3rd Annual Roanoke-
Blacksburg Make-a-thon
March 25, 2017 at
Qualtrax in Blacksburg

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Non-profit Resource Center


Make a Mark offers year-round support to local non-profits eager to grow their organizations.

Make a Mark is a 12-hour design and development marathon benefitting our local non-profits.

Some of our community's biggest problems are solved entirely by volunteers. Problem is, most non-profits don't have the resources to design and develop the kinds of things it takes us a day to create.

For 1 day, we gather the best designers and developers to work on projects for the most impactful organizations in our area.

How it works

Applications

Both non-profits and makers apply in January. Non-profits do not have to be 501(c)3. Makers are developers, designers, film makers, illustrators, and more.

Selection & Team Formation

In early February, non-profits and makers are selected, notified, and assigned teams. Each team has one non-profit project, and is usually composed of 3-5 makers.

Planning Meetings

In late February, we will schedule a 60 minute planning meeting for you to meet your team. The non-profit representative, all makers, and Make a Mark representatives all attend the meeting to lay the groundwork for the project to be completed at the event. Because of the success of these meetings, they are required for everyone to attend in order to participate in the day-of event.

The Marathon Event

In March, we hold the event. Makers work on their projects starting at 8 AM (after getting a plateful of waffles). After lunch, non-profit representatives stop by to have a brief check-in with their teams. This is a good time for makers to present drafts to the non-profit representatives and get any remaining feedback or resources needed to complete the project.

In the afternoon, non-profit representatives have the option of attending the Non-profit Speaker Series, a lineup of 3 speakers as chosen by our selected non-profits to discuss some of the most pressing topics impacting their work.

At the end of the day, with the non-profits back in attendance, each team presents their work. Following demos, we have a networking reception complete with locally crafted wine and beer donated from some of the best places in town.

Schedule

February — Planning Meetings

In late February, we will schedule a 60 minute planning meeting for you to meet your team. The non-profit representative, all makers, and Make a Mark representatives all attend the meeting to lay the groundwork for the project to be completed at the event. Because of the success of these meetings, they are required for everyone to attend in order to participate in the day-of event.

March 25, 2017 — The Marathon Event

7:30 am — Check-in Opens

After you check in, fill up on some breakfast to get the day started on the right foot!

8:00 am — Kickoff

During the morning, you have access to as much coffee as you can drink, snacks, and plenty of space to take a break whenever you need to unwind your mind.

10:30 am — Morning Break

If you're new to Make a Mark, you should know that you'll be well-fed. Our morning break will feature a nice spread of snacks to keep the energy up!

12:00 pm — Food Truck Lunch

Lunch will be provided from one of our area's favorite food trucks for about an hour.

1:00 pm — Non-profit Check-in

Non-profit representatives stop by to have a brief check-in with their teams. This is a good time for makers to present drafts to the non-profit representatives and get any remaining feedback or resources needed to complete the project.

2:00 pm — Non-profit Speaker Series

3 speakers as chosen by our selected non-profits will discuss some of the most pressing topics impacting their work. Attendance is optional, and details will be announced soon.

3:00 pm — Stretch Break

Beat the afternoon slump with a stretch break led by our favorite local certified Yoga instructor, Mims Driscoll.

5:45 pm — Slides due

Slides showing your work from the day are due in your shared folder to be presented during demos.

6:00 pm — Dinner

Non-profit representatives join their maker teams as we all grab dinner.

6:15 pm — Presentations

Each team introduces their non-profit to the group, and shows everyone what they worked on during the event.

7:15 pm — Award Ceremony

Each year, we present the two Make a Mark awards to a non-profit and a for-profit making an impact in our local community.

7:30 pm — Cocktail Reception

Grab a local brew, wine, or soda, and mingle with others in the Make a Mark community as we unwind from a big day.

Common Questions

Do I have to be a 501(c)3 to apply as a non-profit?

No! Each year, we have had charitable and community-focused organizations that are not registered 501(c)3 take part in Make a Mark.

How big does my portfolio have to be to apply as a maker?

It doesn't matter — the more we can see, the better we can place you on a team, but if you're just getting started as a designer, developer, or other creator, just let us know and we can pair you on a team with a mentor who has been in your industry.

What if I can't make it to the planning meeting in February?

Because of the success of the planning meetings, they are required. Only those who attend their planning meeting will be able to participate in the marathon event.

How are teams selected?

We carefully select teams based on the various strengths of the makers, and the needs of the non-profits. If you already have one or a few people that want to be on a team together, just be sure to all indicate that in your applications. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to put you on the same team to fulfill the needs of a non-profit, but we will try our best.

Connect & Contact

Contact

If you have any questions, direct them to Sarah Obenauer at hello@letsmakeamark.org

Keep in touch

Sign up for the Make a Mark newsletter to stay in the know on all things Make a Mark. We send out 1 email each month.


Get Social

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Makers

All creatives, makers, and builders are invited to apply. Whether you're a designer, developer, film maker, illustrator, photographer, or anything else, a deserving non-profit in our area may be able to make use of your strengths, skills, and altruism.

Your application also helps us decide what project to put you on, so be sure to share all of the work you love to do in your portfolio or elsewhere in the application.

We carefully select teams based on the various strengths of the makers, and the needs of the non-profits. If you have any requests on who you want to be on a team with, be sure you (and they!) note it in the application. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to put you on the same team to fulfill the needs of a non-profit, but we will try our best.

Applications closed on February 8. To keep up to date with future Make a Mark opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter.

Non-profits

Applications are open to any community organization, not just those registered 501(c)3. While we receive lots of great applications every year, we usually only have enough space to accept half. Please know that if we do not have space for your organization this year, we may in future years — so keep in touch!

The most competitive applications expand beyond just the mission statement, and discuss the activities a non-profit runs as well as its significance and impact in the community, including how many can be served and/or impacted.

If you aren’t sure which among a few projects you have might be the best fit, feel free to submit more than one application for your organization! We’ll figure out what this year’s makers will be best suited for to help you.

Applications closed on January 31. To keep up to date with future Make a Mark opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter.

Outstanding Community
Partner Award

Presented annually to a for-profit company in our region that has shown examplary commitment to contributing their resources to support its communities.

2015 Recipient: Rackspace Blacksburg,
presented to Jarret Rhyner.

Kathy Graham Sullivan
Community Impact Award

Presented annually to a not-for-profit organization, team, or leader that has had a sizeable impact on a meaningful problem for the people in its communities.

2015 Recipient: Micah’s Caring Initiative,
presented to Jennie Hodge.

The Make a Mark award ceremony is held at the end of the make-a-thon event. Nominations are accepted in February.

Headline Sponsor



Sponsors

Well look at that, there’s some extra space down here. Want to be a sponsor? Get in touch.

About the Organization

  1. Team
  2. Philosophy
  3. Brand
  4. Subscribe

Connecting creatives & the non-profits that serve our community.

In Make a Mark founder Sarah Obenauer's work at a non-profit that helped reduce teen fatalities on Virginia roads by 50%, she saw the impact of good design, but also the difficulties faced by community organizations that can’t afford to hire someone or pay a staff member. She decided that there had to be a way to bridge the gap between design professionals and the nonprofit community.

From that, Make a Mark was born. Make a Mark started as a 12-hour design and development marathon benefiting nonprofits. This event started with 12 nonprofits and 40 volunteers in 2015, and grew to 15 nonprofits and close to 80 volunteers in 2016.

The organization has grown beyond just the event. Most notably, it runs the Non-profit Roundtable, which brings together local non-profit leaders, that are engaged in a diverse range of work, to discuss the challenges facing today's non-profits, and how to solve them.

Roanoke - Blacksburg Event Advisory Board

Our advisory board spends more than half of the year meeting, planning, and preparing for the make-a-thon. Formed in 2016, this group is making Make a Mark better and better, and we couldn't do it without them.

Sarah Anderson

Office Manager, Modea

Jeff Joiner

Assistant Professor of Practice, School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech

Director, FourDesign

Holly McClung

Program Coordinator, Virginia Tech

Steph Mueller

Senior Designer, NewCity

Michael Pennington

Account Manager, First Call Parts

Jarret Rhyner

Office Manager, Rackspace Hosting

Christina Sullivan

Product Marketing Manager, Ozmo, Inc



The Make a Mark Organization Team

Growing beyond the make-a-thon that started it all, this team runs Make a Mark year-round, providing non-profits with new resources like the NPO Roundtable, trainings, services, and more.

Sarah Obenauer

Founder & Director, Make a Mark

Alexander Obenauer

Asst. Director, Make a Mark

Founder & CEO, Mindsense

Megan Dodds

Storyteller, Make a Mark

Senior Marketing Management Student, Virginia Tech

Make a Better World

Our purpose is simple: to provide resources and foster an environment where community organizations and visual communicators can engage with one another to better our world.

We are driven to achieve this purpose, never wavering on these core values that shape the fundamentals of our approach.

  1. Be authentic
  2. Be passionate
  3. Be generous
  4. Be creative
  5. Be collaborative
  6. Be committed


Our new logo represents Make a Mark as a larger organization — each group (Makers, Nonprofits and Local Community) represents a circle in a venn diagram and the place where these 3 circles meet is where Make a Mark lives. We could not exist without all 3 of these groups - the creativity of the Makers, the servitude of the Nonprofits and the generosity of the Community.

Get Connected

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