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“We should work around the clock once in a while,” said Cathy Riggs Monetti one late summer night, while working in her studio. “Then maybe we could get ahead.”
“Yes, we should,” Teresa Coles agreed. “But we should do it for charity.”
That brief exchange resulted in the founding of CreateAthon in 1998—the first year Riggs Partners, a marketing and communications firm in Columbia, South Carolina, offered pro bono marketing services to nonprofits in the area during a 24-hour creative marathon.
In 2002, Riggs Partners decided to expand the program into a national CreateAthon network. Since that time, more than 75 agencies, universities, corporations and clubs across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada have participated in the CreateAthon network, conducting CreateAthon events in their respective markets during the designated CreateAthon Week, typically the second or third week in September.
CreateAthon works like this: A local advertising agency, university, corporation or club signs on as a CreateAthon partner, agreeing to follow standards developed by the program’s originators. There is no cost to join the organization or participate in CreateAthon. The agency solicits applications from local 501(c)(3) organizations and then selects a group of non-profits and projects based on the recommendation criteria.
The projects are completed start to finish during one 24-hour period. Deliverables produced during the blitz may include strategic development and creative work that spans all aspects of traditional and digital marketing: identity development, collateral, television, out-of-home, web development, inbound marketing, email marketing, public relations, etc. Partners are encouraged to seek out additional local partners to provide printing, production and media placement in order to make CreateAthon a turnkey pro bono effort.
To date, 75 agencies, two universities, three clubs and one in-house group (Discovery Channel) have participated in CreateAthon. The effort has collectively benefited more that 1,275 nonprofit organizations with 3,100 projects valued at more than $15 million.
In September 2011, CreateAthon became a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Prior to this incorporation, Riggs Partners underwrote one hundred percent of the operating costs associated with CreateAthon. We are currently seeking national corporate sponsors, grants and individual donations to fund CreateAthon with a full-time staff and help us reach our goal of $100 million in donated services by 2015.
This case study is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Using a mix of traditional and nontraditional approaches including ad placement at bodegas, murals, a food truck and radio spots, this campaign for the Food Bank of New York aimed to affect the eating habits of low-income teens by encouraging them to change their eating behaviors.
Section: Why Design -
advertising, photography, environmental design, experience design, marketing, nonprofit, print design, user research, Design for Good, mass communication, posters, signage, diversity, health
Culture is everything people in a design business do that supports the process of making work happen. Culture can create joy for designers, while improvements in process can facilitate profit.
Section: Tools and Resources
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a new icon and social media campaign to educate Americans about good health and nutrition. Move over MyPyramid, here's MyPlate.
Section: Why Design -
government, identity design, logos, health
This mentoring program in Jacksonville, Florida pairs high school students who have
expressed an interest in graphic design with professionals from the local
design community. Over the course of three to four months, the mentoring group
meets on weekends to complete individual projects that use social design to give back to
Section: Tools and Resources -
communication design, graphic design, K-12, mentoring, posters, education
External Resources (cont.)
Michael Jackson's Legacy: Readers React
The New York Times