I think we all know how difficult it is to make a fantastic website. Sure, you can have all the best business plans, social schmoozing skills, or creative ideas, but these days people don’t judge a book by its cover…they judge by your webpage. This can be problematic for those unable to pay for the best web designers. That’s right, we’re talking about you, Nonprofits! A good web presence is essential and expensive, so it’s no wonder nonprofit groups often put webpages together themselves. Having a sub-par website could really end up hurting the effectiveness and reach of these companies, and this is exactly what we don’t want to happen to our hardworking nonprofits. This is where The Nerdery comes in.
The Nerdery is a firm who partners with “advertisers, marketers, and other people with big plans to build award-winning interactive projects.” This interactive firm started a fabulous nonprofit event called the Overnight Website Challenge in the Twin Cities in 2008, and is pleased this year to add a Chicago-based event as well. Nonprofits are selected to participate based on their web needs and the case they make for themselves. At the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, volunteers from the company form teams of 8-10 web pros to be randomly assigned a nonprofit to serve for the next 24 hours. Then, the fun begins! In the next 24 hours, the team talks to the nonprofits, assesses their needs, and helps organize content, working together to form a new and improved webpage for each participating nonprofit.
Watch their intro video here: The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge: An Overview
I had the pleasure of talking to Mark Malmberg from the Nerdery about his previous experience and expectations for this year’s Website Challenge. Says Mark about the beginnings of the Nerdathon:
“We did our first Overnight Website Challenge in the Twin Cities in 2008, then again in 2009, 2010 and 2011. It’s grown a bit each year as more and more volunteers have signed on. Our VP of marketing, Mark Hurlburt, came up with the idea, and The Nerdery is the kind of place where such ideas can really take off. It’s been a great way for us to use our time and talent to support organizations that serve our communities. We’ve met many other like-minded nerds through the event, as volunteers come not only from our army of web pros, but also, developers from throughout the web dev community. -Mark Malmberg, The Nerdery
The event atmosphere truly seems like a dynamic meeting of creative minds and high-energy idea exchanges. This is one of the things that makes the Website Challenge unique. Says Mark,
“We’re a growing company, always have been, and the Challenge has given us a welcome sort of nerd cred among fellow developers that’s been great for recruiting. Besides, we have the sort of web nerds who’ll spend the wee hours of their weekends tinkering with websites anyway, so why not get them together and help some worthy orgs at the same time?….The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge is not a fundraising event. We’re doling out nerdy deeds done dirt cheap. For the rather reasonable price of a good night’s sleep, the nonprofits have at their disposal a team of 8-10 web professionals for 24 hours, in a row – I call that a bargain.” -Mark
What a dynamic and creative company that gives back! The Nerdery get our Zealous Awesomeness Award for the month, and we encourage you to check out the nonprofits involved, and well as the wonderful web pros involved at this year’s Chicago Nerdathon. Special thank-you to Mark for taking the time to tell me about the event and answer some of my questions! Nerd on!