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Finalize scope with partner

1-2 partners who you can work with and receive expert and user input from.

DFA UC Davis
1-2 partners who you can work with and receive expert and user input from.


A community partner is a local organization working within your project’s problem space. They are often experts in their field and have similar goals and interests. You can work with a community partner to connect with other experts, focus your research, and recruit users, many of whom are the users of the community partner as well!


Identify potential community partners
  • Create a list of 4-5 potential community partners from your secondary research findings, or by asking for recommendations from your faculty advisors and mentors.
Craft your message
Similar to pitching to users, how can you pitch to community partners?
  • Start with a warm, welcoming intro.
  • Share your personal connection to the challenge area.
  • Describe what Design for America is and what your studio is trying to accomplish this term.
  • Make a specific ask for an interview call or visit, suggesting a few specific times and dates in the next few weeks.
Schedule 2-3 calls or in-person meetings with community partners
  • Reach out to your list of potential partners to schedule a call or in-person meeting. Come prepared to the meeting with a few things:
  • Findings from secondary research on a few narrow problem spaces you are trying to explore further. See which area connects with the goals and recent efforts of the community organization.  
  • A hand-out or a one-pager of the DFA process phases that teams will be going through and the key deliverables along the way.
  • A communication plan on how you’d like to engage with the community partner throughout the term to set expectations on time commitment.  
  • What deliverables the community partner can expect from teams.
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The Loft has built-in tools to make sure your design project runs smoothly.

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