Eleazar Ruiz
Eleazar Ruiz. Graphic Designer Based in Vancouver, WA.


I write about design, business and faith.
Read on!



Design Pricing for Non-Profit Clients


Most of my design background is in working with non-profits organizations. Today I work for a for-profit organization but I still take on a lot of freelance projects, 50% of which generally comes from non-profits.

Due to non-profits' typically limited resources, it is critical to learn an appropriate rate for your services to them. Obviously, the amount of resources varies depending on the non-profit.

Sometimes, I'm passionate about the organization's goals and purpose which is requesting my services. I'm willing and eager to work in them in that case. In order for me to reevaluate and adjust my pricing for a non-profit, I need to know three things:

  1. There is a real need for my services.

  2. The organization doesn't have the funds to pay the normal price for my services.

  3. The product of my work would be a meaningful solution to a damaging problem.

With all that said, when deciding how to set a rate for a non-profit, consider the following options:

  1. Offer a percentage off my normal rate.

  2. Do pro bono work, cutting 100% of the cost “for the public good.”

  3. Provide a service trade, where the client can offer a product or service that’s useful or appealing to me.

  4. Maintain the full, normal rate. We may call them non-profits, but they’re still businesses with design budgets and need to turn a profit in order to grow.

Many designers are opposed to their fellow designers doing pro bono work. In their opinion, it devalues the already devalued price point of design. I disagree. I believe that if my work for a non-profit organization causes people to unite and solve a significant problem, then and only then, design becomes even more valuable to the market.

Because of its perceived value, people would be even more willing to pay for the services. This might be dreaming, yes...but I would seriously question my character if I had the power to change something but I refused to do so based solely on the almighty dollar.

Just saying.