When you’ve spent years in the creative business, you learn that most ideas – even the best of ideas – peak. Then, in order to keep them relevant, you reinvent. But once in a great while, you develop a gem of an idea with a life bigger than its time.
Fifteen years ago, Teresa Coles and I started CreateAthon simply out of a desire to give back. We joked that we worked in an industry with no redeeming social value – so we put our industry talents to work round the clock for local nonprofits. It was a good idea. It was ahead of its time. And we couldn’t have imagined how it would grow.
Of course, the world has shifted in the last fifteen years. Pretty dramatically, I’d say. From economic downturns to natural disasters to new digital connections, there’s a new attitude of we’re all in this together. The result? The role of nonprofits is more elevated than ever before, because we recognize the need to create good in our world. The Millennials, the most civic-minded generation America has seen in a long time, are leading the way with their passion, commitment, and willingness to volunteer.
The advertising industry has shifted, too. I’ve watched digital communication repaint the landscapes we were accustomed to, clearing the way for a new spirit of collaboration. It’s an exciting time to work in this business. It’s even more exciting as I’m getting ready to roll up my sleeves for this year’s CreateAthon.
What’s remarkable is not that our little idea grew into a national CreateAthon network providing pro bono marketing to hundreds of deserving nonprofits across the U.S. What’s remarkable is that CreateAthon has become a movement. In a world that’s embracing powerful movements to impact our communities for good, CreateAthon stands ready to grow faster than we’ve seen yet.
It’s time to shine, baby.