Here is our listing of frequently asked questions about GiveCamp. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please feel contact givecamp@live.com via email or IM.

What is GiveCamp?

GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where software developers, designers, and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for non-profit organizations. There is a short informational video at the bottom of our  Home Page that explains more about the GiveCamp idea.

Who started GiveCamp?

GiveCamp was an idea hatched by Chris Koenig, Developer Evangelist for Microsoft, as a way to try to channel the raw energy of the local Dallas developer community towards something that would benefit the local community. Dallas ASP.NET User Group leader Toi Wright organized and ran the first ever GiveCamp, calling the event “We Are Microsoft Charity Challenge Weekend” in January of 2008. At that event, we served 18 charities with over 80 developers to great success!

Why did you start GiveCamp?

Developers code – it’s what they do. GiveCamp was started as a way to try to channel that raw energy and passion for development towards something that would benefit local communities.

When and where are the next ones?

Check our Home Page for a listing of upcoming events and a map of all the GiveCamp cities!

How do you select non-profits for GiveCamp?

The selection of the non-profit organizations that participate in GiveCamp is determined by each organizing event. Each group has different criteria for selecting non-profits than others. Generally, though, we try to select non-profits where we can achieve the greatest impact by helping them out. A charity without a website is more likely to get selected than a charity with an extensive web site. We also look at the request that’s being made – we try to focus on getting very clear requirements on what the non-profit is looking for and is something that can be achieved over a marathon-coding weekend by a team of approximately 5 developers.

How can developers help?

Developers are the life-blood of GiveCamp. In its current state, GiveCamp is all about building websites for non-profits. Developers can help by volunteering to be a developer for an upcoming GiveCamp event in their area, bring in their own team to work a GiveCamp event, or even by contacting GiveCamp.org to volunteer to work on the GiveCamp website! There are also opportunities to help organize and run your own GiveCamp event, if none exist in your area – for help on that we have a GiveCamp Cookbook to help new GiveCamp organizers learn best practices from those that have run GiveCamp events in the past.

How can non-developers help?

There are several ways that non-developers can help. Before the event begins, there is a LOT of work required to organize everything for the GiveCamp weekend. We can always use a few extra “business analysts” to rev iew the participation submissions made by non-profit organizations and help in the selection committee. On the day of the event, you also have a few choices for helping out. First, volunteers are usually needed to help with things like setting out food, stocking the refrigerator, cleanup, blogging, podcasting and generally just checking up on the teams to see how they’re doing. If you do have some technical skills that are not programming skills, the GiveCamp events are usually very much in need of web designers to help make the web sites they’re building look great. Web designers will also often get the extra benefit of working on multiple web site projects during the weekend. DBAs are also often valuable. They too will often get a chance to work with multiple teams and share their skills with multiple non-profits. The bottom line is – if you want to participate in a GiveCamp event, we’ll find a way for you to do it!

What tools can developers use to build applications at GiveCamp?

This depends on the event, but in general you can use whatever tool you have handy. Some events focus on a specific technology – like Microsoft .NET – to develop the web applications, so using tools like Expression Web or Visual Studio are often very valuable. GiveCamp does not typically provide the developer any tools, so you’ll need to bring those yourself. We do, however, have some great partnerships with several companies that have software packages that developers might find valuable including control toolkits and ready-to-go CMS packages.

12 Responses to FAQ

  1. It was because of this website that I had the courage, and some might say stupidity, to start the Give Camp in Southern Maryland. I know that I am going to make mistakes, but without this information I would have made SO MANY more. Thank you Toi and Chris for giving us a baseline.

  2. You did a FANTASTIC job Jim, everything went VERY smoothly. I now feel like between this and the experience at Crisis Commons I have the courage to do a similar event in Northern Virginia. I had started planning a while back but now feel the Give Camp format matches what I want to be involved with.

  3. Dave Leininger says:

    Please add Indy GiveCamp to the list. We are ready for the weekend of November 5-7, 2010, and the site is freshly active at http://IndyGiveCamp.org.

  4. GiveCamp says:

    Done! Good luck on your event, and thanks for supporting GiveCamp!

    /ck

  5. toyin says:

    Please add Austin GiveCamp to the list. We are at http://austingivecamp.com and @atxgivecamp.

  6. Tricia Rhodes says:

    Please add River City GiveCamp to the list. We are at http://www.rivercitygivecamp.org and are hosting our Richmond, VA based event on 02/04/11-02/06/11.

  7. Irwin Hurst says:

    Please add Pittsburgh GiveCamp to the list.
    http://www.pghgivecamp.org/
    July 15-17th 2011

    thanks

  8. Mizrallen says:

    As a teacher,Human Services grad student* looking to work in a “not for profit”, faith( in a personal higher power) based after school, nights, weekends, release days, and summer break safe place for kids and their families. My house will be known to all children for any reason and parents who need a break to ensure their child’s safety at a moments notice.   The neighborhood I am hoping to open up in is so behind in everything! It is embarrassing how these kids/families have been neglected until the weekend tornadoes wiped out their meager shelters which they called “home”.   I am trying to find any city with an open spot to attend this gift of learning and collaborating you are offering.  I am willing to come early, set up anything other than computer stuff-I am 54 and often feel like I am living in Jane Jetson’s world-great ideas but not realistic -haha!  If there have been any cancellations, please contact me-I will find a way to get to any city with space.  I know anything I can bring back to these kids/teens/ and at least 5 young (15-19 years old with 1-4 babies under 3 years old) moms will generate a spark and who knows what might happen from there?!?  A chance to succeed, to know a future can be more than a dream, being able to help their children with school work, and being proud of skills learned, practiced and mastered with just a little help from a middle-aged (ugh-yucky word) grand-daughter of everyone’s favorite “gama” at church and the really, really smart people providing the opportunity for her to learn! Thanks in advance for this  opportunity!   “mizallen@gmail.com” – please let me know asap if you have a spot for me!  Thanks!

  9. Sanfordtarak says:

    Are you having an event in Ann Arbor for 2012? 

  10. Bethanyvananda22 says:

    Will there be a 2012 National Day of Giving?

Leave a Reply