Five Lessons Learned from Design for a Difference

Since Design for a Difference started, this movement has changed the lives of many different communities across North America. From the east coast to the west coast, designers, local businesses, and local non-profits have all experienced the difference a little kindness can make. In the spirit of learning more about the impact of DFAD, we want to look back at five lessons we have learned over the years.

Small Changes Make a Huge Impact

Not everyone is blessed with the resources and all the time in the world to accomplish their goals. However, everyone has the ability to do something small to change the life of someone else. We have learned that no donation of time, money or materials is too small. For example, by designing and giving local charities and organizations a small face lift, designers, IDG members, and volunteers were able to create more functional and valuable spaces for the communities they serve. You do not have to spend money or dedicate your life to one cause, just give what you can to those who need it, when you are able.

We are all Deserving

As we take a look back at all of the charities and communities we’ve helped, one thing is clear. We are all deserving of a space where we can feel safe, welcome, and happy. Because not everyone has the same opportunities, we’re incredibly proud to bring resources, funding, and volunteers together to make this possible for others. Whether it’s a local soup kitchen or a youth center, it doesn’t matter, and neither does the age or situation of the person – what matters is that we deserve to feel comforted!

Engage the Community

Donating your time or money to a cause is not the end all be all. You can give the most to your community by becoming engaged. Many people want to give but don’t always know where to start. Some examples of how you can become more engaged in your community include going to town meetings, listening to what others are asking for, and speaking with your neighbors. You can also reach out and engage your community by attending local charity and fundraiser events, or volunteering at your local homeless shelter. No matter what you choose to do, engaging the community will certainly be a rewarding experience!

It’s Not Always Easy but It’s Worth It!

Most people’s reason for not donating their time or money is because they don’t believe they can, or do not have the means. Giving back to your community does not have to be something of tangible value. Simply speaking up and making your community aware of a local organization can make a huge difference with very little effort. Simply spreading the word is enough for most local community groups. Follow that organization on social media and share their posts and recommend your friends to also follow them. You might just find this has a positive effect on how many people see their posts, and ultimately, how many members of the community become involved with the organization!

Giving Is Not Only Selfless, it’s Also Fulfilling.

From left: Patrick Ridgeway, Poppie Rodriguez, Bennie Rodriguez

For those of us who can give our time and money, we believe it is well spent on local community initiatives because you can actually see what your investment is going towards. Not only will it make you feel good, but it also may change the life of someone you know or do not know. It is human nature to be selfish, but it takes a special kind of person to go out of their way to make a difference in the life of a total stranger.