Where can I find charities to work for free?

over 6 years ago from , Freelance mobile and web designer | radesign.in

I'm interested to provide my design services to a charity for free. How can I find the ones that need design help? Is there a website that lists such charities and their requirement?


  • Alberto G. de la CruzAlberto G. de la Cruz, over 6 years ago

    The UN actually has a portal for non-profits looking for designers and developers.

    11 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 6 years ago

    You'd be surprised how hard this is to do. From my experience, charities would overwhelmingly rather pay a contractor or employee rather than accept pro bono work.

    8 points
    • Rakesh K, over 6 years ago

      How ironical! Could it be because free work is seen as low quality work?

      2 points
    • Alex HoffmanAlex Hoffman, over 6 years ago

      Agreed and they're quite hard to do work for as well. Once I tried to redesign a website for nonprofit coding program for kids. They didn't want a well designed site because they thought it would look like they're spending too much money on marketing. Another one was for an organization funded by the city, we built them a really nice Wordpress theme and we're going to help with integration, at the last second the person who managed their current website refused to switch to wordpress and it was a complete waste of time and totally ruined the relationship.

      The nature of pro bono work is problematic, since there is no exchange of services the clients tend to not really give a shit and it makes your job not very fun and surely doesn't set you up for success. The client needs to be invested for the project to be successful, and frankly money is by far the best way to get you're client invested into helping you and the project succeed.

      8 points
  • Sam ApplebeeSam Applebee, over 6 years ago

    Super Global makes pro-bono and paid collaborations happen, but between social-impact projects and agencies, rather than individuals.

    To weigh in on the 'why don't charities like pro bono work' debate - In my experience it's because the project failure rate is really high. People have lives and jobs and other pressures. If you're not paying for something you can't hold anyone accountable for it. If you're not being paid for something, it's much easier to make excuses.

    3 points
  • Chad KruseChad Kruse, over 6 years ago

    There used to be an organization called Hashtag Charity that did exactly this. Sadly, it looks like they've closed shop.

    There's really three options to go about it:

    1. Find a nonprofit that knows it needs a designer (Idealist.org is popular)
    2. Figure out what causes you're passionate about and reach out to nonprofits in that space that appear to have a need
    3. Create an open source template

    The second option will likely take you longer to find something tangible, but you'll learn a ton about what nonprofits actually need in the process.

    Personally, I've found the third option most rewarding. I built a Jekyll/Github-Pages template for small family foundations which was adopted by a regional association of grantmakers. I spend three to four hours a month helping a non-technical staffer debug new sites and make minor tweaks.

    You might also look into the nonprofitprojects and freedesign groups on Reddit.

    Good luck!

    3 points
  • Michae M, over 6 years ago

    This site is super cool. Just emailed with they yesterday!


    2 points
  • Travis Arnold, over 6 years ago

    Nothing that I know of. I've been wanting to create something like this for a while now, but I haven't done any thorough research on what is currently out there. If this is something that is of interest to the community, I'd be willing to start working on something. This talk will get you pumped about helping activists and charities and then Aaron Draplin's talks are always a joy to watch.

    2 points
    • Rakesh K, over 6 years ago

      Having a single go-to place for finding charities would be great. I vaguely remember reading of such service, not sure, could be my imagination. Any chance of doing a quick research? I'm open to help in any way I can.

      0 points
  • Djordje VlaisavljevicDjordje Vlaisavljevic, over 6 years ago

    I was working on this article when I saw your question, so I added all of the suggestions posted here and expanded it into a tiny website. If anyone wants to add more companies or organizations, feel free to create a pull request!

    1 point
  • Katharina H., over 6 years ago

    There's a German website called youvo that lists a lot of charities who need help in webdesign, coding, marketing and other stuff. They can't pay you but they still offer you some kind of favor in return. Though many projects and briefings are written in German there are some projects in English as well.

    1 point
  • Daniel AndorDaniel Andor, over 6 years ago

    You can try this website too: https://www.project501.com/

    1 point
  • Benjamin ValmontBenjamin Valmont, over 6 years ago

    Check out www.unv.org !

    1 point
  • Terry GillespieTerry Gillespie, over 6 years ago

    Australian based, Good Company usually has a few design gigs going.

    1 point
  • Ken Em, over 6 years ago

    Taproot is all about doing design stuff on a volunteer basis: https://www.taprootplus.org

    1 point
  • Dan Pilat, over 6 years ago

    At The Decision Lab (http://thedecisionlab.com) we've been looking for a designer to help us with branding, our website and materials! We're on a mission to apply behavioural sciences for the public good and would welcome any help we can get! Shoot me an email at dan@thedecisionlab.com if you can help!

    1 point
  • Christian SchuhmannChristian Schuhmann, over 6 years ago

    I know volunteermatch.org but I never tried it myself. Searching for "Virtual" and "Design" or "UX" gives a few interesting results. Let us know if you find something :)

    1 point
  • Travis Arnold, over 6 years ago

    I know this older, but saw this awesome site recently https://designgigsforgood.squarespace.com/

    0 points
  • Zane Riley, over 6 years ago

    No one seems to have mentioned Catchafire yet.

    I worked for two nonprofits and enjoyed doing information architecture, user research and strategy consulting for them.

    Rolando Murillo works at Catchafire and frequents DN, too.  

    0 points
  • Davide PisauriDavide Pisauri, over 6 years ago

    I need a developer and I don't have money to pay her, PM me

    0 points