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Pro Bono Design Handbook for DESIGNERS a publication of Public Architecture

A resource for architecture and design firms interested in pro bono service. Š Greg Murphey

This handbook is a resource to help architecture and design firms develop the framework to incorporate pro bono design into practice. It also serves as a guide on how to find projects, either on your own or through The 1% matching process. By promoting pro bono service as a regular part of design practice, The 1% program enhances the profession’s engagement with the under-resourced communities most in need of the benefits of design. The 1% program of Public Architecture is a national platform for architecture and design firms to engage in pro bono design. The 1% website allows firms to document their pro bono contributions, gain recognition, and find new project opportunities. The matching service was added in 2007 to connect nonprofits’ facility needs with firms willing to give of their time. As of this writing in 2012, The 1% has grown from a grassroots movement to include more than 1000 firms across the U.S., delivering an estimated $40 million in pro bono services annually—a contribution that increases by the day.

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“As a firm, we see growth in communications, personal satisfaction, professional development, and networking, and our employees get a real handle on what kind of impact their skills can have in the community.” Roy Abernathy, Principal at Jova/Daniels/Busby in Atlanta, Georgia

© Courtesy Jova/Daniels/Bubsy

1 ASSESS CAPACITY + STRUCTURE

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To get started, conduct an internal assessment of the resources that your firm is able to invest in pro bono service. We obviously recommend starting with 1%. That amounts to just 20 hours per employee per year. It’s up to the firm to decide how many staff get involved, whether it makes sense for just one staff member or the entire office. Many firms find that they are able to do more than 1%, especially if they are proactive about how these services can be used it as tool to address some of the firm’s core goals.

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TAKE STOCK OF RESOURCES

Firm assessment

Stakeholder meeting Managing pro bono work doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch even if your office is just starting out. Your firm’s existing project management structure can provide the framework to organize and set expectations for pro bono projects. The management of pro bono projects should be fundamentally the same as that for paid clients, including regular invoicing. By following a few key steps, pro bono work can be integrated into your firm’s practice.

Assemble the firm principals and key decision makers to determine the firm’s goals and values, and how this will impact its commitment to pro bono work. Often times, a firm’s values will determine which project types they pursue. For example, Anne Fougeron’s personal interest in the women’s health led to a 20-plus year pro bono partnership between Fougeron Architecture and Bay Area Planned Parenthood.

Areas to grow Pro bono work offers an opportunity to explore a heretoforeunexplored sector of your profession. Firms with expertise in highend residential can branch out into daycare facilities or build an emergency shelter at a local park. Outside of the constraints of traditional practice, there can be both the opportunity for greater creative freedom and new project types.

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Once you assess your firm’s resources, determine how your firm will structure its pro bono work. Having an organizational strategy to manage the load of pro bono projects will increase the likelihood of good outcomes and limit budget overruns.

Tracking Firms often confess that they don’t account for their pro bono hours. Tracking your pro bono project hours will help you manage your investment and communicate the value of your service to your client.

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PRO BONO PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Invoicing Regular distribution of invoices—even if they reflect a zero balance—allows the firm and the client to have a mutual understanding of the value of services delivered.

Liability Liability exposure is primarily the same for pro bono work as for paid work. There are contractual provisions that can help you manage the limits of your exposure that are appropriate for pro bono clients. We recommend that you consult your legal council to determine the best agreement for you and your client.

Contracts A contract allows both sides to clearly express and understand expectations for the project, and can benefit the partnership even if no money changes hands. Some firms modify their firm’s standard contract. Others have used the AIA’s pro bono contract, AIA B1052007, available free of charge on the AIA website. You should discuss the approach you choose with your attorney.

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Opportunities for staff • Pro bono work can provide a unique opportunity to participate in “choosing” projects. • Where appropriate, firms can create opportunities for junior staff to advance their project experience. • Most firms report that pro bono work gives staff a feeling of personal satisfaction from working with a mission-based organization.

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PRO BONO BENEFITS YOUR FIRM

Recruitment & retention Incorporating pro bono services as part of architectural practice has been shown to benefit many firms’ business models. The following represents the most common ways that an integrated pro bono practice can work to a firm’s advantage.

• Job-seeking designers often look to work for firms with a social conscience. • Local, high-impact projects can play a role in employee retention by actively engaging staff in the development of the surrounding community.

Business expansion • Pro bono work can be a great initial step to expand into new regions or market sectors. • It can expand your client pool through word-of-mouth endorsements, new networks, and press exposure. • Pro bono work can facilitate new client relationships locally, particularly appealing for firms whose work is mostly in other states or countries.

New creative prospects • Pro bono work can enliven your practice by pursuing interesting design challenges with real consequences. • Pro bono relationships often lead to opportunities for designers to creatively address their client’s large-scale strategic issues.

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PRO BONO TEAM STRUCTURE Find the organizational strategy that works best for your firm. Here are three of the most common ways to structure pro bono teams in design offices. Dedicated team Assemble dedicated staff to pro bono projects. For instance, Perkins+Will, one of the largest firms in the country, has at least one designer in every office devoted to managing the Social Responsibility Initiative (SRI). Perkins+Will launched SRI in 2008 to increase the social impact of their work.

Rotating team You can allow all staff to participate in pro bono projects on a rotating basis. At Jova/Daniels/Busby in Atlanta, junior staff pitches pro bono projects to senior staff, allowing them to take leadership roles on projects they initiate.

In-house design competitions Pro bono projects can be a great method for generating excitement among the staff. EHDD Architecture organized an internal design competition for an outdoor seating area at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. Museum staff, former clients and local politicians sat on the jury, creating an additional opportunity for networking and community outreach.

Š Matt Rouse/EHDD

2 COMMIT PROJECTS + SERVICES

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Log on to TheOnePercent.org and register your firm. Fill out the questionnaire requesting basic information. To create your firm’s 1% profile, pledge your firm’s annual pro bono commitment (number of hours), describe your pro bono philosophy and any existing nonprofit relationships, and upload an image that represents your firm. As part of your pro bono pledge, you can opt-in or opt-out of receiving nonprofits email requests for services.

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THE 1% PROGRAM

Register your firm and pledge your 1%

Complete your profile and post past projects The 1% offers a convenient alternative to find pro bono projects. In the first three years after launching the matching service, firms participating in the program helped nearly two hundred nonprofits seeking pro bono design services—and the numbers are continually growing. Follow these easy steps to register your firm online, pledge your 1%, and gain access to a pool of nonprofit projects.

Your firm’s profile on The 1% website tells a story about your past contributions, project interests, and availability to take on new projects. When logged into “My 1%,” you can click the “Add a new project” link to document pro bono projects matched outside The 1%. All projects uploaded to your profile are featured in The 1% Project Gallery.

Find projects and connect with nonprofits As a registered participant, you can browse all active nonprofit project listings and have access to the matching service. • From “My 1%” click “Find Projects,” and begin evaluating your design goals with the nonprofits’ request for services. • Click “Offer Services” to review a project summary and service request. • If interested, click “Send Service Offer” and the system automatically generates and sends an inquiry email to the nonprofit on your behalf. Firms may inquire with three nonprofits at any time. Inquiries expire after two weeks when no response is received. Registered nonprofits can also request your firm’s services on their project, if you opt-in to receive nonprofit service requests. With the first inquiry sent to a nonprofit, the system automatically changes the match status to “Pending.” If the nonprofit responds positively to the inquiry, the project status becomes “Accepted.” At this stage, we advise the firm and nonprofit to arrange a meeting to discuss the project in depth and determine if the partnership could be a good fit.

Confirm the match

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If the nonprofit and your firm agree to work together, confirm the match in your 1% profile. Once the match is confirmed, the project is “in-progress” and is no longer visible to other firms on The 1% website.

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Connect with nonprofits

This step-by-step guide is broadly applicable to the process of matching with a nonprofit on a project, whether finding projects on The 1% website or on your own. A firm’s leadership and their ties to the community often determine which pro bono projects the firm takes on. From The 1% Firm Survey 2010, we know that about half of the firms surveyed intend to utilize The 1% matching service for their next pro bono project.

Assess the project

• Seek out organizations whose mission aligns with your firm’s values. • Meet with your staff to determine if they have any pre-existing personal or professional relationships with nonprofits. • Identify a worthy design need in your community and reach out to an organization whose mission it is to address such needs. • Conduct due diligence on nonprofit candidates using the database of groups such as Guidestar.org, a site that gathers and shares the financial and programmatic information of nonprofits.

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FIND PROJECTS

• Vet the project’s potential, ask questions and communicate your contribution goals to the nonprofit. How can both parties support one another’s goals? • Assess whether the client shares your expectations for design quality. • Appraise the nonprofit’s ability to secure the financial resources to complete the project. It goes without saying that most firms want their work realized.

Communicate with the nonprofit client • Set a clear method for decision-making early in the relationship with the nonprofit to help keep the project on course. Staying on task with clarity of purpose and disciplined decision-making is difficult to do without the exchange of money. It requires continuous frank and direct communication between designer and client. Greater clarity at this stage will diminish the risk of future misunderstanding.

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Facility needs assessment Assess a nonprofit’s facilities needs to see how it accommodates their staff, programs, culture, resources, and anticipated growth.

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DESIGN SERVICES

Capital campaign materials Produce illustrative material to help launch a capital campaign to raise funds for a new facility or renovation.

Building or space identification Visit and analyze potential future locations, helping a nonprofit select one that fits their needs, whether to purchase or lease.

There are many services that your firm can provide pro bono. The list that follows is not exhaustive, but was informed by a survey of the first 150 firms to pledge their time through The 1% program. It represents some of the most common design services provided by design firms to nonprofit organizations.

Interior design & brand development Integrate an organization’s brand and values into its interior and exterior spaces to effectively convey their mission.

Sustainability plan Work with a nonprofit to improve their sustainability goals. Lighting controls, daylighting, improving mechanical systems and other green technologies can save clients money in the long term and lower their environmental impact.

Accessibility Figuring out how to integrate equal access can be a difficult design problem. Yet a successful solution for a nonprofit can have an important impact on the service they provide to their clients.

Facilities renovation Work with a nonprofit to optimize their existing facility.

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“We’re most proud of our Green Barn project for the Alameda Point Collaborative. Not only are they a great organization to support, the project has been a really great design opportunity. Workdays on the farm help to expand our firm’s social aspect and conception of what an office event can be. It brings us closer together while we’re doing something that we can feel good about. ” Anna de Anguara, Architect at STUDIOS Architecture

© STUDIOS Architecture

3 PARTNER COLLABORATE + PUBLICIZE

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Collaborative relationship Working in collaboration with a nonprofit can have long lasting benefits for your firm and staff. Not only is it an opportunity to educate the client on the value of quality design, the immersive nature of these projects invests your staff in the nonprofit’s mission and community. Pro bono projects often rely on rallying other local stakeholders and the ability of the design team to bring the nonprofit, local government, and local citizenry together to work towards a common solution.

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VALUABLE NETWORKS

Nurture new relationships As your firm provides design services for a nonprofit, remember to treat them as a partner throughout the process of development, implementation and realization of the project.

Pro bono service can expand your firm’s network to include individuals with deep roots in the local philanthropic community. Establishing a relationship with an institutional client can be valuable considering that one third of all architectural projects belong to institutional organizations. To add to that, Sid Scott of Scott Edwards Architects observes that pro bono projects can lead to paid work in the future. As a general rule, 20 percent of architectural services are for repeat customers.

Publicize pro bono work Don’t be shy about celebrating your pro bono clients: give exposure to your projects on your website, in local media, and within your office. A good way to promote your project is to promote your client. It can help build their capacity and yours. To that end, pro bono work should be highlighted to your paying clients as well. Mike McCall of McCall Design Group recalls securing a corporate client by including the pro bono project his firm completed for Goodwill Industries of San Francisco in the firm’s portfolio.

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The 1% Design Advocates Design Advocates is made up of a select group of participating firms that act as local advocates for pro bono design in communities across the country. They disseminate The 1% mission, and highlight local design needs and projects completed for the public good through outreach events.

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RESOURCES

The 1% Firm Survey

The 1% program is a critical component of Public Architecture’s advocacy and outreach campaigns. We conduct case studies on a regular basis to distill best practices and have a number of other project resources to further assist designers committed to social change.

The 1% Firm Survey represents the first quantitative survey to measure pro bono practice in the architecture and design professions. Since 2006, the annual survey collects data from architecture and design firms nationwide—from single person offices to the largest US firms.

The 1% Project Gallery The 1% Project Gallery is an online pro bono project photo gallery comprised of projects that firms and nonprofits post on the website. It links images to the project description and details. Every project uploaded to a 1% profile is featured in the gallery.

The Public Dialogue The Public Dialogue is a blog by Public Architecture that seeks to advance our understanding of design thinking as tool for social change by asking how can designers effectively work for underserved communities? What is the impact of the built environment on our lives? What is the role and value of pro bono service for the design profession? How do we measure design’s effectiveness?

More resources produced by Public Architecture Public Architecture uses resource publications to share best practices and advocate for public interest design. They include The Power of Pro Bono, a book published by Metropolis in 2010 that profiles 40 pro bono projects from across the United States committed to design for the public good. Additionally, Public Architecture offers a library of free downloadable resources including this guide as well as Design for Reuse Primer, Sustainability for Nonprofits, and more.

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“All of the pro bono work that we’ve done for our clients has led to long-term relationships and more work. It really hits you on all fronts. It makes us feel good. Our commitment to this work expresses the value of this firm. From a business side, many clients pass our name on to other nonprofit groups and private clients. So, we see it as a tremendous market.” Sid Scott, Principal at Scott Edwards Architects in Portland, OR

© Courtesy Scott Edwards Architecture

Credits Pro Bono Design Handbook is a publication of Public Architecture Design Kay Cheng Editor Amy Ress Thanks to Public Architecture staff and volunteers who contributed to this publication: Amy Ress, Cali Pfaff, Kay Cheng, Grant Alexander, John Cary, John Peterson, Kristen Dotson, Liz Ogbu, Mia Scharphie, Trudy Garber, Jennifer Tai. Thanks to 1% firm contributors Fougeron Architecture, McCall Design Group, STUDIOS Architecture, Jova/Daniels/Busby, EHDD Architecture, Perkins+Will, Studio Gang, and Scott Edwards Architecture Public Architecture is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in San Francisco. It engages architecture firms, nonprofits, and manufacturers to commit to design for the public good through its nationally recognized 1% program; it acts to bring about positive community change through public-interest design initiatives and pro bono design service grants; and it shares the potential of design to change the world through advocacy and outreach. This publication was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, www.nea.gov. This guide is licensed by Public Architecture under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License: www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-ncsa/3.0/us PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE

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Pro Bono Design Handbook for Designers