Friends of the CSPA and all around fantastic Resource, Re-Nourish, has this exciting update:
As the Pepsi Refresh Everything competition draws to a close,* the three of us have been doing a ton of talking, reflecting, questioning, and planning (and the occasional heavy drinking). As with our previous foray into the world of social media popularity contests, we’ve been grappling with the question of what is the best approach to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish? Which is, at it’s most simple, to build an efficient organization tasked with making graphic design a more sustainable industry.
That aim has gotten more complicated as we’ve gone through the planning and strategizing required for grant funding, legal paperwork filing, and so on. While a Refresh Everything grant would have opened a lot of doors for us, we’ve also come to believe that our mission will be best served by now investing our energy into more actionable growth strategies.
The organizational plan
Re-nourish didn’t start with some grand vision of changing the world. We started with three individuals who found each other because of our own inability to find the information we needed to make better decisions about our work. As we started answering our own questions and sharing resources, we realized there are a lot more people who might want and benefit from this information.
Our goal has always been, and remains, to provide good information—independent information—to those of you who want it, and to help you use that information to make better decisions in your design work. To do this effectively, we’ve decided that we must remain independent ourselves. While we’ll continue to work actively in the field as individuals, Re-nourish will become a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Being a nonprofit entity will allow us to work with the entire supply chain without the embedded risk of serving a private, commercial interest.
The programming plan
We want to be very careful about how we actually fulfill our mission. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel (there are a ton of incredible organizations who do really great work in this area), and we don’t want to just throw a bunch of stuff against the wall to see what sticks. Because our resources are so limited and our goalposts are so high, we need to work smarter, not harder. To this end, we’ve identified three primary areas of work that we feel will most effectively accomplish our mission:
Deliver reliable, vetted information about sustainable graphic design practice and theory (much of which is still in its infancy) to graphic designers, design students, and educators.
Develop practical tools to make integrating this information into day-to-day design work easier.
Connect designers to their supply chain to facilitate idea exchange, innovation, and thus real change, throughout the industry.
The challenge with all this, which is the same for most young organizations, is that of resources. That we’ve come this far without any formal funding, and with each of us working full time, is a testament to how important this stuff is to each of us. Either that, or it’s a testament to our psychosis.
The Pepsi competition represented an opportunity for us to shift from labor of love to structured organization. It seemed appropriate to choose a platform like Refresh Everything because everything we’ve done so far has been out in the open, with the engaged support of our fans and users. And regardless of where we placed (in the top 5% of projects, it might be worth pointing out), we feel the Pepsi campaign has been incredibly successful.
But now, we turn our attention forward. We’ll be spending the coming weeks writing our articles of incorporation and bylaws, building a board of directors to provide appropriate oversight, and developing specific programming strategies for the short and long term. Once the paperwork is filed, we'll begin a more traditional fundraising program, which will involve both grant seeking and turning to individual donations to help fuel our efforts. We expect this process to be somewhat slow going. We intend to be more consistent in terms of keeping everyone updated on our progress and specific plans. We also want to be very careful about how we handle fundraising, because we don't want to alienate the very people who have already shown us so much dedication and love.
Finally, as always, we want to thank everyone who has lent their support, shared their ideas and opinions, and offered help. Please, please continue to do so. If you would like to be involved in Re-nourish’s organizational growth, please email us at info (at) re-nourish (dot) com. And please, feel free to share your thoughts about this process in the comments below.
*We should point out that because we placed in the top 100 projects, Pepsi has automatically rolled our project into this month's competition. This means that if you'd like to, you're still more than welcome to vote for us each day of March.