Pre-Web Challenge advice for nerds & nonprofits

New-and-improved, “What to expect when expecting to be at The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.” Over the years we’ve culled quite a bit of advice from web pros, nonprofits, and our own nerds alike. Every year, in an effort to help you be as prepared as possible for the 24-hour nerd-a-thon, we update this post and share it with you.

Continue reading Pre-Web Challenge advice for nerds & nonprofits

Crowd-surfing Mayor RT Rybak “seen” at Web Challenge


We invited Mayor Rybak to the Web Challenge before his keynote at Minnesota Business mag’s Community Impact Awards but we understand he has a city to run (and we’re across the river). But he’s with us in spirit (a.k.a. Photoshop).

Congrats CHICAGO GATEWAY GREEN & Silverline Creative, Winners of Chicago 2012 Webchallenge

While nonprofits, webpros, and our Nerds recover from their 24-hour webchallenge, we thought we’d let you know the Chicago Gateway Green website created by Silverline Creative won the Chicago 2012 Overnight Website Challenge.

Also, you should head on over to Facebook to see a few of the funny Webchallenge tweets & a bunch of pictures from the event.

Nonprofits win nerds, nerds win toys

Winning the Web Challenge is no less glorious than summiting Mount Everest to earn a Super Bowl championship in thin air before safely descending on a waterslide while high-fiving everyone in your path. But winning fabulous prizes is nice, too. Volunteers spend raffle tickets in pursuit of these treasures:

New New iPad: Were you one of those suckers who bought the “New” iPad a scant seven months ago? Sooth your anger at Apple by winning this NEWER New iPad and go back to your rightful spot of having the shiniest, newest toy available.

Lego Death Star: Bored on the weekends with nothing to do? This 3,800 piece LEGO Death Star may be for you. At 16” tall and 16” wide, it’s an imposing addition to any LEGO collection. Get yours now before the Death Star is permanently “upgraded” to include mouse ears.

Fitbit + Sleep Tracker Thingee + Scale + Belt: While programming is hard work, it unfortunately doesn’t come with the same physical fitness benefits that a career in logging does. Win this prize package and you’ll have more data on your health than you can shake an empty Pringles can at. It tracks steps, stairs climbed, distance, calories burned and measures how long and well you sleep. The  Nathan Shadow Pak (it’s NOT a fanny pack, ok!?) discreetly carries your personal items while you run.

Minecraft package: Not sure how to properly express to your special someone that you have an unhealthy obsession for Minecraft? Winning this prize pack should do the trick. If assembling your brand new Minecraft LEGO set while wearing the Creeper cardboard mask doesn’t do it, perhaps the magnets, pins and note cube will. If all else fails, perform a one-person Minecraft reenactment around the house with your foam Minecraft pickaxe and sword as props. They’ll surely get the message then.

Etsy Giftcard – $250: For when you can’t justifying buying a walnut baguette cutting board, a vintage brass camel figurine and a beaded crochet bracelet on your own dime.

Nest: Thermostats. BORING, right? Not so. This beauty will make your home look like it’s out of the Jetsons as it learns your schedule. Trust us, this little guy isn’t sentient, so there’s no danger of it taking control of your home appliances – what it will do is help you take control of your monthly utility bills by changing temperatures based on when you’re home and away. Coming home early? Use the mobile app to connect to your thermostat. No SkyNet here!

Apple Thunderbolt Display: For work or for play, everyone can use a bigger monitor. This 27-inch model by Apple also manages to pack in some extra whiz-bang features like LED backlighting, a FaceTime HD camera, 3 USB 2.0 ports and more.

Intuos5 Touch Medium: Sometimes a mouse and MS Paint just won’t do. When that situation arises you’ll be happy to have this powerful multi-touch surface tablet. With 48.8 square inches of working area, this is perfect for designers and illustrators alike.

Canon Rebel T4: If it’s good enough for a paid celebrity endorsement from Andre Agassi, then it should be good enough for you. Fault!

Wii U Deluxe Set (not pictured): Do you find today’s consoles too boring for your tastes? Wish that you had more screens to look at? Never fear, for the Wii U is (nearly) here. As soon as your copy arrives at Nerdery HQ, we’ll send it off to you to enjoy this all new gaming experience. And then maybe you can explain it to us… we’re not entirely sure how it works.

Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge clock ticking

2012 Chicago Overnight Website Challenge from The Nerdery on Vimeo.

And we’re off. This weekend at The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, 115 volunteer web pros will give a dozen nonprofits more than 2,700 hours of their time and a ridiculous amount of their talent. The same judges who selected 12 Illinois nonprofits (from 61 applicants) will return to assess the nerdy deeds/pro bono service of 12 development teams – at 9 a.m. Sunday they’ll award bragging rights to team that’s best served their assigned nonprofit. Until then there’s considerable needy-meets-nerdy buzz in the air at Roosevelt.

Nonprofits & Web Pros Chosen for Chicago 2012 Overnight Website Challenge

Ladies & Gentlemen, we’d like to present to you the 12 nonprofits chosen to take part in The 2012 Chicago Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge!

Eligible nonprofits (501c3-registered organizations in IL) applied by articulating their vision of how nerds could further their mission through better use of interactive technology. Nonprofits selected:

And the web professionals volunteering to spend 24 hours (in a row) helping them create better websites at during the weekend of November 17-18 are:

Get the full scoop on who chose the nonprofits & the schedule of upcoming Chicago Webchallenge Events over in the News section.

We’re bringing the Overnight Website Challenge back to Chicago!

Illinois, give us your needy, your awful, your ugly nonprofit websites yearning to be better, because we’re coming back for the Overnight Website Challenge.

That’s right, we’ve opened registration for the second coming to Chicago of the Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, our annual 24-hour event providing pro-bono interactive services to nonprofit organizations.

We’re looking for like-minded web professionals to again join in giving their time and talent during the weekend of November 17-18. Nonprofits apply by articulating their vision of how nerds could further their mission through better use of interactive technology.

At last year’s Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge in Chicago, about a hundred web developers and designers freely gave 10 nonprofits well over two-thousand hours of professional services.

Nonprofits & Nerds alike can get all the details on the Overnight Website Challenge site.

Here’s the important dates to remember:

  • October 19: Application deadline for volunteers and nonprofits
  • October 29: Selected nonprofits and teams announced
  • November 7: Needy-meets-nerdy pre-Challenge mixer, at The Nerdery’s Chicago office, 300 N Elizabeth St, Chicago
  • November 17-18: The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday, at Roosevelt University, Congress Lounge, 4300 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago. This is not a function of Roosevelt University. (There, we had to say that – but we’re stoked to bring our nerdathon to Roosevelt’s Chicago campus.)

Good luck to all!

24 hours Makes a Difference: Webchallenge Before & After

Here we’ve gathered screenshots from eleven of the eighteen sites that got a makeover at this year’s Overnight Website Challenge. It’s pretty amazing the difference 24 hours, 10 web pros, and lots of caffeine can make to a nonprofit website.

Career Solutions Inc created by Ruby.MN


24 hours later

Metro CISM Team created by Team Pegacorn


24 hours later

Community Neighborhood Housing Services created by Team BIOS


24 hours later

Franconia Sculpture Park created by Twin Cities EE


24 hours later

Center for Homicide Research created by Ruby Off Rails


24 hours later

Also an iPhone App

Oh, and an Android one too

North Star Therapy Animals created by Drop Shadows Not Bombs


24 hours later

TVBYGIRLS created by Get Off My LAN


24 hours later

The Valley Friendship Club created by Sleep-Deprivation Research Team #4


24 hours later

Little Voyageurs Montessori School created by The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen



West African Medical Missions created by Two Unicorns, One Moon


24 hours later

The Windmill Project created by Raxacoricofallapatorius


24 hours later

Two Unicorns, One Moon and all 18 nonprofits win 2012 Twin Cities Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge

It took the better part of the weekend to crown a champion of the 2012 Twin Cities Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge.After nearly 180 volunteer web pros worked 24 hours straight to help 18 Minnesota nonprofits build better websites, judges awarded bragging rights to Two Unicorns, One Moon for their work on behalf of West African Medical Missions.Rounding out the competitive final four:

  • Twin Cities EE, serving Franconia Sculpture Park

  • The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen, serving Little Voyageurs Montessori School

  • Team Pegacorn, serving Metro CISM Team

Honorable-honorable mention:

  • The Return of the Team Redundancy Team Part 2, serving  Minnesota Environmental Partnership.

  • CodeX, serving Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless.

  • Push N Run, serving Hourcar

  • Raxacoricofallapatorius, serving The Windmill Project.

  • PHP Nerds- Beta, serving Answer

  • Drupal Rocks!, serving Bakken Museum.

  • Full Court WordPress, serving Youth Performance Company

  • Ruby.MN, serving Career Solutions Inc.

  • Team BIOS, serving Community Neighborhood Housing Services

  • Drop Shadows Not Bombs, serving North Star Therapy Animals

  • Run PHP,  Cancer Legal Line

  • Get Off My LAN, serving TVBYGIRLS

  • Ruby Off Rails, serving Center for Homicide Research

  • Sleep-Deprivation Research Team #4, serving The Valley Friendship Club

During more normal business hours the more than 4,200 hours of pro bono services freely given would have a real-world street value of about half-a-million dollars. The 18 nonprofits were chosen from a field of more than 80 applicants, and the 18 teams were picked from a field of 34.

The Nerdery wishes to thank everyone involved – volunteers, nonprofits, judges and sponsors alike – for using their time and talent to help others. Event sponsors: VISI; Benchmark Learning; Arthouse; Bacio; Crave; Espresso Royale; GitHub; Gyropolis; Izzy’s; Jimmy Johns, The Lacek Group; MinneWebCon, Peace Coffee; Pizza Luce’; Red Bull; Sopranos Kitchen; St. Agnes Baking Co.; Unwind Within; Zelo.

Judges (selected nonprofits, will also pick winning dev team)

·      Christine Durand, communication director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

·      Christian Erickson, principal, Zeus Jones

·      Jamey Erickson, founder and creative director, Sevnthsin

·      Dana Nelson, executive director,

Since 2008, volunteers from the interactive community have donated more than $2.5 million worth of professional services to 84 nonprofits in Minnesota and Illinois. The Nerdery continues to consider this just a good start.

To hear about future nerdathons and relive this one, visit:
Twitter: @the_nerdery #webchallenge


Timelapse Pixel Art at the Webchallenge