BrightWave @ 48in48

What brought 17 rockstar BrightWave employees to donate their weekend (48 hours) in-order to build over 57 email templates for 48 local Atlanta non-profits?

Several weeks ago I rebooted a program at BrightWave called “Day of Awesomeness”, which was originally created by Simms Jenkins (Founder of BrightWave) to encourage employees to spend time on non-billable projects that would help us internally, push ideas for clients, and most importantly, do some good for our community.

In resurrecting the program, we defined some categories folks could focus on, provided some examples, extended the number of days folks could use (and the investment into the program), enabled folks to work in teams as opposed to individually, and introduced the concept of “Shared Values”.


14714914_10210947267539358_8747525354962312348_oThe first time I was exposed to the concept of shared values was during my EMBA and it’s something I believe brings great value to the company, our people, and the community we live, work and play in. So when the team and I brainstormed on ideas for the re-boot, we naturally gravitated to the 48in48 organization that was co-founded by my old college roommate and business partner, Jeff Hilimire.

If you unfamiliar with 48in48, it’s a wonderful organization that’s in its second successful year helping 48 local non-profits (Atlanta in this case) build 48 websites in 48 hours using the talents of professionals in the industry who donate their time and skills. Most of these non-profits would find it extremely hard to find donated talent or pay for a professional website, so this hack-a-thon like event truly provides a gift to these non-profits. So that got me thinking, why just a website, what if we could also provide all 48 non-profits with professional email templates to use for newsletters, event reminders, donation thank-you emails, etc.

I mentioned the idea to Jeff and offered to assemble a BrightWave team to build all the email templates for the non-profits. Our team breathes, eat, and sleeps email; I was confident they could tackle all the non-profits as a team within the 48 hours. Jeff loved the idea and within a few days I talked to Adam Walker (48in48 co-founder) and Carol Williams (Executive Director of 48in48) and we where off to the races.

From a shared value stand-point, 48in48 fits perfectly in giving back to the community while allowing us (BrightWave) to showcase the awesome people and talent we have, specifically in email marketing. Big win-win. But what’s truly amazing is that we got 17 people to volunteer their time and effort, work as a team, and do some good together. Amazing people!

A big special thanks to Parisa Alexander, Leah Ellin, Amy Stage, Liz Piontkowski, Matthew Andrews, Sophie Cox, Trevor Mitchell, Andy Daniels, Jena Sheperd, Michelle Walker, Adam Burkenpas, Emily Jackson, and Jason Crawford. Also want to thank Simms Jenkins, Brent Rosengren, and Quinn Giardina for support the troops with food, drinks and encouragement. Thank you all.

Examples of some of the emails we created this weekend. Total of 57 emails designed and coded in less than 48 hours. Nice!

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