GiveCamp 2020: Arrows Nest

The Memphis tech community has been a very welcoming and engaging collection of professionals ranging from beginners to experts in a wide variety of fields. One of the signature events is GiveCamp Memphis. This post details my experience at GiveCamp and the great work we did for area non-profits.

GiveCamp Memphis


When I moved to Memphis in July 2019, one of the first things I came across was the rather large and active tech community. There are dozens of monthly meetups for a wide variety of topics, from Python, Data Science, .NET, web dev, etc. Most of the members work in web related software development or IT, but there are quite a few fellow generalists like myself. The biggest (and most often talked about) event in the community was GiveCamp. I heard about it as soon as I started going to meetups and couldn’t wait to be a part.

GiveCamp Memphis is a weekend hackathon where developers and designers in the community team up to work on tech related projects for local non-profits. The non-profits vary in size, from 1 person to giant national organizations like Boys and Girls club, and in need, from website creation, shopify implementation, SEO, etc. On Friday evening, the non-profits give a short presentation about their mission and their needs. Teams are then formed and everyone works non-stop until Sunday afternoon. There were over 20 non-profits and over 100 developers. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Arrows Nest

Arrows Nest is an area non-profit that serves as a home for children in need in Memphis. It is run by MK Hill, a terrific woman who has dedicated her life to serving the childern of the community. MK came to GiveCamp basically as a blank slate. She had no domain name and no website, but she needed a dedicated site so she could easily direct people who asked about her mission and were looking for a way to donate. This was an exciting challenge to experience building a wordpress site from scratch.


The team for this project mainly consisted of 4 developers and 1 designer. On Friday evening when we formed teams, one of the GiveCamp administrators asked if anyone had Wordpress or web dev experience, of which no one had any real experience. We have may been one of the most inexperienced teams, but we were up for the challenge. We spent some time planning what needed to be done, divded up the responsibilities and went about making MK’s vision a reality.


I had known WordPress was very popular and was used in a majority of websites, but I had never really understood how it worked; I didn’t even know there was a difference between and There were some WordPress experts (and GiveCamp veterans) who were kind enough to do some quick tutorials for participants, and this was a great help in understanding the basics. GiveCamp was also able to secure for each non-profit the use of Divi, a WordPress theme builder. This gave us access to some very beautiful themes and really gave us a head start on the UI.

The site was to be pretty basic, with a few pages with information about Arrows Nest, but the main goal was to create a Donation page, and to create a custom NavBar that had buttons incorporated to direct users to Donate. Developing customizations into a WordPress theme took a little trial and error, but we were able to find what we needed. In fact, we finished most of the tasks with plenty of time to spare, we were able to add a Product page where visitors were able to purchase coffee (and pay via PayPal) to support Arrows Nest as well. We were very proud of how the team worked together and the site we created. Maybe next year we can get to some of the stretch goals, like SEO improvements, and other means to increase traffic and donations!

Wrap Up

In all, this was a tremendous experience to meet other developers in the area and to work together to support non-profits in the area. This was my first hackathon in general, and I loved to atmosphere. While I don’t think I would want to work with WordPress full time, it was great to learn more about it and to have the experience of using it to bring a site to life. I can’t wait until next year!