The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2013,

Nerds will give their time, talent and weekend of March 9-10 to help nonprofits do what they do – but better – online

About the Event

In the first five years of The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, volunteers have freely given about 3 million dollars worth of professional web development services to 96 nonprofit organizations. While The Nerdery considers this a good start, we will rally our staff and community to help good nonprofits with not-so-good websites. During this nerdathon benefiting local nonprofits, volunteers form teams of 8-10 web pros that show up not knowing what nonprofit they’ll serve, pro bono, for the next 24 hours.

Spring forward

While the outside world deals with losing a mere hour of sleep for daylight saving time, we'll collectively lose countless hours in the name of nerdy deeds done dirt cheap.

New this year: This is the end

Instead of picking a winning website at the conclusion of a challenging 24-hour sprint, better-rested participants will reconvene a few weeks after Web Challenge weekend to present their fully-realized accomplishments at The Nerdery on April 2.

The Nerdery Foundation

The Nerdery established The Nerdery Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to advance philanthropic initiatives like The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, at which developers from The Nerdery and throughout the Chicago and Minneapolis interactive communities have donated about $3 million in professional services to 96 Illinois-and-Minnesota-based nonprofits. Including two Web Challenges in Chicago, this will be The Nerdery’s eighth overnight event benefiting nonprofits in communities where Nerds live and work.

Nonprofit Need-To-Knows

Eligible nonprofits (501c3-registered organizations in Minnesota) can apply by February 8 for the opportunity by articulating their vision of how nerds could further their mission through better use of interactive technology. After completing their application, nonprofits can direct their fans to post supporting testimonials to their online profiles; selection judges will favor nonprofits whose applications are endorsed by its constituents, including people served by the organization, donors, volunteers, staff, board members and other supporters.

Nerd Need-To-Knows

Volunteer teams must self-organize with 8-10 web pros by February 8. Team captains recruit their peers and cover these skill sets: front-end development; back-end development; project management; strategy; UX; graphic design; copywriting; QA. All team members must be present the entire 24 hours (no working from remote/undisclosed locations). Returning volunteers, please note that previous log-in credentials do not carry over year-to-year.

Twin Cities 2012 Highlights

  • Sen. Franken's welcoming message: The Junior senator from the great state of Minnesota sent his words of encouragement to the teams of nonprofits and web pros just before the start of the challenge.
  • Web Challenge Setup timelapse: 180 nerds setting up shop in the same room really, really quickly.
  • Pixel Art: Eight bit creations of sticky notes and one very large grid paper wall.
  • The Nerderizer 5000: Photo booth snapshots of all the nerdery participants.

For more highlights from the 2012 Twin Cities Overnight Web Challenge, including the arcade, hot shaves my Mustache Mike and the energy drink ice luge check out The Nerdery’s albums on Facebook.

About The Nerdery

The Nerdery is a developer driven interactive production company that partners with creative minds and big thinkers to engineer and execute their interactive projects, including websites, mobile and social media. With offices in Minneapolis, Chicago and Kansas City and voted by its staff onto multiple top workplace lists, The Nerdery is the professional home of more than 450 Nerds. For year-to-year job growth The Nerdery was recently featured in Inc. Magazine as a Hire Power Award recipient. Founded by three programming pioneers in 2003, The Nerdery has made Inc. magazine’s list of fastest growing private companies in its first five years of eligibility. The Nerdery was honored in 2010 with The Quality of Life Award and The Jefferson Award for its record of corporate philanthropy through The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.

Important Dates

February 8
Application deadline for nonprofits and nerds
February 18
Selected nonprofits and teams announced
February 27
Needy/Nerdy mixer at Benchmark Learning
March 9-10
Web Challenge weekend at U of MN Continuing Education Conference Center
April 2
Judgement day, teams and nonprofits present their work at The Nerdery


U of M St. Paul Campus
Continuing Education Conference Ctr

1890 Buford Ave
St Paul, MN 55108

Day of the Event

7:00 a.m.
Registration, set up work stations. Volunteers: please be there by at least 8:00.
8:45 a.m.
Welcome, get ready to rumble, announce team assignments
9:00 a.m.
Countdown begins. Nonprofits meet their team of volunteers and get to work.
6:00 p.m.
Second dinner
2:00 a.m.
Begin observing Daylight Savings Time, set clocks for 3 a.m., spring forward.
6:00 a.m.
The most important meal of the day.
10:00 a.m. (but still kinda 9:00 a.m.)
Good night, and good luck.

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