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A dream to a reality: 48 websites in 48 hours

Posted 16 October 2015 9:00 AM by Sal Aparo @MoxieUSA,

Being a Web developer, it is not often that an opportunity arises to use my direct skill set to give back to the community. However, I recently got the chance to do just that by participating in the first annual 48in48, held in Atlanta, Ga. For those unfamiliar with 48in48, it is the concept of bringing together developers, designers, project managers and others to build 48 websites for nonprofits in 48 hours. When I first heard about the event, it seemed rather ambitious and daunting. How can you possibly create 48 websites in only 48 hours? It was clear that industry support was needed if this goal was to be met, and I jumped at the opportunity to put my skills to the test and lend a helping hand. Along with other local volunteers we gathered for kickoff on Friday evening at our host site, the gracious General Assembly within Ponce City Market. Shortly afterwards, volunteers with varying skill sets signed on to specific nonprofits and began working vigorously.

Project managers began setting up client calls with representatives from the nonprofits, designers started pouring over imagery and developers started configuring staging environments. The level of engagement from the volunteers was a thing of beauty — dozens of people working towards the same goal, lending a helping hand.

I signed up to work with Central Advocacy and Outreach Center (CAOC), an organization tackling homelessness in Atlanta. I contacted a representative from CAOC, and we went over the vision for the site. 48in48 predetermined that all of the websites would be WordPress-driven to aid with the development time and ease of content management post-handoff. I spent my initial hours adding the client-provided content and imagery to a base WordPress theme.

The next step was to sit down with my partner designer, Enriquez, and discuss look and feel. It was important that we got this portion of the project absolutely right. The site needed to be easy to use, simple, clean and eye-catching — all while conveying the correct message. We bounced ideas off our nonprofit’s representative, which helped ensure cohesiveness.

The work remained steady throughout the weekend, but the event organizers and good folks at General Assembly did a fantastic job of providing mental breaks. Food, quiet rooms, raffles and even toiletry products were all provided 24 hours a day. Some people chose to work through the nights, while others chose to segment their days. No matter the cadence, everyone participating was striving towards providing the nonprofits with an alternate way of getting their messages out into the world.

The event concluded Sunday evening and was a huge success. I’m proud to say that all 48 sites were code complete, with a few minor tweaks here and there. There will be a handoff process with each nonprofit in the near future, upon which they will be trained on how to update their site’s content. I helped deliver over $1.2 million of value to these nonprofits in merely a weekend of my time. Imagine what you could do with yours.

48in48 is actively working on expanding this event to other cities across the country, and you can find the organization online at http://48in48.org/

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