Centric Cincinnati Team Members Donated Their Time to Build and Update Websites for Non-Profit Organizations at the Annual Southwest Ohio GiveCamp, a “Geeks Giving Back” Event

Every year in October, Miami University’s Voice of America Campus is home to a weekend of “geeks giving back” where technical professionals volunteer their time and talents through an event called Southwest Ohio GiveCamp.

This was the sixth year that Centric Cincinnati participated at GiveCamp, which pairs IT gurus with non-profit organizations that can’t afford professional IT help. Together, they join forces to rapidly solve technical issues for the non-profits.

This year, 13 non-profit group received help from 96 professionals, which equaled 2335.25 hours of work or $233,525 worth of donated time. GiveCamp leadership estimates they broke the $1 million mark this weekend for services delivered to the non-profits during the program’s seven years.Centric Cincinnati Gives Back in Southwest Ohio GiveCamp

Updating Websites for a Cause

Many of the charities had existing websites that needed to be updated.

Brian Starr of the Cincinnati BU, who participated for his sixth year in a row, served as the de facto team lead for six other Centric folks who worked on a variety of projects to benefit our community.

Starr said that the organization he worked with this year, Santa Maria Community Services, “had spent some money on a contractor who never completed the work and left them with nothing they could use.” Thankfully under Brian’s leadership, Santa Maria Community Service walked away with a brand new website that was easy for them to maintain and enhance themselves. You can check out that website here.

Brad Ward, Gautam Kulandaivel, and Ankita Singh similarly built a new website for Saints Peter and Paul Academy, a small Catholic school in Reading, Ohio. One of the major changes that Ward made for the school was using JotForms to transform the school’s existing PDF forms – which parents had to print, fax or mail – into fillable online forms. Ward says that now the “school can export the forms to Excel or other formats and report on them.”

Kulandaivel taught the school representatives how to utilize posts in pages on their website. He says that now the school “can create one post and use the content in different pages instead of different pages with the same content. By doing so they can add additional information in different pages on top of the common content.” You can check out Ward, Kulandaivel, and Singh’s work here.

Larry Wildey says that his team built “an ASP.Net MVC website with a database back end for the editable data” for the Civic Garden Center to maintain information on all of their gardens. He says that in this case the “primary concerns were more functional than aesthetic, and the admin users needed a way to easily edit data to maintain the information, so we built a login and series of admin features for users that were logged in.” His site can be viewed here.

How GiveCamp Works

Kevin Shaffer, who was involved for the second year in a row, says his favorite part of GiveCamp is “the interaction with the non-profit group” because “they really appreciate what we do for them. They were excited about the end product and couldn’t wait to use it.”

Like Shaffer, Kulandaivel says that the most meaningful part of the event is “seeing the happiness on their faces after seeing our work.” The charities receiving help from these “geeks giving back” would never otherwise be able to afford the work donated to them, and they are truly grateful for all the help they receive.

To receive help, charity organizations must complete a three-step application process that includes a detailed proposal and an interview with GiveCamp leaders. This process ensures that non-profit needs can be solved in a weekend by professionals who volunteer their time.

Learning from Each Other

Not only does this event give developers a chance to give back to their communities, but it is a time for them to network and get to know other professionals in their field. Larry Wildey said that the best part of the GiveCamp was “meeting other developers and seeing what they are interested in working on.” Ward agrees and is now connected on LinkedIn with another developer from his team and his team lead.

Wildley said it’s clearer than ever to him that: “It is far easier to accomplish large tasks in a group of like-minded and focused people than to try to take it on by yourself.”

Beyond networking, this is a great time for developers to teach and be taught. Shaffer said that he helped another volunteer with his Javascript to solve a menu issue and Starr was able to teach several people how to use WordPress. You can check out the WordPress site that Shaffer worked on for the Hyde Park Center for Older Adults here.

Both the developers and the charities left the Southwest Ohio Give Camp with a greater faith in their communities and in the generosity of the human spirit. As Kulandaivel puts it, “I learned perseverance, teamwork, and how awesome individuals are!”

About Centric Cincinnati

Our Cincinnati and Dayton teams brings the full breadth of Centric offerings to clients across industries in Southwestern Ohio and Kentucky.

There are a number of services we consider to be our specialty: Product / Process InnovationBusiness Improvement / Lean Six SigmaEnterprise Program Management, and Strategic Planning. Technology solutions include DigitalIT StrategyData & AnalyticsMobile Application Development, and Application Management and Outsourcing.

About Southwest Ohio GiveCamp

Every October, technical professionals meet at Miami University, Voice of America Campus to help other non-profit organizations with professional services. GiveCamp is a weekend-long event that brings together a community of volunteers who donate their time and talents to provide web and software solutions for local non-profit organizations.  Learn more about Southwest Ohio GiveCamp here.

Natalie Bullock - Centric ConsultingNatalie Bullock is a Consultant with Centric Cincinnati and a 2015 Carl H. Lindner College of Business graduate. Natalie has a passion for entrepreneurship and world travel. Before completing her MBA, she had visited more than 50 countries. 



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