Meet Maggie Casas, a digital marketing and communication strategist on a mission to help purpose-driven organisations tell their story, build a strong connection with their audience and drive positive change.
In this interview, she talks about her freelancing journey and motivation to focus on purpose-driven organisations, Effective Altruism, overcoming challenges and her future plans.
Photo courtesy of Maggie Casas
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey into freelancing, and what motivated you to focus your career on supporting purpose-driven organisations?
I come from the Dominican Republic and I have over a decade of experience in marketing and communications, mainly within international for-profit organisations with a social mission.
In 2023, after a job loss due to layoffs, I took a moment to reflect on my career.
Realising how important it is for me to align my work with a sense of purpose, I shifted my focus to supporting EA-aligned organisations. Freelancing wasn’t initially part of the plan; it found me during a volunteering stint at Sinergia Animal, an international animal protection organisation working in countries of the Global South to reduce the suffering of farmed animals. Impressed with my contributions to the automated marketing campaigns project I was helping them with, they offered me a freelancing opportunity to shape the content strategy of their new website. This experience opened doors, leading to subsequent freelancing projects with various organisations.
Freelancing offers me the chance to work on a variety of projects, collaborate with different teams, and contribute to organisations making a positive impact. The flexibility, both in terms of project variety and work location, aligns with my desire for autonomy and a dynamic work environment.
It’s immensely satisfying to use my skills to contribute to causes that resonate with my values. For me, freelancing is an ideal platform to make a meaningful impact.
Q: How would you explain the concept of Effective Altruism (EA) to someone unfamiliar with it? How does this philosophy influence your approach to freelancing?
Effective Altruism, in essence, is about empathy and evidence-based decision-making. If it were a person, imagine someone deeply committed to positively impacting as many lives as possible. This person rigorously researches and tests different approaches to find the most effective ways to achieve that goal.
In my freelancing work, Effective Altruism shapes my approach in two key ways. Firstly, it influences the strategies I develop for organisations, making sure that the ‘why’ behind their initiatives is crystal clear. Whether it’s convincing potential donors or stakeholders, the focus is always on showcasing the most effective and impactful aspects of their work.
Secondly, considering the often limited budgets of EA-oriented organisations, I prioritise my time and efforts. Every project becomes an exercise in identifying and focusing on the elements that generate the most impact. It’s a balancing act that aligns with the philosophy of making the most significant positive difference within resource constraints.
Q: Of all the freelancing projects you’ve taken on so far, is there one that you are particularly proud of?
One project that stands out for me is my collaboration with the Profit For Good Initiative. When I joined, they lacked established marketing strategies and operational structure. Within a few months, I facilitated the launch of a new website, established an email marketing platform with automated campaigns, crafted clear audience profiles, and implemented a structured process with guidelines for social media content creation.
What made this project particularly rewarding was the collaboration with team members who, despite not having a formal marketing background, were actively involved in marketing tasks. Sharing my expertise with them and helping improve their effectiveness added an extra layer of satisfaction. The project not only contributed to the organisation’s marketing success but also facilitated knowledge-sharing and skill development within the team.
Q: Freelancing often comes with unique challenges. Have you faced a specific challenge while working with purpose-driven organisations, and how did you overcome it?
Facing limited budgets is a common challenge, especially with early-stage organisations. I recall a specific instance when I was affected by this – an organisation I was working with fell short on fundraising goals, leading to staff layoffs and project closures to manage costs. Unfortunately, the project I was involved in took a hit, and the expected earnings were suddenly halved.
Dealing with challenges like these is part of the freelancing journey. While budget constraints and layoffs aren’t unique to purpose-driven organisations, they do underscore how unpredictable freelancing can be. I’ve learned the importance of resilience in quickly recovering from setbacks and not taking things personally. It’s crucial to stay proactive, continuously keeping an eye out for potential projects, and reaching out to my network when seeking additional work.
Q: In your experience, how can freelancers best leverage their skills and expertise to drive positive change in the world?
As a freelancer you can contribute your skills to the positive missions of multiple organisations. I have found that each project allows me to make a meaningful impact on causes that align with my values.
Additionally, freelancers often become knowledge transfer agents. What proves successful in one project for a particular organisation can be invaluable insight for another. Drawing on experiences and sharing best practices across different initiatives helps organisations implement effective strategies
Q: Are there any particular resources, whether they be books, websites, or communities, that you’ve found particularly valuable and would recommend to fellow freelancers aiming to make a positive impact through their work?
One recommendation is the book “Lean Impact”. Think of it as a practical guide, much like “The Lean Startup,” but tailored for social interventions. Having applied these principles in the for-profit sector, I found it immensely valuable to learn how they can be translated into the nonprofit world.
Another game-changer for me was attending the EA Global conference last year. The event provided an exceptional platform for networking and meeting like-minded individuals.
For those passionate about animal advocacy I highly recommend joining the Impact Animal Advocacy’s Slack community. This platform has been very valuable for me, offering opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, discover and exchange valuable resources, stay informed about upcoming events, and even explore potential work opportunities.
Q: What advice would you give to freelancers who are looking to make a positive impact with their work?
My advice to freelancers aiming to make a positive impact is simple: just get started! Identify causes or missions that resonate with you, and actively network to put yourself in front of organisations working in those areas. The work is incredibly rewarding, and taking that first step can lead to meaningful opportunities to contribute to causes that matter to you.
Q: Lastly, what are your future plans or projects? Is there a specific cause or type of organisation you’re particularly excited to collaborate with in the future?
Looking ahead, my focus is on contributing to more projects within animal advocacy and promoting a plant-based, cruelty-free lifestyle. These initiatives align closely with my passion for ethical living, and I’m excited about the opportunities they present.
Additionally, I have a strong interest in mental health advocacy, especially in reaching communities facing barriers to access due to economic or cultural factors. Collaborating with organisations addressing these issues is a direction I would like to explore in the future.