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Sierra Bravo brings back its ‘Website Challenge’ community service project

It won’t be long before area web developers are losing more sleep helping nonprofits. Rapidly growing Bloomington-based web development firm Sierra Bravo has announced the second coming of its very successful Overnight Website Challenge — 24 hours of pure nerd energy applied to creating or spiffing up the web sites of some deserving Minnesota nonprofits.

The event is the firm’s signature event to give back to the community. For 100 volunteer web developers and 10 lucky Minnesota nonprofits, the 24-hour clock will count down on the weekend of Feb. 28-March 1.

“Sierra Bravo is committed to this event as long as there are nonprofits whose websites could be better, powered by nerds,” said Luke Bucklin, Sierra Bravo’s president and one of its founders. In the inaugural Overnight Website Challenge last March, volunteer web pros from Sierra Bravo and the broader Twin Cities web development community donated more than 2,000 hours to nonprofits — providing a real-world market value of donated time worth nearly $250,000, according to the firm’s calculations.

Volunteer developers and nonprofits and can now go online and apply to participate in the event at www.overnightwebsitechallenge.com. The event’s website has video testimonials from nonprofits chosen for the first Challenge, as well as tools for web developers and designers to build teams of 8 to 10 volunteers. Teams have until Jan. 9 to register and boast of their qualifications on the site.

Likewise, nonprofits have until then to articulate how “working smarter online” would further their mission — if they only had free, skilled labor! After a nonprofit completes its online application, its constituents can post testimonials about the organization’s good deeds, or lament its “bad website,” as the Sierra Bravo’s Challenge site states.

The development teams and nonprofits selected will be announced by Sierra Bravo on Jan. 16. However, the firm says volunteer teams and nonprofits won’t know with whom they’ll be paired until one hour before the Overnight Website Challenge begins.

The event again will be held at the University of Minnesota’s Continuing Education Conference Center and likely will be covered by Twin Cities TV news, as the first event was in March.

The 10 lucky nonprofits selected also will get complimentary computer training from one of the event sponsors, New Horizons Learning Centers of Minnesota. And each will also receive a one-year complimentary web-hosting subscription from the Twin Cities’ own VISI.com. In-kind sponsors to date include Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, Peace Coffee, and Red Bull. Now, those are some serious refreshments for the attendees!

Here’s more about Sierra Bravo: Founded in 2003 by three programmers, Sierra Bravo has grown to more than 80 people. The firm executes interactive projects for clients and partners, including ad agencies and design firms. The web development firm, based in some great new digs in Bloomington, specializes in completing creative ideas online, including social media and Web 2.0 applications. As one of America’s and Minnesota’s fastest-rowing private companies, the firm recently was named to the “Inc. 5000” and to Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list. Sierra Bravo’s blog is at http://blog.nerdery.com. To find out more about working for Sierra Bravo, check out www.nerdery.com.

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