Shamrocks, Superheroes and Hackathons: How Organizations are Finding Creative Ways to Give Back to the Community through Signature Events
By Candace Bazemore, Technology Training Chair and Marketing Liaison for the Junior League of Atlanta
Businesses and organizations are constantly looking for ways to engage with and give back to their communities. Their past practices for implementing initiatives and increasing community awareness were the traditional fundraisers of balls, dinners, and silent auctions. In an effort to be more engaging while giving back to the community, many organizations have evolved by developing signature events that are more experiential and creative. Love, Co-Founder & CEO at Bloomerang, suggests that organizations should consider “…just how powerful it could be to combine your charity’s knowledge, passion and mission with an event that is considered so unique that no one would dare miss it.”
Check out 3 examples of signature events which creatively combined knowledge, passion and mission while giving back to the community.
- The Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race
Nothing says signature event like hundreds of runners in kilts and green tutus. One of the Junior League of Atlanta’s (JLA) signature events is the Shamrock ‘N Road Race, a St. Patrick’s Day themed 5K, 10K and 1K Belk Kids Run which has been a fan favorite from the very beginning. This whimsical run is a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race and draws in fans that enjoy running in their favorite St. Patrick’s Day inspired race ensemble. JLA’s Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race Chair-elect, Carolina Margarella explains the history and impact of the race, stating that “for 13 years we have had roughly 2,000 runners each year which makes the event a big success since runners get to have fun while helping raise money and awareness in support of JLA’s community initiatives.” JLA’s 3,400+ women’s organization is committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, as well as improving the community and the Shamrock ‘N Road Race is a creative way to fund their advocacy efforts. Margarella goes on to explain that “the Shamrock is a great family friendly opportunity to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday with a run that welcomes parents with kids & babies in strollers, dogs and runners of any age.“
The Shamrock ‘N Roll Road Race, sponsored by Belk, Emory Healthcare, Verizon and others, takes place at Atlanta Station on March 12th, for more information visit https://www.jlatlanta.org/shamrock-n-roll-road-race.
- The Day of Superheroes
Every kid dreams of meeting their favorite superhero and at the Day of Superheroes they can do just that. Each year, the Amario’s Art Academy hosts this annual signature event where kids of all ages can enjoy fun art activities, learn art techniques and watch live shows with SUPERHEROES. Amario’s Art Academy Director of Operations, Shondella Andre’ says “the Day of Superheroes is a way for students to give back, it is one of our main principles, we encourage our students to use their art talents to improve the community.” During this all day event, students teach art techniques and share the skills they have learned from the academy during the school year. There are face painting sessions, comic & illustration tutorials, mural drawing activities and even a meet & greet with the superheroes attending the event. Andre’ goes on to explain that “we have people from 3 to 93 at the Day of Superheroes, it is truly a way to bring the community together. Students get to be superheroes by teaching others and everyone gets to celebrate the superhero in them.”
The Amario’s Art Academy is Atlanta’s first and only Comic, Design & Animation School for grades 3-12 and Day of Superheroes takes place every summer, to find out more visit http://www.amariosartacademy.com.
- The MARTA Hackathon
Hackathons are increasing in popularity around the world and are becoming a key component for fresh ideas and innovations for improving the community. According to Erick Strak of Hackernoon, “a hackathon is a focused attempt to build something cool and/or meaningful in a short amount of time, usually a weekend or 24 hours. At the end of the hackathon, all the participants demo (or pitch) what they’ve built.” These innovation intensives are great ways for organizations to create beneficial technological impacts in the community. MARTA, Atlanta’s primary public bus and rail service is a new entrant into the Atlanta hacking scene. MARTA has started a new signature hackathon series called The MARTAhack; these hackathons focus on using innovation to enhance the MARTA experience, service customers better, engage the community and increase ridership.
“Using a hackathon to bring together different communities united around a single goal can generate new and unexpected ideas to solve common problems,” explained Deja Amato, Product Marketing Manager at LISNR, in her article Why Hackathons Are Good For Business and the Community. The MARTAhack hackathon series is a great example of innovative problem solving. In 24 hours, teams work to conceive, design, develop and present working Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for MARTA and event co-sponsor the City of Atlanta.
From road races to art festivals to hackathons, organizations are finding creative ways to give back to the community through innovative signature events. The Junior League of Atlanta, Amario’s Art Academy and MARTA have found success in these signature events because they have infused knowledge, mission and passion into the foundation of these events. By doing so, they have created signature must attend events that are both impactful and exciting. You can do the same thing in your organization by taking an introspective look at what you are truly passionate about and determine how that passion can be combined with the skills and mission of your organization. The results just might delight you and the communities you serve.
Amato, Deja. Why Hackathons Are Good For Business and the Community. Lisnr. May 6, 2016. http://lisnr.com/blog/why-hackathons-are-good-for-business-and-the-community
Andre’, Amario. About Amario’s Art Academy. Amario’s Art Academy for the Talented and Gifted. 2017. http://www.amariosartacademy.com
Junior League of Atlanta. JLA’s Mission, Values and Cornerstones. Junior League of Atlanta. 2017. https://www.jlatlanta.org/mission-values-and-cornerstones
Love, Jay. Does Your Nonprofit’s Signature Event Have to Be a Gala? Bloomerang. May 27, 2015. https://bloomerang.co/blog/does-your-nonprofits-signature-event-have-to-be-a-gala
Strak, Erick. Beginners Guide to Joining a Hackathon as a Non-Techie. Hackernoon. September 24, 2016. https://hackernoon.com/beginners-guide-to-joining-a-hackathon-as-a-non-techie-e6b5562dc9ff#.6c6pgykvn