This past spring, as we gathered feedback about The Overnight Website Challenge, one theme rang out strongly: We could deliver better results if there was more planning.
We took this feedback to heart and considered many ways to address it. Perhaps the teams could be paired up with their nonprofits earlier. Maybe the event needed to extend to multiple days. Or maybe the excitement of a 24-hour challenge would just always deliver limited results.
After much consideration, the concept of engaging more technologists for a new strategy and planning role took hold. This role allows a tech pro to meet with the nonprofit, discuss the organization and its technology needs, and prioritize the outcomes that can be achieved at the Web Challenge event.
We're excited about the potential of this effort:
- Enabling nonprofits to get the most benefit out of the technology services provided
- Helping web pro teams by providing more context about what to build, and why
- Engaging more technologists in helping the nonprofit community
To build out this plan, we partnered with the great minds from around the community, including Bill Brown from The Nerdery and Patty Radford Henderson. Together, we created a program that involves strategists leading at least one on-site visit (or video call) with their assigned nonprofit, to learn about the organization and its current technology platform. Strategists then write up a project brief - on a standard template - to assist the web pro teams on the day of the event. Then, at the event, strategists will be present for the first three hours of the day to hand off their work to the web pros.
We're excited to pilot this new role and learn from it. And we can't wait to see what happens as a result of more minds coming together, in new ways, to help our community.