As I type this message, there’s a group of volunteers gearing up to spend the next 48 hours hyped up on Caffeinated drinks, gorged on Pizza and sandwiches and busily typing away on keyboards, strategizing on whiteboards and tackling problems for the greater good. No, I’m not talking about a World of Warcraft marathon gamer weekend, I’m talking about GiveCamps!
This weekend we’ll see the Dallas GiveCamp, Grand Rapids GiveCamp, Colorado GiveCamp and Arizona GiveCamps all happen.
What’s a GiveCamp you ask?
A GiveCamp is a weekend event where technologists (like designers, developers and database administrators) and marketers and web strategists all donate their time to build a full solution for a non-profit organization. At each GiveCamp there’s generally a number of charities or non-profits involved. GiveCamps have been happening since 2007 and are the result of the hard work of Chris Koenig who started the concept. Chris works for Microsoft DPE and with some hardwork and the help of other like minded individuals has built an amazing idea into a wonderful opportunity to help those that need it most! The idea of web professionals coming together to do something for charities that helped deliver true value for these charities quickly took off and there’s over 30 GiveCamps now.
What’s Applied Innovations got to do with this?
I first learned about the GiveCamps in early 2010 from Danilio Diaz who asked us to help sponsor the Philly GiveCamp by providing free hosting for the GiveCamp developers to build websites for the charities during the event. He explained to me the concept and I immediately offered to not only provide hosting during the event but to provide a full year of hosting for every charity or non-profit involved in the event that needed it. Each year since then the number of non-profits and charities has increased as has the number of GiveCamps we’ve sponsored. I think we’ve sponsored probably close to 100 GiveCamps over the past three years and helped out hundreds charities in the process.
If you’re thinking “Wow Jess, great way to hook a customer, give them a year free and then convert them to an expensive hosting plan.” that’s not the case at all. You see, I believe our company has been extremely fortunate to grow and thrive as we have and as such it’s our responsibility to help such organizations, so each year we donate hosting to every give camp and non-profit they help and each year we offer to renew the hosting for those organizations for another year free of charge. We do of course, renew it year to year but that’s because we’re only able to donate so much hosting (let’s face it, datacenters, employees, bandwidth providers, hardware vendors are all good people but they want to get paid) and we want to make sure the hosting is still being used by the charities and if it’s not then we’re able to free it up and make it available to another charity. Today, I’m happy to say we’ve never had to revoke free hosting from a charity and to the best of my knowledge none have left.
How can you help?
So are you a web developer, or just knows how to use WordPress? Do you code applications for a living or just develop DNN websites on side? Are you an SEO guru, Web Marketing expert or just know what it takes to get to the first page of google? Then GiveCamps are a great opportunity for you to give a little of time, network with other great professionals in your area, have some fun and most importantly help a non-profit or charity in a way that makes really makes a sustainable difference!
For more information about GiveCamps visit: www.givecamp.org. If you can’t find one in your area or want a pointer on how to reach a GiveCamp organizer near by that can help you start one up, let me know and I’ll be happy to make some introductions.
Of course, if you’re already involved in a GiveCamp and need some hosting help for your own GiveCamp, by all means reach out.
Oh and to those of you that are involved in a GiveCamp this weekend or one of the past or upcoming ones.. KUDOS TO YOU! Giving of yourself is one of the best things you can do and is truly the best way to give thanks for your own blessings!