Why did AIGA set the standard for design firms to do 5% of their work pro bono when significantly better-compensated law firms and management consulting firms do half that amount?The most creative and talented people work because they love their craft and, secondarily, to pay the rent. They love to use their talents where they have the greatest impact and are most appreciated–as well as when they are stretched beyond their comfort zone.
The best design firms understand this and know that to engage the top talent, they need to allow them projects that stretch and fulfill them as craftspeople. Pro bono projects are often the best opportunities and become the highlights of a designer’s career.
Increasing employee engagement through pro bono work
This is more intuitive for design firms, but the same principle holds true of the best talent in every profession. Consulting, accounting, tech, law and other professional services firms that embrace pro bono work like the design community to send the message that they respect and honor their employees as talented craftspeople will see much higher engagement and inspired work product.
Aaron Hurst is the President & CEO at Taproot Foundation.