If you’ve never used the online design platform Canva, then you need to change that—starting today!

Canva is truly a gift for nonprofit organizations. Through my work with a membership-based capacity-building nonprofit, I’m able to spread the word of Canva’s wonderful features far and wide. But that just isn’t cutting it—I thought I would spread the word to you, too!

Let me be honest: I once thought that the creative gene had decided to pass me over. I could appreciate great graphic design, but every time I tried to create a work of my own, I was sadly disappointed. However, when I was hired on with my current employer, “marketer” was added to my job description (hence, I now enjoy referring to myself as an “accidental marketer”). If you work in a nonprofit organization, I’m sure you are familiar with the idea that we wear multiple “hats”—you may be a development professional, but you’re also the event planner and the marketing person, too. That’s just how it goes! So, I found myself in a position where it was time to be creative and produce marketing materials, even if I didn’t feel I was talented enough to do so.

When I found Canva, I found a platform that allowed me to express myself creatively – and be proud of the things I produced, too. I often tell people that they don’t need to be creative to produce beautiful marketing materials with Canva. However, while thinking about this blog post, I realized that Canva has actually provided me with a medium that allows me to finally be creative. With a free and easy to use platform, I feel confident in my ability to create attractive and effective materials.

Photo credit: Pexels

With all of this being said, you may be a professional designer and feel that this post just isn’t for you. HALT! That may not be the case. I have interacted with many professional designers and those familiar with platforms such as InDesign and Publisher—99.99999% of the time, these people have made comments like, “Wow, this is so much more intuitive than ______,” or “Golly, this sure will save me time vs. working with ____.” So, stick around, professionals, this “accidental marketer” might have some gold for you!

Without further ado, here are five reasons why you need to be using Canva:

1. Canva likes nonprofits—another reason why I love them!

Canva offers an enhanced version of their online product, “Canva for Work,” free of charge for nonprofit organizations. Canva is aware of the financial pressures within our sector and they’re giving us a break by allowing us to produce awesome collateral on a real budget.

2. Canva recognizes that teams need to work together, and that brand consistency lends legitimacy to organizations.

By using the Canva for Work account, users can set up a Brand Kit. With the Brand Kit tool, the user can identify their specific brand colors, fonts, and logos. Then, while working with teammates via Canva for Work, members can access this kit. Not only does this save time by making brand items easily accessible, it also lends itself to teamwork and consistency, which gives organizations an air of professionalism and legitimacy.

3. Canva offers free layouts for any and every occasion and need.

Looking for a Facebook cover? Canva has those. Looking for a Halloween card? Canva has those. Looking for a presentation template you can use to spice up an average PowerPoint presentation? Yep, you guessed right—Canva has it covered. Literally. Anything. You. Could. Want.

4. If design elements aren’t labeled free (which most are), then they’re $1—gosh, Canva, break the bank why don’t you!

Did you ever notice that most subscriptions and tools always have some sort of gimmick? 14 days free, then BAM! A huge charge hits your account (because, of course, they made you enter your credit card information right off the bat). Well, I have wonderful news—Canva isn’t out to scheme you out of your hard-won dollars. I have looked up, down, and all around for where they may be hiding the gimmick, and guess what, folks—I can’t find it! And trust me: I’m a naturally suspicious person. I have an eye for these things. Canva is just truly good. Ah, how refreshing!

5. As if they hadn’t already done enough with the FREE Canva for Work for Nonprofits, they also have FREE resources available to ANYONE. WHERE DID THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?

I think the Canva people may be angels. They also have resources such as color palette generator, photo editor, font combinations, design tutorials, colors, design size guide, and more!

So, if my somewhat embarrassing enthusiasm hasn’t convinced you that you need Canva in your life, then I don’t think we can be friends.

Take my advice, start designing with Canva today!

Special thank you to Canva for all of the free resources for nonprofits, and also to the National Arts Marketing Project for this opportunity to share my Canva love.

P.S. If you want to learn more about Canva and/or some other great email marketing tips, join Americans for the Arts on ArtsU on Thursday, April 26, 2018 for an “Email Marketing Makeover” session.