GR GiveCamp at The Factory

This year over 100 volunteers helped 17 non-profits develop new websites, establish databases, improve marketing initiatives, and more, through Grand Rapids Give Camp. The annual event connects local-area non-profits to the community. Technology professionals donate their time to providing much-needed technology assistance to the non-profits in the form of new websites, databases, etc. This year, volunteers provided an estimated $250,000 in services.

The event started Friday evening with volunteers meeting their non-profits and other team members for the first time. After some initial plans and discussion, many groups got right to work. While there are often large visions for the projects, the event organizers emphasized setting goals which could be accomplished within the weekend. Energized and excited to get started, some attendees even stayed the night on Friday so they could work longer on their projects.

Factory members, Jason Wagner (@wagnerjasonr) and Dave Groulx (@dhgroulx) look over a project

Getting down to business was the focus on Saturday. Flush with locally-catered food and plenty of caffeine, the teams began knocking out their various goals for the weekend. The Factory was abuzz with activity as volunteers quickly worked their way down their to-do lists. With the 2:00pm Sunday deadline approaching quickly, many volunteers decided to stay the night on Saturday to continue to get more work done.

On Sunday, teams worked quickly to finish up the last details on their projects. Many of these non-profits will start to use these projects as soon as the weekend is over. With that in mind, many teams spent Sunday working on training and documentation. The goal of the weekend is not only to have working projects, but sustainable projects as well.

Factory resident, Bob of Tinypint (@tinypint) shows one of the two sites that he helped create this weekend. Apologies for the colors, the site is blue, not a weird green. 🙂

The final part of Sunday ends with the presentations by the non-profits and the volunteers of their projects. While the projects covered a variety of different areas, some examples included: a website redesign for the ICCF, an online camper management application for Camp Blodgett and a interactive map for Read Asia.

“The passion and energy of the GiveCamp organizers–their hours of conceptualizing and preparation– are what set GR GiveCamp apart from any other socially-focused event in Grand Rapids,” said Jessie Emelander, development director of the non-profit Read Asia, which is helping to provide literacy programs throughout Asia. “We discovered a lair of socially-minded, gifted individuals in Grand Rapids, who helped create a product that could transform the way we serve the marginalized– half a world away in India.”

The event was a great success. Several Factory members participated in the event again this year and we really enjoyed hosting the event in our space once again. The event is great for the community and we look forward to being a part of events like GR Give Camp in the future.