to promote something that really counts for the world at large rather than something that is a personally promotion for an individual. This will show both your character and your worth to society at large.
You should always have one or more freebies in your portfolio. It is actually a good idea to start working on this when you are still studying because at this time you will probably have more chances to experiment than you might have later. One of the needs of many people is the need to self promote and while the idea is good it tends to be purely selfish and that tends to show in your work.
When you volunteer it will be an on going job. You will be needed to do the SEO work and the regular updates. Mostly, with an organization it is something that others aren’t capable of doing so think carefully on how much time you are going to be able to allocate to it. This too will be seen by clients. The mere fact that you stayed around to complete and continue the job will count in your favor.