How it works.

So you have a pro bono design project in mind that you need help with, or you're ready to volunteer virtually as a creative. Before you jump into it, read these simple but essential guidelines and tips to ensure you're using the site correctly and healthily.

Frequently asked questions

For Non-Profits

What projects can I list and do I have to pay for these services?


To qualify for pro-bono volunteer help, your creative project should be short-term and ad-hoc, and should not require more than 20 hours of work over 4 weeks for each. Examples include designing a poster, social media posts or simple infographics, short copy-writing, copy-editing, a consultation session or workshop, laying out a short brochure or handbook under 16 pages, designing a logo, or creating an illustration for a campaign. For longer projects that span a few months, like detailed annual reports, a full rebrand or extensive research and writing, we recommend a 10 – 20% of project value as a token of appreciation to the volunteer.




How do I show that a project has been completed?


If you have found or engaged a designer, do comment on your own project post that you've found someone. This will signal to others that you no longer require help. Let's respect everyone's time so volunteers don't end up applying for projects that have already been completed or started.




I've found someone I want to work with. How can I contact them?


The best way to contact someone is via the site's chat function. Click the user you want to contact and send them a personal message. You can then exchange emails or other contact information when you liaise further. Do not share contact details publicly.




What are some best practices I should abide by?


Provision of a Proper Brief Please be clear and upfront with the brief and requirements from the very beginning. Ensure your management is on the same page as you to avoid changing the brief halfway into the project. Read more about how to write a proper brief here. Clear, Consolidated Feedback We understand that as an organisation or community, you may receive feedback from multiple people and may have to go through many levels of approvals. However, do consolidate your feedback to reduce unnecessary changes. Creatives are helping out of their goodwill, so treat them well, just like you would any of your volunteers! That means being fair about the time they spend and showing appreciation for the work they do. Recommended Time Frame for Turn-arounds Since this is a volunteer service, do respect the time of your creative by giving them sufficient notice for changes. Your volunteer most likely has a day job and is committing their free, personal time to work on your project. We recommend you provide at least 2 days notice for small edits and 1 week for bigger changes. Unfair or unreasonable changes, or general mistreatment of your volunteers will not be tolerated.




What is "Adopt a Charity" and how can I get listed?


Projects posted in the forum are mostly short term or one-off working arrangements where you might ask for design advice or help for work on a small project. If you're looking for a longer term volunteer that can work closely with you on different projects, you can get listed, so that we can help matchmake designers directly with you. Simply write in to us on the contact page and let us know! We'll get back to you as quickly as we can, and help list you up. Note that finding a match might take some time, so in the mean time, if you have smaller urgent projects, feel free to list them on the forum.




Who can post projects here?


This platform was created because the creative community wanted to do more to help non-profits in Singapore that are working hard for others. As long as your organisation or community works for social good or a charitable cause (e.g. Charities, NPOs, NGOs, Community or Ground-up initiatives, Social Enterprises*), you may list projects on this platform. However, do use this portal responsibly. Any entities who abuse this portal or attempt to use it for nefarious means will be blocked. Any entities who are for-profit (excluding Social Enterprises) cannot post projects to get work done for free and save business costs. This is fraud and your business will be blacklisted and banned. *We will continuously review the Social Enterprises who join on a case-by-case basis.




Help! I've encountered a bug or an issue.


Oh no! We're so sorry to hear that. This website is still in a beta stage so please bear with us as we seek to constantly improve the user experience and functionalities. We love feedback from users such as yourself so send us a note on the contact page or message admin directly and we'll try to get back as soon as we can.




What steps do I need to take to get a volunteer for my non-profit?


1. Register as a member Sign up with your email, and fill-up your profile information. Include a cover image, your profile photo/logo, a description of what you do and a URL to find out more. 2. Head over to the Project Board Choose the category that best fits your project and click in. 3. Select "Ask a Question" Fill in all relevant details like deadlines and requirements, and you're ready to go! Your brief should have as much information as you're comfortable with sharing publicly, be aware that a vague project posting is difficult for members to assess. Do also include a gauge on the expected deadline / duration of the project and how much commitment will be involved. Do comment when you've started working with a designer so that the site admin can mark the project listing as closed.




How do I file a complaint?


If you encounter any members in violation of the guidelines set forth above, do not hesitate to reach out to us and file a complaint. We will conduct investigations and members will be issued a warning and advised to correct their actions. If they fail to comply, the member in question will be banned and blacklisted. For any other feedback or questions about the site or guidelines, feel free to message us via the contact form.




Where are the volunteers from and how can I ensure they are reliable?


As we are just a platform to facilitate connections, our volunteers come from all parts of the community, and have varying skill and experience levels. Before engaging a creative, do check their portfolios or interview them to ensure they are a good fit with your organisation’s project needs.




I have a creative job that is very rushed. Can I still post it?


You can try, but we recommend that you buffer at least 1 week for a project listing to find a volunteer. While we understand that you may need things in a hurry, your creative also needs sufficient notice to respond and make revisions, so please plan ahead as far as possible to avoid such situations.




I have a big project, but I can’t afford to pay the token fee, can I still post it?


If you’re in this situation where you’re really struggling and require help, please write in to us directly via the contact form and we’ll see how we can assist you.




How do I write a creative brief?


1. Introduce What’s your organisation/community? What services do you provide?
Who’s your target audience? (Beneficiaries, General Public, Kids, Donors, etc.) 2. Describe What’s your requirements and delivery expectations? How much content/work is involved? Include specifications. (Number of pages/words, dimensions, etc.)
Do you already have something in mind? Share examples of past works or references. 3. Explain Why do you need help with this? What do you hope to achieve and how will this project impact others positively? 4. Conclude Include a timeframe or deadline for the project.




How do I delete my account?


Oh no! We're sorry to see you go. If you'd like to delete your account or you've made multiple ones by mistake, simply click "Delete Account" on the My Account page to send the admin an email to assist you. You can also use the contact form or chat button to let us know, and we'll help you remove your account.





For Creatives

How do I set up a profile?


Once you register for an account, you will automatically have a profile and will be able to comment on any post you like. Include a short write-up and your portfolio or instagram link on your page so charities can check if you're a good match! If you don't have an online portfolio, just sharing some photos of your work works too! Simply click the text on your profile page and include photos or a video if you'd like.




Will I get paid for projects?


This site was set up on a pro-bono basis, for designers who'd love to volunteer their services to help non-profits in their free time. As such, there is no payment involved for most short-term projects. To qualify for your pro-bono volunteer help, the creative project should be short-term and ad-hoc, and should not require more than 20 hours of work over 4 weeks for each. Examples include designing a poster, social media posts or simple infographics, short copy-writing, copy-editing, a consultation session or workshop, laying out a short brochure or handbook under 16 pages, designing a logo, or creating an illustration for a campaign. For longer projects that span a few months, like detailed annual reports, a full rebrand or extensive research and writing, we recommend clients give a 10 – 20% of project value as a token of appreciation to you as a volunteer. Do discuss this with the client and get the agreement down in writing, as well as take a portion of the fee as a down-payment as we’re unable to settle payment-related disputes. For any further questions or advice on determining project value, feel free to write in to us via the contact page. Before embarking on any project, ensure you're comfortable with the terms and pre-agree on how much time you are willing to commit to the project to avoid future heartache. Do set a limit on the number of rounds of changes.




How do I volunteer for a project?


Head over to the Project Board. Browse projects available in the different forum categories. Choose a project to work on. When you’ve found something that interests you, simply reply with a comment, then DM the organisation to offer your email contact. You can then exchange emails or other contact information when you liaise further. Do not share contact details publicly. If project listings have been ticked with a green check mark, this means they've already been completed by another designer. Clarify any doubts. If you require more information about the brief, comment on the post with questions you have, so that other creatives can see the answers as well. Alternatively, volunteer directly. If you’re looking for a longer-term volunteering relationship, visit “Adopt a Charity” to volunteer with Non-profits directly, more regularly.




How does "Adopt a Charity" work?


Projects posted in the forum are mostly short term or one-off working arrangements where you might offer design advice or work on a small project. If you're looking for a longer term volunteering opportunity where you can work closely with the charity and watch them grow, or be the go-to designer for any needs they have, you can adopt a charity and liase with them directly, rather than use this portal.




Why can't I edit my profile text and images?


Currently, editing your published profile is not supported on mobile. Simply log in to your account on any desktop computer and make the changes there! We are currently looking for a work-around to fix this issue so please bear with us.




How can I get notified when new projects are listed?


To make it easier so you don't have to keep checking this website, click "follow" on the project categories you're interested in to get email notifications whenever a new request is made. See more detailed instructions on how to do this on our instagram story highlights, where we also post new projects from time to time!




Help! I've encountered a bug or an issue.


Oh no! We're so sorry to hear that. This website is still in a beta stage so please bear with us as we seek to constantly improve the user experience and functionalities. We love feedback from users such as yourself so send us a note on the contact page or message admin directly and we'll try to get back as soon as we can.




Why aren't there any projects available?


We're currently in an early beta phase of this project, so we're still trying to gather new designers and charities to join this site. Check back again from time to time and follow project categories to get notified when new project posts are created! We also post projects on our instagram and facebook so do follow us there!




I'm struggling with an unreasonable client. What do I do?


If you've encountered a nasty client, or someone who's not treating you or your time fairly, do quickly reach out to us and report the incident so that we can help you mediate the situation. We understand that you're giving your time as a volunteer so we'd love to ensure you're appreciated for the work you do. We will conduct investigations and members will be issued a warning and advised to correct their actions. If they fail to comply, we'll help you terminate the relationship and the member in question will be banned and blacklisted. Making Meaning reserves the right to delist, ban any members without notice.




How do I decide which projects to take on?


We currently allow any organisation or community that’s working for social good to look for volunteers here. However, it is up to you to do your own research on the entity before deciding to take on any project. If you believe in the cause, would like to donate your time and are sure that you can meet the project requirements then go for it! If the brief is unclear, do clarify it in the project forum before committing to any project.




What can I do to ensure a good experience before starting a project?


Provision of a Proper Brief Before embarking on a project, ensure you have received a clear brief and requirements before commencement. If in doubt, always seek clarifications and ask as many questions as you need to. Request for materials, content and brand guidelines (if applicable) ahead, so you do not get surprised by scope creep or other variations that you didn’t agree to down the road. If you’re unsure of how much creative freedom the brief has, please ask. Do your homework by looking at similar projects they’ve done in the past, or by sharing a visual mood board or examples beforehand to ensure you’re on the same page with the organisation. Required Skillset Properly analyse the brief before taking it on. If you lack past experience in a similar project, voice it out from the very beginning and discuss with the client to receive guidance. This is especially important when it comes down to print or digital projects that have specific requirements. For example, if you are unfamiliar with preparing final artwork for print or handover, get help to learn or pick up the skill before embarking on any of such projects. Clear, Consolidated Feedback Clients often receive feedback from multiple colleagues and may have to go through various levels of approvals. Therefore, do insist that they consolidate their feedback to reduce making unnecessary revisions on your end. Recommended Time Frame for Turn-arounds From the start of the project, be upfront about your turn-around time. We recommend you ask for at least 2 days notice for small edits and 1 week for bigger changes.
If you’re willing or able to work faster due to a time-crunch, feel free to do so at
your own discretion. If you follow the guidelines above closely, you're unlikely to get taken advantage of. Ensure all expectations are clear beforehand to protect yourself and always get agreements/edits in writing so it’s easy to track should a dispute occur. If something still goes awry, write in to us to make a complaint and we’ll help you as best as we can (e.g. assist you in terminating the relationship).




What will happen if I plagiarise someone else's work?


Plagiarism by either party will not be tolerated. If we come across any instance of plagiarism by a creative or a non-profit requesting for such work, the party in question will be banned from further usage of this service. We are not liable for any inadvertent or purposeful violation of copyrights. Please check your content such as stock images beforehand to ensure compliance to any copyright laws.




Why volunteer as a creative?


Volunteering is not the same as the dreaded “working for exposure” because you’re providing a service to help others, not for self-promotion purposes. Volunteering is not for everyone, but sharing your time/skills is a good alternative if you’re looking for ways to give back beyond monetary donations. In these rough times, it's also a good alternative way to volunteer virtually and remotely from home.




I'm a student/not a professional creative. Can I still help?


Of course! If you’re not a professional, you’re still welcome to lend a hand! However, if you’re unfamiliar with software or industry best practices, please write in to us to clarify any questions you may have beforehand. Also be upfront with clients from the beginning so they are aware of your skill levels, to avoid mismatched expectations further down the line.




How do I delete my account?


Oh no! We're sorry to see you go. If you'd like to delete your account or you've made multiple ones by mistake, simply click "Delete Account" on the My Account page to send the admin an email to assist you. You can also use the contact form or chat button to let us know, and we'll help you remove your account.





© 2020 / Making Meaning

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