In early May of this year, I stumbled on a blog post on LinkedIn talking about the lessons learned from participating in something called CreateAthon. The idea of a 24-hour, work-around-the-clock marketing push was intriguing and I immediately thought it was something worth reading more about. Having worked with so many nonprofit organizations in the past as a service provider, volunteer and board member, doing something as a part of Proximo Marketing Strategies to help seemed fitting. Since we’re a relatively new agency, we are always looking for new ways to get involved in the community and CreateAthon was new and different and national and we couldn’t turn town the opportunity.
These we’re all of the thoughts that went through my head, likely along with 50 other thoughts about how fun and rewarding it would be. Then I started reading even more about Riggs Partners, the agency who created CreateAthon; then I watched a video about CreateAthon and it almost brought me to tears. Watching the looks on the faces of those who had received pro bono help through the CreateAthon project was all it took for me to be sure this was something I wanted to be a part of. I thought it might take some convincing of my team, but I was pleasantly surprised to find everyone agreeing to come on board within just a couple of minutes of understanding exactly what it was all about. One of our summer interns even asked how she can be a part of the project when she gets back to school.
Then the planning began. Fortunately, through lessons learned from of all of the agencies that participated in the past, Riggs Partners had a great tool kit with lots of great advice to help us get started. While we were most interested in getting the press releases out and making sure our application was ready to be filled out, we immediate started to think about the types of organizations we wanted to help. In Williamsburg, we seem to be surrounded by them. There are so many that need marketing support and so many more that need whatever advice they can get on how to be better fundraisers or how to better advocate for their cause. A few weeks later, I was listening to a story on NPR about how one area Meals on Wheels had to cut back the number of meals they delivered to their clients from five to four a week as a result of cuts to their budget introduced by sequestration. It dawned on me that Meals on Wheels wasn’t likely the only organization that had to cut services to real people because of similar situations.
As we’ve planned and thought and prodded to introduce CreateAthon to our local 501c3’s we have only gotten more excited about the work we will be doing in October as part of the CreateAthon marketing blitz. We’ve enjoyed reading the applications and understanding the needs that organizations in our area face. We’re more aware of the focus we want to take when selecting organizations to work with and we can’t wait for October to come so we can get to work. We don’t know yet what impact we will have or what impact CreateAthon will have on us, but we are confident that when the time comes, a few tears will likely be shed.
As we get closer to the day and as we go through the process to select five nonprofit organizations to work with, we’ll keep you posted as to what’s going on and what we’re doing to make our first CreateAthon a memorable experience for our team and for the organizations we end up selecting. Until then, tell your friends in these area nonprofits about what we’re doing and let them know that they have until July 31 to submit an application. To read more about CreateAthon click here. To read more about Riggs Partners, the creators of CreateAthon, click here. To complete the online application to be a CreateAthon recipient or to download a paper application, click here. Now, get some sleep.