Why I Love GiveCamp Weekend!


by Gerard Sychay

The 2013 Southwest Ohio Givecamp takes place October 18-20. I will be there representing Differential.

If you're not familiar with Givecamp:

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.

The Cincinnati-area Givecamp started as a satellite arm of Grand Rapids Givecamp a few years ago when Ed Sumerfield hastily gathered a few folks and a few snacks together in his office one weekend. Matt Brewer & Ryan Cromwell have since taken the reins, and I've participated in every Givecamp that I could since that first one. I look forward to it every year.

Why do I love GiveCamp weekend, and why should you volunteer this year?

  1. Volunteer with your craft. While there's definitely a place for volunteering by painting a house, cleaning up trash, or spooning out soup, I'd much rather be coding. So what better way is there to feel good about myself than to volunteer by doing something that I enjoy? And the tasks typically required by the non-profits are easy and very doable within a weekend. They are much easier than, say, starting a company in a weekend.

  2. Meet great people. Just like StartupWeekend, I get to meet lots of new and interesting friends, and even hang out with some old ones.

  3. Eat well. Of course, the Givecamp team keeps me well-nourished—or maybe just snack-filled—and well-hydrated with plenty of snacks, beverages, and meals. There's also plenty of comfy couches for that power nap.

  4. Write successful software. By (my) definition, software is only successful when it is needed and usable. (I have a great presentation on this topic), in case you're interested.) Non-profits and charities have lots of needs, but their IT needs typically are very simple. So I get to write some of the most successful software I will ever write, and afterwards I feel 100x better than after spending weeks on a work project that nobody knows about and nobody cares about to migrate some weird data format to another weird data format.

    I have never seen a Givecamp non-profit not act absolutely elated and eager over what their team has produced after the weekend.

Givecamp weekend is a lot like StartupWeekend. Only it's less stressful, and when the weekend's over, you can feel like you built something is likely to bring delight to its users. So if you're a techie, go volunteer. If you're a non-techie, go volunteer. There's plenty of things to do, and you may be able to learn some coding or UX. And if you're a non-profit, there's still time to sign up.

See you in October!

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