Creative Marathon Benefits Local Non-Profits


Tomorrow I will participate in CreateAthon, an all-night, all-out collaboration to create marketing materials for local non-profits who could otherwise not afford them. Even though I am a CreateAthon veteran, I am excited and terrified.

Founded in 1997 by Riggs Partners, CreateAthon is a good idea that’s going national. This year more than 20 ad agencies (many with the help of volunteers) will work day and night September 16-17 to create for deserving non-profits across the country. (Learn more here, here and here.)

One of the special things about CreateAthon is that we meet so many amazing people. People who selflessly give untold hours of their time so others have a warm meal, a fresh start, or simply just hope for a better tomorrow. We get to spiff up their fundraising materials, give them a new logo more reflective of what they do and sometimes we are lucky enough to deliver way more than they ever hoped for.

The most surprising thing about CreateAthon is how inspiring it is for us participants. You spend much of Thursday and the wee hours of Friday scared. Scared you’ll never be able to get it all done. So mentally and physically exhausted. So sick from eating too many of Tom’s wife’s cookies. And then after the sun rises Friday, the awesomeness of it all blindsides you. Often, it’s moments before your first presentation.

One night of your life is nothing when compared to all these non-profits give day after day, year after year. To have the opportunity to create for them is humbling enough. But you get to present your creations to them, too. And their gratitude is evident in presentation after presentation. A big bear hug after the first idea is revealed. Tears, tears and more tears when you show them the beautiful website they sorely needed but couldn’t bear to ask for. The shrieks and shouts of delight warm the parts of your heart that don’t get to see much sunlight.

So while you think the best thing about CreateAthon is helping local non-profits, it turns out your spirit and creativity get a lift as well. The beauty of CreateAthon is that in doing good for others, you do a world of good for yourself, too.

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