A recent survey of design firms by Public Architecture, in collaboration with researchers from Harvard Business School, reveals that an increasing number of architects and designers are applying their skills for public good. This is Public Architecture’s fourth survey since 2005 that has queried architecture and design firms which have pledged to dedicate a minimum of one percent of billable hours to pro bono service through The 1% program.
“This latest survey underscores the evolution of pro bono service in the design profession,” says John Peterson, founder and president of Public Architecture. “Project expectations are rising; leadership buy-in is increasing; and pro bono is becoming a fundamental part of practice.”
Firms surveyed range from single-person offices to large firms, including Cannon Design, Gensler, and HOK. Of the 906 firms participating in The 1% program, 35 percent responded to the survey.
Key findings include:
- More than one-third of firm respondents devoted 5 percent or more of the their time to pro bono service over the past year.
- The three most important variables in electing pro bono projects are social relevance, design opportunity, and capacity to further the client’s mission.
- A majority of pro bono work came from existing clients, followed closely by firms’ soliciting nonprofits outside The 1% matching service.
- To date, The 1% program-participating firms have collectively contributed an average of over $42 million in services annually.
To read the report, visit publicarchitecture.org.