GR Give Camp

For many non-profits, one of the critical difficulties in finding either efficiency or growth (or both) for the mission is the lack of expensive, often tailored software.  Bad websites, or no databases for tracking donors, volunteers, or kittens (if you're a cat rescue). The issue is that very few foundations or individuals are particularly keen on giving $10-100k for software, especially when most of it typically has a useful life of 2-5 years, and then it's obsolete. 

Grand Rapids GiveCamp is very small, very humble group of people that try to cross the divide between expensive software and the non-profits that need it. Software developers, designers, and other digital specialists gather and volunteer an entire weekend to collectively solve the software problems for the non-profit participants. For many people, this is one of the few places where they can take their skills from work and apply it in a way that is directly helpful to the community. There is a monumental amount of caffeine and food that volunteers are bribed with. The food particularly is top notch. I should know, I help raise the money that pays for it, and I'm always there for dinner. Volunteers love the camaraderie, new challenges and chance to share ideas, but they come back for the food. 

Every year for the last five or six years I've been taking portraits of the people that participate and give the photo to each subject as digital swag to propagate their social media profiles and other needs. These are great people who do fantastic things that are really making a difference. 

http://grgivecamp.org/