FAQ Designers

Is there a cost to participate in the 1+ program?
There is no cost to register with the 1+ program and use our matching platform. Join now! We encourage designers to donate to support the continued success of 1+. Donate now!

What constitutes pro bono service?
The 1+ program defines pro bono service to be professional service rendered: a) without expectation of a fee, or b) with a significant reduction in fees for nonprofit organizations. Pro bono service can take many forms; it is any contribution of designers’ knowledge, skills, judgment, and creativity that serve the public good.

What if our firm already does pro bono work?
That’s great! The 1+ program does not ask for pledged hours above and beyond what you are providing; instead, it’s an organized program to promote and expand the good work being performed and support the creation of new pro bono initiatives. Receive recognition for your pro bono commitment by registering with the 1+ program. Post your past projects and increase your impact in the design and social sectors!

Do all staff members need to participate? What is the requirement per staff member?
We encourage firms to include their entire staff in their pro bono pledge. However, some firms elect to include only a select group of their staff as a way of managing their pro bono commitment. Each participating member of the staff should commit to a minimum of 1 percent of their working hours.

For Example:
50 Person Firm
Based on a 40-hour work week, 1 percent of a designer’s annual billable hours is 20 hours a year.
1+ pledge = 50 people x 20 hours per person = 1,000-hour annual pledge to the 1+ program.

Can be fulfilled by:
50 employees each contributing 20 hours.
A team working on a pro bono project contributing a total of 1,000 hours.
A single individual working part-time, contributing a total of 1,000 hours.

How are pledges tracked or verified?
Firms are asked to input their pro bono hours and the number of participating staff into the their 1+ profiles. Pledges are aggregated and presented on the 1+ homepage. At the end of a matched project, 1+ surveys firms to document actual hours spent. The program depends on firms’ good faith record keeping. We encourage firms to use their standard project management systems to track hours and progress.

Should employees be compensated for the time they spend on pro bono work?
The 1+ program encourages firms to compensate their employees for pro bono work and make pro bono work an integral part of the firm’s practice.

Can individual design professionals join 1+?
Sole proprietors operating a business are welcome to join. Individuals working for design firms should encourage their firm’s leadership to consider joining as a firm-wide effort.

Do only licensed members of the firm count towards the pledge?
All hours contributed by the firm to pro bono work count toward the pledge. In addition to work by licensed professionals, hours contributed by marketing, administrative support staff, and interns count.

Can we use the 1+ logo on our website and in our marketing materials?
All registered participants of the 1+ program are encouraged to use the logo in firm marketing and published materials.

How is the 1+ program funded?
The 1+ program is made possible thanks to crucial financial support from corporate and private foundations; professional associations, including The American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers and the International Interior Designers Association; as well as contributions by firms and individuals.  Please see our supporters and donate pages for more information.

Which clients are eligible to receive pro bono services?
The 1+ program focuses primarily on 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations as appropriate pro bono clients. All 501(c)3 nonprofits are welcome to register.  If organizations do not have their 501(c)3 status, they may also register using the EIN of a fiscal sponsor.

How do firms find pro bono projects?
The 1+ matching portal allows nonprofits in need of design services to post their projects and provides firms a venue to find potential pro bono projects.  Matching is self-directed. Firms are also encouraged to find projects within their own communities and document their work on the 1+ website.

What is the liability associated with pro bono projects?
The liability associated with pro bono projects is generally equal to that of full-fee projects. Contractual provisions can help you manage the limits of your exposure. 1+ recommends firms consult their legal council to determine the best agreement. Firms can also opt to select projects with low liability, such as capital campaigns.

What is the role of 1+ during the course of a project and upon completion of a project?
1+ works with nonprofits to help scope their projects prior to posting on the 1+ website. We provide a matching system for designers and nonprofits to connect on projects. 1+ relies on firms to manage and complete matched projects. At the project completion, 1+ asks the firm and nonprofit to mark the project complete in their 1+ profile and take the 1+ survey. This helps us track and report program successes and metrics.

What if we don’t want to be a part of the matching process?
1+ realizes that many participants elect to find pro bono projects outside of our matching platform. During the registration process, 1+ firms have the option to opt-out of the matching process.

Should we have a contract with a pro bono client?
While it is not required by 1+, we recommend participating firms establish a contract with a nonprofit client. At a minimum, the contract can help establish the scope of work. Some firms modify their firm’s standard contract. Others have used the pro bono contract, AIA B106–2010 (http://www.aia.org/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab096465.pdf), available free of charge on the AIA website. We recommend firms discuss contractual decisions with an attorney.

Why should we track our hours and submit invoices to pro bono clients?
While it’s not required, 1+ highly recommends that firms track hours and submit invoices to pro bono clients in the same way they account for full-fee projects. Such accounting helps nonprofits realize the value added and helps encourage the consistent practice of pro bono work within the firm.

If we provide some services at no cost, can we charge for other services?
When working with any client, good work generally leads to more work. For example, a firm may be retained to create a pro bono sustainability analysis and then later hired to implement the plan on a full-fee basis. As with all clients, it is important to clarify the original scope of services up front, and make sure those are fulfilled in full before starting new work for later services at a different rate
More questions? Email info@theoneplus.org