Many are familiar with Margaret Mead’s famous quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” A small group of technology professionals do just that on an annual basis when they commit themselves to volunteering for an entire weekend with GiveCamp Memphis. Originally founded in Texas in 2007, GiveCamp made its way to Memphis four years later when organizers, Adam Robertson and Brian Swanson, decided the Mid-South was long overdue for their own weekend-long event where designers, developers, database administrators, marketers and web strategists could donate their time to provide business improvement solutions for nonprofit organizations.
Each Fall, Memphis area nonprofits are invited to apply to participate in GiveCamp Memphis the following February. The base requirement for nonprofits to participate is that they are a 501(c)3. Beyond that, the only requirements are that the organization be part of the Greater Memphis Area, and that the project is one that can be accomplished over the course of a weekend. Projects that have been successful in the past include webpage creation and design, social media strategy, SalesForce integrations and mobile application development to name just a few. Each year, an average of 14 nonprofits are chosen to participate. Some examples of past nonprofit recipients include Porter Leath, Overton Park Conservancy, Opera Memphis, Memphis Area Coalition on Hunger, Junior League of Memphis and Volunteer Odyssey. Over the course of eight years, 64 Memphis area nonprofits have been served and a total of 7,728 hours volunteered.
“We had a phenomenal experience with GiveCamp Memphis” recalls Kim Halyak, Co-Chair of Cooper Young Garden Walk, a GiveCamp Memphis past recipient, “they created our website, designed our arboretum tree app and logo, and introduced us to marketing strategies and useful web applications to streamline our event management. For someone like me who doesn’t have any technology skills, it was really kind of fun to watch all of the volunteers put their expertise together and develop this wonderful thing that we as an organization would have never been able to create on our own.” Despite the weekend’s heavy tech focus, one thing current GiveCamp Memphis organizer, Lance Hilliard, likes to stress is that volunteers do not have to have a tech background to participate. Hilliard states, “I’ve really felt strongly about encouraging people to just show up with a selfless attitude, some humility and to be ready to work. We will take care of the rest.”
GiveCamp Memphis is entirely volunteer driven, so it’s a great opportunity for people to work together, develop new friendships and do something important for the community. “At the end of the weekend you have a nonprofit that is very happy to have participated, you have something you have created that you can be proud of, and you know that you have helped multiple organizations, as well as the larger community be better than they were on Friday night. I want more volunteers to experience that!” says Hilliard.
This year’s GiveCamp Memphis is scheduled for the weekend of February 28 to March 1, 2020 at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis campus. Nonprofit applications and volunteer registrations are currently open and can be accessed via the GiveCamp Memphis website at www.givecampmemphis.org.
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