- What is GiveCamp? GiveCamp is a weekend, community hackathon teaming developers, designers, and database professionals with non-profit organizations to provide pro bono custom programming solutions. The next New England GiveCamp will be held from Friday evening, November 6th through Sunday evening, November 8, 2015 at the Blue Metal Architects office in Watertown, Massachusetts.
- Where can I find more information about the history of GiveCamps? The first GiveCamp was held in Dallas in 2008, and since then many have been held annually around the country. The first New England GiveCamp was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts from June 11 through June 13, 2010, at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. The http://givecamp.org site contains additional information on the genesis and motivation for the event.
- How can I stay in the loop as New England GiveCamp unfolds? Follow us on Twitter at @NEGiveCamp, friend us on Facebook, and/or subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.
- What if I have a question that’s not addressed on this FAQ or web site? Email us at email@example.com.
2015 Event Specifics
- Where is this year’s event? New England GiveCamp will be held at the offices of Blue Metal Architects in Watertown Square, Watertown, Massachusetts, directly at the terminus of the MBTA bus Route 71. The building address is 9 Galen Street, however, if using a GPS, input 24 Pleasant Street, Watertown as the address to lead you directly to the parking lot.
- Why isn’t the event at Microsoft NERD anymore? The Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge was an awesome host for this event; however, due to liability reasons, Microsoft can no longer support overnight events. As GiveCamp alumni can attest, the “camp experience” is a key aspect of this event that we felt was important to retain.
- When does the event start? Official start time is 6 p.m., at which point you can come to register, grab some pizza and salad, and mingle with the other participants. Formal kick-off generally is about 7 p.m. or when we hit critical mass.
- Is there free parking? Yes, we have ample parking in a lot and garage adjacent to the building hosting the event.
- What type of projects can be done for us? Web sites, Content Management Systems, office automation, etc. The only real constraint is that the project must be achievable in the span of GiveCamp weekend.
- I have no idea what can be accomplished in the span of a weekend, can you help? Of course, please visit the Non-Profits page on this site for more information, including how to initiate a discussion with our volunteer business analysts to help scope your ideas so they are achievable at GiveCamp.
- How are projects selected? The process begins with your non-profit completing the application form that collects information on the nature of the proposed project. The primary constraint is the scope of the effort – it must be something that can be completed during the GiveCamp weekend. In addition to that, smaller organizations without an IT department or trying to establish (versus expand) a web presence are likely to be favored over established organizations; however, we encourage everyone to submit their requests for consideration.
- When will projects be selected? Project are selected beginning a month or two prior to the event.
- If selected, what do I need to do to prepare for GiveCamp? Leading up to the event, you should expect to spend a little time with your development team (either remotely or in person) to discuss the project to ensure a common understanding of the goal. Your development team may work with you to set up additional pre-requisites, such as registering a new domain name for a web site, finding a host company, and so on. Additionally, about a week before the event, expect to participate in a meeting (which will be accessible remotely) to go over last minute logistics for the event.
- If my project is selected, what level of commitment is there on my part at GiveCamp? As the ‘customer’ in this relationship, you are a vital member of the team. A member of your organization should attend the orientation meeting on Friday afternoon as well as the closing ceremonies on Sunday afternoon. We also invite you to be present at the GiveCamp to help answer questions from your development team, test the application as it’s being developed, provide additional direction, and perhaps receive some light training on maintaining the solution once it’s installed at your organization. If being on site for some subset of the event is impossible, we request that a representative of your organization be available remotely – via cell-phone, e-mail, etc. – as a resource for the development team.
- What happens after GiveCamp? At the end of GiveCamp, your development team will either have deployed your solution for you or turned over all of the programming artifacts so they can be installed and updated by your organization when you are ready. There is, however, no expectation that the development team will continue to work with you after the GiveCamp weekend to provide installation, bug fixing, or additional programming support.
- I don’t know a bit from a byte, what can I do? If you have the passion, we’ll find a place for you. On site, you can help with setting up meals, cleaning up, registration, photography, blogging, and just adding to the camaraderie. Prior to the event, there’s a lot of logistics and planning you can be part of. See the Volunteers page for ideas on how you might contribute.
- I’d like to contribute my technical skills, but I can’t commit for the entire weekend. Those assigned to a non-profit project are expected to be available for the entire GiveCamp experience; however, you can certainly drop in for a hour or a day to help out other teams, maybe do some ad-hoc training (for instance, on a given CMS) for the non-profit representatives in attendance, or just provide moral support.
- How do I sign up? Registration is via EventBrite, and we’ll open registration about a month prior to the next GiveCamp.
- Can I sleep in my own bed? Floor space to crash (or pitch a tent) and shower facilities are available for those who wish to stay on site; however, as observed at other GiveCamps many do go home at night (well, early morning!) and return the next day.
- What do I need to bring? Your laptop and your enthusiasm! We will have ample food (snacks and real meals) and drinks and coffee…lots and lots of coffee. If you’re spending the night, bring a sleeping bag, air mattress, and whatever toiletries you’ll need. Showers will be available as well, but be sure to bring a towel.
- What software will I need or use? This is up to you and the development team you are part of. Many of the sites created at GiveCamp are CMSes, so experience with packages such as WordPress and Drupal, and others will be helpful, but just a general background in development is all you need. Designers are especially in demand to craft user experiences and help with logos and branding. When you fill out the volunteer form, there will be a spot for you to indicate your level of expertise and favorite technologies, so we can match you appropriately with a non-profit organization and the other members of your team.
- Will Internet access be available? Yes, wireless access will be available.
- What type of sponsorships are available? The largest expense for GiveCamp will be food for the volunteers. There will be two days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, along with ample snacks and drinks throughout the event. A post-event reception for the non-profit organizations, volunteers, and sponsors is being planned as well. We also need sponsors to pay for items such as T-shirts commemorating the event and various other supplies over the weekend. Other items, such as pens, pads, books, software, gift certificates, etc. will gladly be accepted for giveaways throughout the weekend.
- What do I get for my sponsorship? Your organization will be highlighted on this GiveCamp website and your organization’s logo included on our event T-shirt. You are welcome to attend the orientation meeting on Friday evening (during which we will recognize each of the sponsors) as well as the closing meeting and post-event reception. You are also welcome to provide us collateral that we will hand out to the participants on site.
- Will there be press present? We are working on engaging local publicity outlets (newspaper, TV, etc.) to cover this event, which may result indirectly in PR for your company or organization.
- Can I write you a check or send money via PayPal? While PayPal (to firstname.lastname@example.org) is preferred, we can also accept checks in the name of our fiscal sponsor, Catching Joy. If would prefer to commit to sponsoring a meal or some other purchase, we can work with you to make a direct-to-vendor payment. Please contact us at NEGiveCamp@hotmail.com to discuss the level of sponsorship you are willing to provide, and we will facilitate putting your contribution to good use.