The Design Business Association is launching an initiative to encourage designers to take an active role in charity projects. But it is also looking to boost its own “stretched” resources by inviting selected individuals to make personal donations to its coffers.
Dubbed Design for Good, the charities initiative will initially be manifested as a category in the 1998 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards, launched today. But there are plans to set up a fund to enable designers to bid for charity projects and to extend the venture beyond DBA members.
The aim, says DBA chairman Colin Porter, is “to show design is not just good for business, it’s good for life”. It is not well enough recognised what designers can and do do for charities, he says.
Porter says the fund will start with donations of 1000 each from ten “senior members of the design fraternity”. He has secured commitments from Paul King of M&K, Martin Lambie-Nairn and Interbrand Newell & Sorrell.
This initial 10 000 will finance the DBA’s business plan, due “in the next two months” from consultant Tim Sparrow, and kick-start the Design for Good fund.
This pool will be supplemented by fund-raising events, including a World Cup football evening on 26 June, and Design Pursuit, a London-to-Glasgow sponsored car rally planned for September.
Porter envisages Design for Good spinning off as a separate entity from the DBA. “It needs a wall between Design for Good and the DBA,” he says , because of their different structures and objectives. But the aim is to make Design for Good “as administratively light as possible”.
He is talking about a joint venture to two-year-old Media Trust, which already helps to create partnerships between charities and designers through its Media Resource section. But, says Paul Sternberg, the trust’s director of media resources, information and events, “it’s still embryonic”.
The trust has, says Sternberg, “tapped into an incredible wealth of expertise and good will in the design world”. It is “well connected” with the voluntary sector and is “tapping into the corporate side”. “We’re very interested [in the DBA plan]”, he says, “but we’re not sure how it would add value to us.” Media Trust is also talking to the Design Council about closer collaboration.