What kinds of organizations can apply for design services?
We seek 501(c)(3)s, organizations that receive fiscal sponsorship from another 501(c)(3), or city agencies that are creating solutions that improve the lives of New Yorkers around the theme of RECHARGING COMMUNITIES. We are looking for projects that connect communities, strengthen their social fabric and improve neighborhoods.
What kind of designers can donate design services?
We seek multidisciplinary designers, located in NYC, that are prepared to make a formal commitment to the nonprofit and the overall quality and timely delivery of the work. We encourage a participatory design process that involves the community being served in co-designing the solution and the integration of sustainable design principles and practices wherever possible.
What is pro bono design service?
The definition of pro bono is “professional expertise made accessible to organizations serving the public good.” Pro bono services must leverage the core competencies and expertise of the professional(s) engaged to meet the client’s need. These services are typically provided without the expectation of a fee.
What are the benefits of pro bono? Does pro bono devalue design?
Far from it. We believe that by providing pro bono service, designers are helping to demonstrate the value of design that will help the profession overall. Our design partners from the pilot program described a myriad of benefits to participating in desigNYC:
• Provided opportunity to design solutions around issues I care about
• Bolstered our portfolio to help us get new work
• Increased firm recognition / reputation through PR
• Improved the lives of New Yorkers
• Increased employee engagement / energized the office
• Expanded our network / yielded new strategic connections
• Got new work through a desigNYC connection
• Caught the doing well by doing good bug
How are projects and design partners selected / matched?
Each year, we invite nonprofits to submit project ideas that are then judged by a panel of experts across several criteria including how well the projects fit with our mission and focus, the manageability of the scope, the organizational capacity of the client team, the opportunities to co-design with the community being served and the overall impact and newsworthiness. Once we shortlist select projects, our community of expert judges recommend optimal matches from a pool of designers that have offered to donate pro bono service to desigNYC projects. To help ensure successful collaborations, we hold a training summit that brings together all proposed partners to meet in person to discuss roles, expectations, best practices and process recommendations. We also
produce a guidelines document to guide the collaborations. Pro bono lawyers have also created sample agreements for both graphic/web design consulting services as well as architectural/interior design consulting services.
What services does desigNYC provide?
Beyond connecting nonprofits and designers in symbiotic ways, we assign a desigNYC advisor to each project to build consensus
around scope, schedule and deliverables and offer guidance or conflict resolution along the way as needed. We also:
• Provide guidelines, best practices, tools and resources to facilitate collaborations;
• Coordinate community-building and networking events; and
• Advocate and promote collaborations to amplify their impact (through the web, social media, public relations, events, exhibits, publications, multimedia and other storytelling platforms).
Does desigNYC provide project management services?
The designer and nonprofit partners are responsible for coming to an agreement regarding scope and schedule and managing their respective projects. We provide a desigNYC advisor to every project team who is there to help teams develop shared expectations and can then answer any questions during the design process. desigNYC provides guidelines and sample agreements to support project management activities.
Will the organization be responsible for any fees?
Designers will not receive fees for their services. Nonprofit partners should assume, however, that there would be costs involved with implementing the design solutions. The design partner is not responsible for implementing the project or sourcing in-kind donations. In many cases, the design partner can help by making connections to in-kind resources, or other people in their network that might help implement the project, but it will be on a case-by-case basis. Nonprofit partners should have an implementation strategy formulated before they submit a project idea. We consider ourselves to be a “do tank” and prefer all of our design ideas to be implemented in the world.
How can I get involved?
If you are a nonprofit who would like to submit a project idea, or a designer who would like to donate pro bono services, please make sure you are signed up for our newsletter and stay tuned to our Call for Submissions which will be announced in October 2011. If you have other skills or expertise that you would like to donate to desigNYC, please email info (at) desigNYC.org.