CreateAthon 2007 Issues Call to Arms to Fellow Advertising and Design Firms

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Organizers of 24-hour creative blitz issue friendly agency challenge.

I've never been part of a greater team-building experience, and the emotional response of the folks from the nonprofit organizations leaves us all changed. When you combine the passion behind the causes we're supporting, the work we're churning out, and no sleep, all of that wells up to create some truly memorable moments.

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Set aside your current paying agency projects and devote talented staff to work for 24 hours straight — all for charity. Organizers of the 2007 CreateAthon, a 24-hour creative blitz during which advertising agencies and design firms work on a pro bono basis for nonprofit organizations, are inviting agencies across to country to join them in this unique philanthropic program.

CreateAthon was founded in 1997 by RIGGS, an advertising agency in Columbia. To commemorate the program's 10th year of service, RIGGS hopes to partner with 40 agencies this year in the national CreateAthon effort, scheduled for the week of September 10th. Their “call to arms” is a friendly challenge to agency executives looking to develop an organized program for dealing with pro bono requests, make a tremendous positive difference in their respective communities, and internally, create a renewed sense of morale and teamwork within an agency. The deadline for agencies and design firms to sign up for the program is May 18. Information is available at http://www.createathon.org.

Teresa Coles, vice president RIGGS and co-founder of CreateAthon, has seen it grow from a small event hosted by her agency in 1997 to a program that began to attract national interest in 2002. "We knew we were on to something that could generate a great deal of exponential value," she said. "So we made the decision to give CreateAthon its wings by taking it to a national level." In 2002, Coles and co-founder Cathy Monetti began inviting other agencies to participate in the program by hosting their own CreateAthon events. Since that time, a total of 40 different agencies have become CreateAthon partners. The effort has helped more than 830 nonprofit organizations by delivering 275 marketing projects valued in excess of $7 million.

“Like other agencies, we were constantly approached by nonprofits to do pro bono work," Coles said, "The challenge was always to manage those projects along with our paying work, and to decide how many we could take on throughout the year. Focusing on our pro bono work one time of the year through CreateAthon allows us to do so much more for nonprofits than we would be able to if the projects were scattered. It gives agencies a great structure for handling these requests."

Beyond the obvious benefits to nonprofits, Coles notes the value of CreateAthon to agency staff members. "I'm amazed and moved each year to see how CreateAthon impacts our staff," she said. "I've never been part of a greater team-building experience, and the emotional response of the folks from the nonprofit organizations leaves us all changed. When you combine the passion behind the causes we're supporting, the work we're churning out, and no sleep, all of that wells up to create some truly memorable moments."

Agencies interesting in hosting a CreateAthon event can log onto http://www.createathon.org for more information. The site also features a complete "how-to" section for CreateAthon partners, with planning information, pr support, downloadable forms, and many other tips.

About CreateAthon

The deadline for agencies to agree to participate in this year’s CreateAthon is Friday, May 18. CreateAthon partnerships are available to one agency per market and on a first-come, first-served basis; however, an agency may choose to challenge or partner with another in the market. Participation is simple: Adopt the basic approach behind CreateAthon, a 24-hour work blitz for charity, and hold the event during CreateAthon Week (September 10 – 16, 2007). While agencies can hold their event during any 24-hour period that week, Thursday through Friday, September 13 – 14 is recommended. Agencies must commit at least a portion of their staff to participate in the event and complete a minimum of five projects. When an agency signs on as a CreateAthon partner, they will be granted legal access to the trademarked name and identity of CreateAthon, as well as access to the password protected portion of the http://www.createathon.org website, which includes a complete how-to kit.

The kit has the following components:

  •     checklist of the basic steps to follow in planning, implementing and promoting the event
  •     recommended timetable of event activities (hint — you need to start soon)
  •     suggestions on how to compile a nonprofit database to issue applications
  •     sample press releases
  •     access to the official CreateAthon identity, along with guidelines for basic uses

About CreateAthon Founders

RIGGS, Inc. is a full-service advertising agency headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, providing a broad array of strategic planning and creative services related to brand marketing. Major clients represented by RIGGS include those in banking, healthcare, tourism, economic development and retail sectors. More information can be found at http://www.riggspeak.com.

Editor’s Notes
Past Work Available Here: http://www.createathon.org/natl_work.html

Interviews Available via Media Contact: 859.586.4302

Localization w/ Local Participating Agencies

2003 Article: http://www.howdesign.com/dc/features/openallnight.asp

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Rodger Roeser
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