Austin GiveCamp 2016

Through a friend at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, I heard about a program called Austin GiveCamp, which pairs professionals in the tech sector with non-profits to address challenges the non-profits may be having with their technology work.  The professionals donate their time - close to 20 hours - in a single weekend to rebuild or uplift websites, increase the ease of donating or getting involved, even creating logos.

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The SEED was lucky enough to be one of eight organizations chosen this year to participate, and we wrapped up our project nearly a week ago.  We actually had 2 projects.  First, we hoped to create an easier, more personal experience for donors.  We're hoping to get more people on monthly or yearly plans that contribute to our ability to do the great work at The SEED.

Our second project started with the underlying principle that, at The SEED, the voices of our participants are by far the most important voices within our organization.  I wanted to find a way for our participants' voices to be featured somewhat prominently and somewhat immediately.  

Our team met a week before the event, and I was pleased to share with them our philosophy, our objectives, and our hopes for GiveCamp.  I was even more pleased that they were excited to work with us.

During the event, our team - Kendall, Joe, Cherie, Tracy, and Srikant - worked with me and with one another to plow through loads of changes.  Srikant created profiles of volunteers, students, and donors to better understand our audience.  Joe put together wireframes that would demonstrate the navigability of the site.  Cherie and Tracy worked on our logo and modified the donation space.  Kendall made tons of changes to pathways and content on the site, including creating an English/Spanish toggle option.  I contributed what little I could, mostly answering questions that guided them in their work.

Of course, The SEED was well-represented by our participants.  Even though the office was far from our home in Dove Springs, we had three families come visit and help out during the event.  Many thanks to Ana and her family, Erika and her daughters, and Margarita, Enrique, their daughter Claudia, and their two grandkids.  

In all, the project came together within the time allotted, and all that's left is some translation, updating of photos, and a few tweaks to content.  I think the 'Get Involved' section of the website is a lot cleaner, and I'm happy with the blog comment section, too.  We're able to engage with one another about content from class, events in the world, and discuss future projects.  See the post from November 7 for an example.  

I'm thrilled to have been chosen by Ben and the rest of the Austin GiveCamp crew, who were all more than accommodating.  You'd be surprised how quickly 12 hours goes by when you have work to do, food to eat, and great teachers by your side.  

We, at The SEED, rely mostly on one another to do good work and create strong community.  Austin GiveCamp was a great reminder that there is capacity outside of our community that can deepen our impact.

The whole group of volunteers and organizations.  What a great group!

The whole group of volunteers and organizations.  What a great group!