From May 4th through May 6th, 2012, over 120 developers, designers, social media experts and other technologists (from across New England and beyond) donated their time and expertise to help 31 non-profit organizations in developing web sites, logos, print collateral, and other assets. This was the third and largest annual New England GiveCamp thus far and like the others was held at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center (NERD) in Cambridge MA.
Planning for the event began in earnest in February when the original call for non-profit submissions was posted on the GiveCamp website. A core team of volunteers, led by Kelley Muir, co-founder of New England GiveCamp and director of Float Left Labs, worked with the non-profit representatives to scope and define project plans prior to the weekend event. Volunteer registration opened in mid-March and quickly reached capacity with a waiting list. Ultimately, with the help of nearly three dozen sponsors, we were able to accommodate every non-profit organization that requested help and every volunteer that registered!
Prior to the event, project leaders had a few days to connect with their non-profit organizations, and volunteers had the opportunity to attend two webcasts presented by sponsors Twilio and Mashery on API services that might be relevant to some of the projects being worked on that weekend. The agenda for the weekend itself included:
- Friday night orientation and a workshop at which the non-profits and volunteers got to know each other and plan out their weekend tasks.
- Work, work, work: teams of volunteers and non-profit representatives scoped out a spot on the conference center floor to set up shop for the weekend - no corner was unoccupied (nor power strip unclaimed)!
- A number of volunteers shared their expertise in workshops on topics like WordPress and Drupal management, social media strategy, and web site security.
- Eat, eat, eat: six meals were provided through the weekend, including a burrito bar for the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on Saturday night (complete with pinatas!), and of course there were plenty of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks available 24 x 7.
- A running game of “infection” (a twist on Assassin) in which coveted Giant Microbes were awarded as prizes.
- Closing ceremonies in which teams showed off what they had accomplished during the one amazing weekend.
|I can definitely say this was one of the best work experiences / events I’ve ever attended.
– David Seah, volunteer
Despite this being the third time I’ve been a part of organizing this event, every year I am amazed and overwhelmed by the talents and altruism of the New England technical community. But don’t just take my word on how the event went; a number of our volunteers have shared their experiences in Tweets and blog posts:
New England Givecamp Non-Profits & Developers Make Magic (William Toll, @utollwi, on Yottaa blog)
The date for New England GiveCamp 2013 has already been announced – April 26-28th, 2013 – with a number of enhancements already being discussed! Be sure to keep up to date on the planning by following @NEGiveCamp on Twitter and the New England GiveCamp RSS feed.