Tales of Tools and Tactics: Academic projects that benefit nonprofits

Tools and Tactics are replicable templates Connectors can use to multiply and amplify action and collaboration in their communities. We find they also make for great stories about people all over the world who are promoting good in interesting ways. 

Calling all educators and students! Providing real-world experience in the classroom is a good thing. What’s even better? Letting real nonprofits benefit from students’ pro bono work.

Below, Emily Hashimoto, alumna of Pratt Institute’s School of Information & Library Science, which offers degree programs to prepare students for professions in the quickly-changing fields of information management and digital innovation, shares her experience working on a pro bono project for a local nonprofit:


Pratt students get real in the classroom.
(image courtesy Emily Hashimoto)

Q: In your class on information architecture, you worked with a nonprofit to design their new website. What did you learn or, what surprised you during that experience?

A: I went into my class knowing I probably didn’t want to do that work professionally, but still wanting the experience. It was really exciting to learn skills as I went and to apply them immediately to a real-life scenario, especially for a small nonprofit who could really benefit from the knowledge we were bringing to the table. I also ended up with a much stronger interest in information architecture before the class’s end.

I was surprised by how fun it was to work in teams. Interestingly, I don’t think anyone on my team knew they wanted to go into this line of work, so we had fun with it in a way that perhaps other of our classmates didn’t, as they were looking to use this project in their portfolios. We’d break into our groups and eat snacks in the back, working hard but also having a great time. I was also psyched to bring my experience working for nonprofits into the fold. It might sound boring, but it’s really important where that “Donate” button is.

To learn more, read the Tool and Tactic here. Interested in becoming a Connector? Get started here!

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