(Photo via Facebook)
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Four years ago The Web Development Group, a web design and strategy company based out of Old Town Alexandria, decided it was time to do social good, and team building, differently. “We tried doing company picnics and outings,” founder Ab Emam said. “But it was hard to organize because no one had any time.”
And so the company started GiveBack DC, an initiative through which The Web Development Group gives selected local nonprofits a complete web makeover for free. Since the launch of GiveBack DC, The Web Development Group team has spent over 6,000 hours providing 10 nonprofits with over $500,000 worth of pro-bono web design work.
This coming Thursday, Oct. 8, The Web Development Group and its partners will celebrate a successful fourth year with their annual party at 1776. The event will feature networking and fundraising efforts as well as a debut of the new websites for this year’s three nonprofits — Bethany House of Northern Virginia, Critical Exposure and Semper K9.
The kind of skills-based philanthropy that GiveBack DC exemplifies benefits the nonprofits that it pairs with. But it is also quite personal for the team. “This is something we do internally to give back and feel good about what we do,” Emam said.
Emam hopes to inspire other companies to get involved in the community in this way as well — to convince them that lending a service can be more rewarding than donating money. In this vein, GiveBack DC has four partners and sponsors this year, all aiding in different areas of their mission.
1776 and General Assembly will help GiveBack DC with the running of Thursday’s event — 1776 will lend their space for the second time, and General Assembly, a new partner this year, is helping with publicity and logistics.
Meanwhile GiveBack DC’s two other partners this year, Blackmesh and GoodWorld, are lending their services on the web development side.
- Blackmesh, a web hosting company based in Virginia, has been a long-time supporter of GiveBack DC. Now in the fourth year of their partnership, Blackmesh provides one year of free hosting to each of GiveBack DC’s chosen nonprofits.
- GoodWorld, a D.C.-based startup and self-described “new kid on the block,” has developed the #donate technology as a way to harness the power of social media in philanthropy. #donate facilitates the giving process by allowing users, after a one-time registration, to donate to a participating charity by simply writing #donate in a Facebook post or tweet.
Partnering with GiveBack DC for the first time this year just made sense: “Our company philosophy is all about service and giving back,” GoodWorld cofounder and CEO Dale Pfeifer said. GoodWorld has helped each of this year’s three nonprofits set up #donate.
At Thursday’s event they’ll also be holding a live fundraising competition — something Pfeifer sees as a great opportunity for the nonprofits to build their social media followings, and network with potential donors. In addition to these benefits, though, the nonprofit that raises the most money will work closely with GoodWorld to develop a complete social media strategy.