Why 30 Nonprofits Chose to Be Hacked
In three 24-hour hackathons, 30 nonprofits teamed up with teams of professional web developers who volunteered their time and expertise to revamp the organizations’ websites free of charge.
Redesigning a website can be a challenge even for organizations with plenty of resources. But for nonprofits low on staff and funds, a web redesign can be something of a pipe dream.
To help some of these organizations reimagine their digital calling cardsnprofit websites. It actually hosted three hackathons, onreimagine , interactive development firm the Nerdery hosted its ninth, 10th, and 11th Overnight Website Challenges last weekend to completely overhaul 30 nonprofit websites.
The participating nonprofits “basically throw out what they had before and get a reimagined website,” said Nerdery Communications Director Mark Malmberg. “Hopefully it’s something that will better serve the organization, and hopefully it’s something that can help them do what they do better, whether it’s raise money or build community or organize or communicate or all of the above.”
The three 24-hour hackathons were held in Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, near the Nerdery’s headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota. The events capitalized on the skills and expertise of volunteer web professionals and developers who provided the free service.
“We think that by doing what we do for these organizations, we can have a bigger impact beyond a dollar amount, and the pro bono services help these companies do what they do better, not just that night or for a year but on an ongoing basis,” Malmberg said.
Participating nonprofits were chosen by an independent panel of judges selected from among leaders in the nonprofit and development communities, and teams of developers formed organically through coworkers and friends.
By the time of the 24-hour hacking marathons, nonprofits and developers had already met to talk about what each organization is looking for, and the heavy development work began. It was a high-energy, intense period of serious work, mixed in with a few diversions like games and even the occasional massage, Malmberg said.
When the 24 hours was up, teams began submitting the URLs of the finished websites as well as testimonials describing the experience. Next, the same panel of judges that selected the nonprofits will critique the projects and honor teams for best design, greatest functionality, and best in show during an awards ceremony later in the month.
“The teams, they’re professionals—they treat these nonprofits like a client and talk to them in depth in the beginning about who their audience is and what they’re trying to accomplish and then go about doing it,” Malmberg said. “It’s more than ideas. [The organizations] come away with a website that is completely different.”
(via The Nerdery's Facebook page)