how to give half your work away for free – By matthew manos


How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free is a book that aims to open-source the 50% pro-bono business model invented by Matthew Manos known as the “double-half” methodology. The toolkit is broken into four primary sec – tions that each aim to represent the inner-working of the model from drastically different perspectives. The origins of this business model reside in verynice, a global design and innovation consultancy that gives over half of its work away for free, but components of the methodology have now been leveraged by hundreds of service-providers across the globe who, together, are re-defining “philanthropy.”

“At verynice, pro-bono work isn’t something that employees do off the clock, with or without incentives. Rather, it’s just business as usual.” – Forbes Magazine


What: Defining the Model

In a cross-discilpinary effort that spans a series of definitions, visualizations, narratives, and traditional business modeling, “what” defines the double-half methodology along with its various components.


How: Frequently Asked Questions

Pulling from hundreds of questions submitted by entrepreneurs from all around the world that are currently implementing this pro-bono model, answers that fit within a wide range of topics are delivered.


Why: Beyond Opportunity

We know how and what, but why? Sure, a 50% pro-bono business model is possible, and it exists, but what is the meaning of it? “Why” takes a more theoretical stance on the model and explores its potential for impact.

“This is not only revolutionary, it is necessary. We must expand this vision of what a business can do. We must learn to include this cyclic philosophy of receiving and giving in order to face the upcoming world challenges.” – Carlos Miceli, Former Innovation Advisor, Buenos Aires.

“verynice continues to serve as tremendous inspiration for us. Without them we would not have pursued building in pro-bono offerings within the core of our business. Our business model has greatly evolved because of the guidance we continue to receive from verynice.” – Jasmine Youssefzadeh, Founder & CEO of Filmanthropos

“verynice’s dedication to pro-bono is unparalleled in the business community.” – Jennifer Kang, Taproot Foundation

This is boldly conceived, admirably executed, and eloquently described. Thanks and well done.” – Dr. Stuart Candy, Futurist & Experiential Designer.

“Give away half of your work for free? Huh? Why? Can you? Yes you can. Matthew Manos is doing it with his design consultancy, and doing well. He now wants to help others do it too. Then we’ll all be better off. Trust me. ” – Viktor Venson, Founder of No Right Brain Left Behind.

“The notion of giving back–not as an afterthought, but an integral part of business is, to me, a radical and wonderful idea. It can change an individual and a community, indeed the world. To replicate the verynice business model is to amplify all that good and creativity.” – Karen Slovin, Real Estate Marketing Professional

artists from the verynice community interpret “give half away”
featured “success stories” of businesses that are giving half away

verynice’s infamous 50% pro-bono business model (the “double-half methodology”) has inspired thou - sands of entrepreneurs from around the world to engage in pro-bono work. The following three busi - nesses, in particular, are showing inspirational growth through their 50% pro-bono commitment.

No Typical Moments, LLCempowers the world with possibility by offering digital marketing solutions to organizations that are pushing humanity forward.

Soul Bucketis a branding and design studio that works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to establish a meaningful and powerful brand.

filmanthroposis a multi-platform storytelling production studio that humanizes social issues through creative uses of film and new media.

about the author


Author: Matthew Manos


Printer: TypeCraft Wood & Jones

Design: Kate Slovin

Editors: Lorie Manos, Ashley Rubell, & Karen Slovin

Research Associate: Sheena Yoon

Additional Illustrations: Amanda Fung, Jeannette Wiley, Larry Buchanan, Daniel Everett, Aldis Ozolins, Shuana Lynn Panczysyn, Jarad Solomon, Alisa Olinova, Cris Bernabe-Sanchez, Zoe-Zoe Sheen

Special thanks: Bora Shin, Jeff Manos, Taproot Foundation, GOOD Magazine, Billion+ Change, Andrew Gottlieb, Alina Leang, Jasmine Youssefzedah

Matthew Manos is a neo-philanthropist, creative director, and social entrepreneur that is dedicated to disrupting the way the design industry operates. Manos began his free – lance design career at the age of 16, which is the same year he took on his first pro-bono client, and launched his first company. Three years later, he founded verynice, a global design and innovation consultancy that dedicates over 50% of its efforts toward free services for non-profit organizations. Manos has helped build over 300 brands in every sector and industry across the globe, and his studio works with a diverse clientele that range from Fortune 500 companies to small local shops. As of 2013, verynice has also provided over $1,000,000 worth of pro-bono design and consulting services in 40+ countries spanning 6 continents to benefit 200+ organizations thanks to a team of 250+ people located around the world. Notable clients of verynice have included The United Nations, NASA, MTV Networks, Edison International, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, UNICEF, Disney Imagineering, and Human Rights Campaign.

Matthew’s work and ideas have been published in 150+ print and online venues internationally including Forbes, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Wired Magazine. Manos speaks regularly at events and institutions across the United States including a well-recieved TEDx talk in 2012 titled ”Reinterpreting the Role of a Designer.” Representative of his passion for connecting the fields of design and business, Manos pioneered the first class on entrepreneurship in the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture in 2012, and continues to teach the course. He holds a BA in Design Media Arts from UCLA (2010), and an MFA in Media Design from the Art Center College of Design (2012). Matthew is also the co-author of “a verynice guide to nonprofit business

development,” an acclaimed resource developed for nonprofits that aims to fundamentally shift perspectives and methodologies related to the leverage of business acumen in the social sector. The guide has been used by hundreds of organizations around the world.

Outside of verynice, Manos is also the creator of Decks for Parks, a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) solution for skateboard manufacturers looking to give back. Decks for Parks is a dynamic business model that enables skate brands nationwide to develop their brand while raising funds for the building of skateparks in low-income areas. So far the model has been adopted by one brand in the Silicon Valley. Most recently, in 2012, Manos launched a new social enterprise, “That’s an Awesome Resume,” in order to create the first affordable resume outsourcing solution for college students. 25% of all proceeds benefit non-profit organizations that are cultivating the next generation of leaders. The company, like Decks for Parks, is a side-project, but it has already had international impact.

Aside from working as a serial-entrepreneur, Manos has also had proven success as an “intrapreneur” in the non-profit sector. In 2009, Matthew founded the Marketing & Communications division of Youth Leadership America. Over the course of three years, the Marketing team grew to house a staff of 10 designers, writers, and strategists. Manos served as the VP of Marketing for the non-profit for over 2 years, and now serves as an advisor to the marketing team. During his tenure with the organization, YLA has expanded from one program to 3 programs across California. Similarly, in 2010, Manos launched the Marketing division for The $100 Solution, and he served as the Global Director of Marketing for almost two years.