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An in-house designer who really cares about your work could be super useful

Having a young in-house designer is a no-brainer. You can have them full-time, working on a varied set of projects throughout the year at a fixed cost - the return on investment is relatively high (in my personal opinion). If they are even a little good, your overall brand communications will improve tremendously. Your events can start looking better, your quick print and digital materials will feel more "put together," and your social media posts could also feel more visually engaging.

On top of all this, most designers who are starting out their careers have a keen interest in illustrations and/or photography. If they are able to harness these additional skills the right way, you could have them document your programs and projects on the ground and begin investing in stronger case studies (something all partners and funders are interested in).

Here’s a caveat - you need to find someone who is interested in driving social change, genuinely cares about your work, cares about content writing, and has a humble persona (designers tend to get very self-engrossed and overconfident at times). You can gauge all this at two stages: 1 - the way you write your JD, 2 - the interview rounds.

Things that will work in the NGO’s favor:

  • There are great design schools across India with promising talent.

  • The pay expectations from designers straight out of college will definitely match any NGO’s budget.

  • Other mainstream corporate and design agencies pay less and have a very weak work + team culture as compared to NGOs.

  • Young designers are looking for a greater purpose. "Designing for social change" will be a great incentive.

Things that are currently not in the NGO’s favor:

  • Graduates are still not aware that working in social impact organizations is a viable career option. You will need to find a way to raise awareness.

  • Designers are at times obsessed with their craft. You might find a highly talented designer who can execute good work, but their ethos and values may not align with your organization.

  • Designers are usually eager to work in silos / for themselves. They are always excited to freelance and/or explore new projects beyond what’s on their plate. There is a possibility of them leaving your organization sooner than you expect.

Good luck with your hiring!

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