Jolkona is back from Seattle GiveCamp 2013 with new friends and skills!
GiveCamp is a weekend-long event in which software developers, designers and database administrators donate their time to create custom software for nonprofit organizations. Jolkona was among 21 nonprofits chosen for the Seattle program this year, benefiting from the expertise of 156 tech and 20 support volunteers.
We started Friday night at the Microsoft Commons Building with a rapid-fire pitch session. I talked about Jolkona’s philanthropy crowdfunding work and asked for help with our SEO (search engine optimization). It was interesting to hear from other Seattle-based nonprofits that I have not met before, including Seavuria and Fabric of Life. Future partnership opportunities! Also, I was surprised to hear that almost everyone needed WordPress help for their site.
GiveCamp Teams: Assemble!
When we finished the pitch round, each nonprofit got a table to set up shop. Since the volunteers have to pick you, we were definitely nervous to see if anyone would be willing to join us…
Luckily, within a few minutes, many folks stopped by! They loved the meaning of Jolkona — that small donations are like drops of water, which together can make an ocean of change. There were also SEO experts who were intrigued by some of the bad results we have been getting on Google and Bing. We had so much help, in fact, we were able to expand our scope for the weekend to include WordPress features and cleanups, too!
Jolkona’s GiveCamp Team
Paul Borza, data mining software developer at Bing
Eric Amundson, owner of Ivycat.com, a WordPress development + hosting shop
David Witus, entrepreneur and former Microsoftie
Osmond Gunarso, CS student at UW and work at startup Azuqua
Grant Landram, WordPress workshop host and organizer for WordCamp
Carl Larson and Richard Geasey also gave an awesome workshop on SEO and Google Grants. I will be attending their SEO Network meetups in the future!
What Can A GiveCamp Team Accomplish In 48 hours?
Apparently, quite a lot!
- Bing: Bug reported — incorrect links are getting picked up and HTML tags are showing in description snippet
- Google Analytics: Now tracking how visitors are navigating Jolkona.org, as well as main actions such as people signing up for our Give Together program
- SEO indexing: Robots.txt updated so old archives and sandbox sites are hidden
- Google Grant: Need to wait up to 3 months for approval
- SEO on WordPress: Plugin installed and properly configured to our custom site
- Webmaster: Google and Bing have the sites verified
- Plugins are updated, old plugins removed
- Clean architecture: dupe files eliminated; bad redirects cleaned up
- Permalinks: Set up clean architecture to allow permalinks, which will allow us to preview our custom pages before we publish them
- Security: Permissions are correctly set now between nontechnical staff and technical (this way a simple text update will not break our entire site!)
- Custom post type cleanup (10 down to 5) and other code cleanup from legacy of inconsistent coding expertise
Custom post created for Jolkona’s About Us page, so non-technical staff can update our leadership team, volunteers and interns as we move our organization towards our vision for the next 5 years! This feature is quite complex, so the Ivycat volunteers will finish that up this week.
Facebook Integration to Blog
We get lots of likes, shares and comments on Facebook about our Jolkona Blog posts… but very little engagement on the blog itself. So we got that integration build up so that Facebook engagement will show up on the blog posts, too. Also, Facebook will now be picking up the correct images when sharing!
Overall, this was a fantastic and productive weekend! In just 48 hours, we’ve moved so far ahead on so many projects for our site, and we are humbled and grateful to have had such an experienced team to help us! Thank you to the GiveCamp volunteers for helping us out all weekend, and thank you to our own James Bertram and Jessica Wicksnin for making the trip to the Eastside and supporting the team throughout the weekend.