Designit: Annual pro-bono program


Applications for 2020 are closed, but reach out to [email protected] if you’d like more information.

How it works

  • Every year, Designit will select an NYC-based organization in need of strategic design support. Organizations working in the social impact space are key to the city, but they’re usually time and resource strapped. At Designit NYC, we want to show appreciation and support by providing our expertise on a pro-bono basis. This includes, but is not limited to: design research, service and business design, branding and experience design, product design, or strategic foresight.
  • The program is open to NYC-based organizations no matter their size or stage. The selected partner will participate in a two-day private course to introduce team members to the processes and tools of design thinking, so they can learn how to apply them to their work.
  • Following the course, a dedicated Designit team will work closely with the partner organization to identify current challenges and define the scope of the pro-bono project. Both teams will work together over six to eight weeks in July and August to tackle the organization’s biggest challenge and co-create solutions, increasing the impact and effectiveness of its work.
  • We're committed to helping organizations use design to boost their impact.

Are you working to solve some of NYC’s biggest problems? We want to partner with you! Application deadline is March 20, 2020 at 11:59pm. We know you’re busy, so we’ve kept the application short.

Any more questions?

You can check out our FAQ page, or send questions to [email protected].

Key dates for 2020

  • March 20, 2020 – Application deadline at 11:59pm
  • March 27-April 3, 2020 – Invitations go out to five selected organizations to come to our DUMBO studio to meet Designit’s pro-bono team, give a short presentation about their work and discuss current challenges.
  • Week of April 6, 2020 – Partner announced.
  • May or June 2020 – Partner receives a private, two-day course (up to 25 participants).
  • July-August 2020 – Six- to eight-week project with the Designit pro-bono team

Time commitment from partner

  • Two hour in-person kickoff meeting with key stakeholders
  • Stakeholder 1:1 interviews with key people from the organization
  • Weekly one hour check-ins with core group (can be remote)
  • Potentially help with coordination of field research (if we need you to make introductions or facilitate access to a target group for research interviews)
  • One or two workshops as needed (half to full days, in-person with key stakeholders)
  • Final presentation (roughly two hours)

More about Designit and how we work

At Designit, we work with ambitious brands to create high-impact products, services, systems, and spaces that people love. Because what matters to people, matters to business.

All our projects start with research to fully understand the challenge from both the stakeholders’ perspective and the eventual users of the service/product. This is usually done through interviews but may also include a variety of research techniques such as shadowing, contextual observation, and safaris (testing out different things ourselves).

We then use a variety of design tools (journey maps, service blueprints, business canvas, etc.) to inform solutions. All our projects are extremely collaborative and we hold workshops for research share-outs and ideation.

There’s nothing like getting insight about homeownership programs directly from the people we’re trying to serve. Between this, and the process visualizations that now adorn our office, I'm impressed with the work Designit has done for us – and on a pro-bono basis! Joseph Sant, Deputy General Counsel, The Center for NYC Neighborhoods

Examples of past work