Web developers design for good this weekend

    For many, Martin Luther King Jr. Day means community service. For web developers, that means coding. At the second Philly Give Camp this weekend, about 70  developers will gather to build and improve websites and user-friendly content management systems for area non-profits.

     The coffee will be flowing freely.

     “We definitely encourage people to stay as long and as late as they can,” said Vince Paglione, one of the event’s organizers.

     Fueled with Red Bull and snacks – and the promise of doing good – Paglione hopes this year, developers will pull long hours to help about a dozen Philadelphia-area charities. Paglione volunteered last June at the first Philly Give Camp because he wanted to use the skills he learned at work to do some good. He says after slogging away on long-term projects at work, it can be refreshing to create something useful so quickly.

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     “Most people are just really excited about it,” Paglione said. “They see it’s an incredible opportunity for them to do something that there’s almost instant gratification.”

     Developers are assigned a non-profit ahead of time, and told the project they’ve been asked to complete so they have time to brainstorm.

     Christine Richman is with Career Wardrobe, a group that provides professional clothing and job-search training to women transitioning from welfare to work. She’s asked for help in developing a virtual version of volunteer orientation to help boost volunteer participation.

     “We have come to realize that attending the orientation in house is a big stumbling block to a lot of our volunteers,” Richman said. “So we’re hoping to eliminate that stumbling block with the online orientation.”

     Richman will spend the weekend at Give Camp as well.  She’ll be shooting the orientation video on site while developers build the platform to host it.

     Many non-profits don’t have the time, staff or expertise to build what they need to manage volunteers or databases online, so they’re happy to have user-friendly web systems developed for them. Philly’s Give Camp is one of 14 being held around the country this weekend, and in addition to the development help, simulcast seminars will train non-profit staffers on using social media networks effectively.


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