WordPress Charity

Cape Town will be hosting its fourth annual do_action WordPress Charity Hackathon on July 15 this year. The objective of the event is to build websites for 10 different non-profit organizations in one day, an ambitious endeavor that requires a mix of different web and marketing talents working in highly concentrated teams. Participants help non-profits kick start their websites so the organizations can focus on doing what they do best – helping the local community.

Hugh Lashbrooke, who is leading the organization of the event again this year, said the team has secured a new venue that will be better suited to a hackathon. Workshop17, a collaboration and meeting venue, will host the charity hackathon’s 70 participants (7 people per team). The event is currently half-full and is recruiting another 35 participants.

“One thing the event has done for me, and others in the community, is open us up to the rest of what is happening in the city,” Lashbrooke said. “Our skills may seem pretty self-serving (building websites to make money), but they can be used for a lot more. Everyone who participates has so much fun on the day that I think they forget that it’s really work.”

This year’s charities include the following organizations:

Tygerberg Association for Persons with Physical DisabilitiesKidz Adventure CampLittle Lambs Christian Day CareIliso Care SocietyDaughters Of DestinyDurbanville Children’s HomeThe Homestead Projects for Street ChildrenUsiko StellenboschRotary Club of ConstantiaASSITEJ South Africa

The Cape Town WordPress community pioneered the concept of using WordPress to lift up local charities and this type of event has now spread to other areas of the world. As a member of the WordPress project’s Community Team, Lashbrooke has been working on making the do_action charity hackathons easily reproducible. It’s now part of the WordPress Community Program with guidelines in the community events organizer handbook.

The new doaction.org website lists the upcoming hackathons and takes care of all the manual admin work that Lashbrooke did for himself for the first couple of events. The functionality is built on top of his experience in running the events.

“There has been a ton of interest in the event from communities around the world, and we’ve already seen successful events in Austin and Johannesburg,” Lashbrooke said. “More hackathons are scheduled for Pretoria, Beirut, and Montreal later this year. A few of the other cities that have shown interest and applied, but have not scheduled anything yet, are Fort Myers, Denver, New York City, and Ahmedabad, amongst others.”

Bringing the do_action charity hackathons under the official WordPress community program allows the team to offer logistical and financial support to organizers in the same way they already support WordCamp and meetup organizers. They do not have an official mentorship program set up yet, as the event types is still new, but Lashbrook said the community team does what it can to help hackathon organizers get started.

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