Changemaker Series FAQ


General FAQs

Q: Why are you doing this series?

Creative professionals want to volunteer and use their talents to tackle social issues. The design tools and sustainable frameworks that we use in our daily creative practice can have a large impact when put to use towards aiding important social challenges.

Q: How long does this program last?

The Changemaker Series begins by announcing a theme in February, accepting applications for organizations and team members in the spring, forming project teams and learning new tools at the Workshop Weekend in May, conducting project work and check-ins during the summer and concluding with the Showcase to celebrate project results in September.

Q: How do I sign up to participate in this?

Our application has closed this year, but sign up for the Design for Good newsletter to hear about when applications open next spring!

Q: What is the time commitment to be involved in the Changemaker Series?

We ask that project team members and social change organization clients be available from May through September. Attendance at the Workshop Weekend will be mandatory for the teams and organization clients to go through the workshop together. We will host check-ins between June and September.

Time commitment will depend on the size, scope, complexity and components of each project as well as your project role. After the Workshop Weekend, ongoing project work each week may vary. Project team members should expect project weekly meetings and at least 2-3 hours of work each week with an average of 6-8 hours a week. Clients from social change organizations should expect at least 1-2 hours of work each week with an average of 2-4 hours a week.

Q: What tools do project teams use to communicate and stay on track?

We send major announcements through email, use Slack for messaging and updates and Google Drive to post and share documents. Project teams are free to choose additional platforms and tools to support their work.

Q: I can’t volunteer or attend but I know someone who is interested. What can I do?

Have your friend apply to be a project team member and use their talents to support local change organizations!

Spread the word about this initiative, attend our events to find out more about the Changemaker Series, and come to the Changemaker Showcase in September to celebrate and see what other project teams have done. Feel free to invite friends and colleagues who might want to get involved.

Finally, explore the other initiatives that AIGA Seattle has to offer, including Women Lead, Design for Democracy, Diversity & Inclusion and more.

Q: How do you come up with your causes?

The Changemaker Committee selects the next Changemaker Series topic following the Changemaker Showcase. AIGA members, Changemaker participants and Changemaker Showcase attendees provide feedback and ideas on possible causes. The committee narrows down topics and ultimately selects one from the list that is timely, relevant, and scoped enough to be able to tell stories and raise awareness to the topic and to the local organizations supporting it. The committee also picks a topic that has a wide range of organizations supporting it so there are enough organizations to partner with, rather than too narrow a topic that might only have a couple of organizations or only a couple of governmental entities supporting the cause.

There are other AIGA Seattle initiatives so the group selects causes that aren’t being served by other initiatives like Women Lead or Design for Democracy. In past years, the Changemaker Series has focused on Food (access and equity), Housing and Homelessness, and Immigrants and Refugees, and Youth.

If you are passionate about another cause, please stay involved. Consider joining the committee, participating as a creative, or attending the Changemaker Showcase and nominating your theme for next year.

Still have questions? Email us at changemaker@aiga.seattle.org.

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Potential Creative Team Member FAQs

Want to volunteer to be a team member? Have questions?

Q: I don’t consider myself a creative or designer. What skills are you looking for?

We encourage people with all kinds of skills to apply to join a team. This includes, but is not limited to: UX and graphic designers, researchers, project managers, marketers, strategists, consultants, analysts and content writers. Identify your skills, abilities and job expertise in the application so that we can match you to the best team and project.

Q: What level of experience are you looking for? Is it okay if I’m a student?

We are looking for project team members from a variety of backgrounds. Everyone from advanced students to professionals with decades of experience are welcome to share their talents. You will be able to indicate your experience level on the application so we can create balanced teams.

Q: Is this purely volunteer based or is there compensation involved?

We ask that team members volunteer their time to give back to the local community. As such, please be candid in sharing your availability. This is more than pro bono work; it is like a long-term hackathon that provides real deliverables to nonprofit and social impact organizations. This is more than building your portfolio or adding to a resume; it is an opportunity for networking and community-building across disciplines and with nonprofits and social change organizations. It’s also a great way to meet new people, give back and form friendships.

Q: How much will this program cost?

If accepted into the program, participation in the series is only $80 for AIGA members and $120 for potential AIGA members. The costs includes but is not limited to workshops and events such as:

The Workshop Weekend / Two full days of an intensive human-centered design bootcamp with inspirational speakers and educators, facilitated exercises, supporting materials and workbooks, meals, beverages, networking and more.

Ongoing support and check-in events / Get access to tools, expertise and networking events during the series as well as mini training sessions and opportunities for formal and informal feedback from local industry leaders and peers.

The Showcase / A gathering and exhibition for project teams to celebrate the work accomplished with the larger community and explore the experiences of teams and social change organizations.

Project team members may incur minor incidental costs outside of official Changemaker Series events associated with transportation, meals and snacks during project meetings or other materials at the discretion of teams.

Q: I want to be part of a project team. What are you looking for in candidates?

We are looking for creative individuals who are open-minded, interested in learning about the design-thinking process, and who are ready to share their skills and talents as a project participant. This requires teamwork, so applicants should be ready to work with and contribute to a team. In your application, please be honest about skills and experience that you currently have (e.g. I’ve been a Program Manager for 5 years managing digital technology projects. I use SQL regularly and have done data and financial analysis for my business.) and skills that you may be developing but are not yet honed (e.g. I’ve taken a visual design class and I’m learning more about data visualization with Tableau). Experience with the cause or working with non-profits is nice to have, but not required. The ability to attend the Workshop Weekend (May 3-5) and to volunteer time as part of the program is required. Professionalism, respectfulness, patience, enthusiasm and willingness to learn through the process are important qualities. We are in the process of drafting a code of conduct and will share that with you once it is ready. In the meantime, feel free to read an example of a past AIGA event code of conduct as an example.

Q: What makes a strong Changemaker Series participant?

Creative participants who are selected will be assigned to a project team based on their skills and experience. You will be working on a project team closely with a set of strangers, like a mini-creative agency. There is always the possibility of stress, challenges, and conflict. However, chances are that you already experience conflict and challenges with coworkers and clients in your professional work setting. Most Changemakers are open-minded, are good listeners and learners, are able to work through differences, and can form lasting friendships and experiences through the program. We provide tools and resources to help teams navigate conflict and disagreements, if there are any. This program may not be the best fit for individuals who are not experienced with team-based work.

Q: I can’t commit to a project. Is there another way I can give back?

Of course! Spread the word about this initiative and attend our Schmooze and Showcase events to learn more and celebrate the Changemaker Series. You can also contact us about volunteering for an event and get involved in other ways AIGA Seattle is using design for good.

Feel free to invite friends and colleagues who might want to get involved.

Get involved in other AIGA Seattle events and initiatives such as Women Lead, Design for Democracy, Diversity & Inclusion and more.

Still have questions? Email us at changemaker@aiga.seattle.org.

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Nonprofit & Change Organizations FAQs

Does your nonprofit or organization need help? Have questions?

Q: What are the criteria for the nonprofit or organization to apply?

We are looking to partner with organizations that:

  • Have a mission or programming that fits with the 2019 Changemaker Series cause of environmental and wildlife conservation. Organizations should support conservation efforts, which include but are not limited to: inspiring stewardship; conservation education; protecting and maintaining environmental health; preserving resources such as air, water, natural habitats and wildlife; ecological restoration and clean up; and more.
  • Are interested in exploring the design-thinking or human-centered design process and learning about how it can help them address organizational challenges.
  • Are available to attend the Workshop Weekend on May 3-5 and support their creative team from May to September with semi-regular team meetings. Frequency of meetings will be determined by your team. Organizations should plan for frequent email communications or calls. Find more details about time commitment in the General FAQs section. Organizations should be committed to putting the same amount of time, effort and resources to this project as if they had hired an agency to provide the same level of services.

Q: What types of challenges can a Changemaker Series project team help me address? What sort of problems or challenges are appropriate?

Organizations will gain the most from the program if they bring a few challenges or topics they would support addressing.

Bring a broad or open challenge your organization is facing that would benefit from creative thinking and problem-solving, has multiple possibilities for a solution, needs research, and requires design planning. The ideal challenge should be scoped so it can result in deliverables or milestones that are achievable within three to four months of work. Please note that a key milestone or stepping stone to your organization’s ongoing work may be considered a deliverable.

Examples of potential challenges may be, but are not limited to: aligning brand perception; improving the ways you communicate with the community; raising awareness to programs and resources; evaluating volunteer intake and retention; and better understanding your user experience journey. We want you to be successful so we’ll be looking for real challenges you are facing that design thinking can solve. Don’t worry if you don’t know what design thinking is; we will define and demonstrate all applicable processes and tools throughout the series. We will work with organizations to frame challenges into “How Might We…” statements, which will help creative teams approach the problem in a collaborative and constructive manner. It helps teams better understand the problem without jumping to a discrete solution prematurely.

Here were the initial challenges posed as questions for previous years' participating organizations:

Art With Heart / How might we use our design and research skills to help Art with Heart learn about their current customers and content management system so they can prepare for expanding their offerings digitally?

Art Corps / How might we better communicate about arts integration as a catalyst for positive youth development in the classroom?

Encompass / How might we enhance our understanding of our communities’ needs in order to better serve them through our free opportunities for children and families?

Juma / How might we better serve our youth through increased engagement with the Seattle community?

Powerful Voices / How might we support Powerful Voices with tangible identity tools so they can more fully express their refined strategic mission?

Seattle Indian Health Board / How might we reduce native youth suicide?

Q: What is the time commitment from me?

If your organization is selected to participate, we ask that representative(s) from your organization attend the full Workshop Weekend (May 3-5) and the Showcase (September, date TBA). Representatives are encouraged to attend optional check ins throughout the summer and other AIGA Seattle events. In addition, support your project team as a client; be available to answer questions, provide research, insights, limitations, guidance and requirements for your challenge, share additional information, facilitate required introductions and help educate the team on your cause. Read more about the estimated weekly time commitment in the General FAQs section.

Q: If my org is selected to be a part of the series, how should I prepare?

Prior to the Workshop Weekend, please prepare a slide and 2 minute elevator pitch presentation to inform participants of your organization’s mission and challenge. Detailed information will be provided to you in advance to help your organization prepare.

Any additional insights you would like to share with your team on the organization’s mission, clients, services, highlights and challenges would be appreciated. Feel free to bring flyers of your organization or annual reports with you to the Workshop Weekend to share with your project team.

Q: How much will this program cost?

If accepted into the program, participation in the series is only $200 for up to two people from each nonprofit or social change organization to participate; additional costs may apply if more than two organization attendees attend the events. The costs includes but is not limited to workshops and events such as:

The Workshop Weekend / Two full days of an intensive human-centered design bootcamp with inspirational speakers and educators, facilitated exercises, supporting materials and workbooks, meals, beverages, networking and more.

Ongoing support and check-in events / Get access to tools, expertise and networking events during the series as well as mini training sessions and opportunities for formal and informal feedback from local industry leaders and peers.

The Showcase / An exhibition and party for the project teams to celebrate the work accomplished with the larger community and explore the experiences of teams and social change organizations.

Project team members and organization representatives may incur minor incidental costs outside of official Changemaker Series events associated with transportation, meals and snacks during project meetings or other materials at the discretion of teams.

There may be costs for the organization associated with the implementation or continuation of project work results including but not limited to: printing of materials, web or server hosting, additional resources, recommended tools or applications, development work, etc. Budget will be discussed and understood prior to project work and all budget requests must be approved by representatives of the organizations.

Q: What have other organizations gained from participating?

Organizations that participate in the Changemaker Series leave the program with research, solutions and frameworks created for them. In past years, our creative teams have provided detailed user experience research and recommendations; created new visual identities and brand platforms; updated web designs; developed new workflow and process improvements; created social media advertising campaigns; and more. With the help of Changemaker Series creatives, Juma Seattle improved program recruitment to better reach youth and increase program applicants for Juma Seattle; DESC devised a new way to streamline the request and delivery processes for their in-kind donations; Real Change received a new plan for increasing readership among millennials for Real Change; and Marketshare explored new ways to empower immigrant entrepreneurs to create an ethnic street food market in Seattle.

Read our case studies and related blog posts to learn more:

Still have questions? Email us at changemaker@aiga.seattle.org.

If you would like to apply but budget restrictions make this participation cost a barrier, please let us know.

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