How much work can you get done in 24 hours? You would be surprised. I had the privilege of serving as a mentor at the recently concluded Createathon VCU. In its 5th year Createathon is a VCU Mass Communications semester long project for students to learn the ins and outs of working with nonprofits. In the end 12 teams of students from VCU and VSU guided by Project Leaders reimagined, rebranded, and generally updated the look and feel and story of 12 nonprofits. While I did not manage to stay for the whole 24 hours I helped a few groups get started, guided a team for Virginia Advanced Study Strategies through some murky vision and mission work and sat through 6 critiques at 3pm. I retired home to sleep and revisited the groups in the morning for their final presentations.
There were stories of meltdowns and creatives breakthroughs and amazing things happening all night despite a messy 24 hour creativity blitz - the finished products were break taking. Clients cried, team leaders cried, and I got goose bumps. With nonprofits the mission and deployment of programs come first and often times the visuals are finished as an after thought. It is an amazing gift to hand a nonprofit a new image that conveys a story visually - it helps with general awareness, financial support and improves the overall feeling of legitimacy.
I was honored to work with the teams this year and will do my best to hang for the full 24 hours next year but in the meantime I can't wait for the final reception in May to see all of the work displayed and hear how it is helping nonprofits already.