Sunday, February 9, 2014

CreateAthon - A concept that might have application to the arts?

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on....................."

Interesting article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (forwarded to me by my friend Bruce Davis) on a concept called: CreateAthon - "an annual event that enlists people in advertising to work for 24 hours to create promotional items, videos, websites, social-media campaigns, and other marketing and fundraising materials for charity clients."

"The “CreateAthon” term was coined in 1997 by Riggs Partners marketing firm in Columbia, S.C., to describe its method of providing pro bono services to charities in a single-day blitz. The goal is to turn an idea into a final product within 24 hours.

“The theory was that we could actually serve more nonprofits through a constrained and focused period of time than we normally would be able to do if we sprinkled their work out all through the year,” says Teresa Coles, a partner at Riggs and CreateAthon’s co-creator. “Immediately, we saw that working together and embracing the time and budget constraints inherent in a 24-hour turnaround produced unprecedented levels of creative problem solving.”

The process benefits not only the charities, but the participating firms providing the pro bono assistance:

According to Nicole Larruri, EGC’s (one of the firms participating in the process) managing partner. “Beyond being an expression of goodwill, CreateAthon is a wonderful team-building exercise and an opportunity for people in various departments to work together in the creative process.” 

Two things strike me about this concept.  First, the obvious potential for intersections with the for profit creative communities.  A Win Win situation.  Might this be a concept that the arts could co-opt and organize on a local basis - either under the auspices of a local collaboration, or by a local arts agency? And second, I like the idea of marshaling resources to address a specific challenge in a very short, limited span of time.   Apart from working with ad agencies, design firms and the like, might the concept of a 24 hour CreateAthon be something that could be adapted to multiple uses and done internally to an organization to address a host of challenges (beyond the creation of media and marketing campaigns)?  It might be an interesting experiment to pick a challenge facing your organization, and organize a kind of CreateAthon  around it - gathering your staff, board and others involved in, or supportive of, your organization and see what you could come up with in a single 24 hour period.  And for very large challenges, the concept might work for figuring out how to accomplish the very next step that would be necessary for making progress.

Have a great week.

Don't Quit