Which profession leads in pro bono commitment? Hint – it’s not lawyers.
Designers leading the way in pro bono work
Spearheaded by the major design firms worldwide, many companies are challenging their designers to devote 5% of their billable hours to pro bono projects. In addition, the firms are encouraging their employees to use their design thinking for program and product design. Some firms, such as IDEO, are sponsoring Social Impact Labs in their offices that bring entrepreneurs needing pro bono help and designers together for collaborative sessions.
A key aspect to the pro bono movement in design is the recognition throughout the profession of our social responsibility and the idea that helping nonprofits and small entrepreneurs can make a real, meaningful impact. Creative design can offer help for product and program design, promotional and marketing efforts, branding and fundraising. By applying their design and process expertise, designers can develop innovative solutions for pro bono clients with limited resources.
Some leaders in the movement are:
- AIGA, Cannon Design, frog design, IDEO and Pentagram – Most of these companies have formal pro bono programs and many select corporate pro bono projects. Cannon Design just released its yearly impact report , which promotes the firm’s belief in the power of design thinking as a way to serve and connect to our communities.
- Aspen Design Summit – Sponsored by the Winterhouse Institute and AIGA, the Aspen Design Summit, is an interdisciplinary, global workshop to design projects – that will be implemented – to solve global challenges.
- CreateAthon – An annual, 24-hour, work-around-the-clock creative blitz, sponsored by advertising agencies to provide services for nonprofits in their local area that have little or no portion of their budget dedicated to marketing.
- DesigNYC – DesigNYC connects nonprofits, community groups and city agencies in New York City that serve the public good with passionate, professional pro bono designers.