Some of our best ideas happen at 3 a.m.

The mission is to make a difference.

TRIO’s philosophy is to work hard, enjoy life and make a difference. CreateAthon is the perfect model for our team to live out our philosophy. What started in 1998 has grown to be an international nonprofit organization that leads agencies on how to give back within their own communities.

TRIO became the exclusive CreateAthon agency for the Lowcountry region of South Carolina in 2007 and has provided more than $1 million in pro bono projects to over 80 nonprofits. Each year, our team looks forward to expanding our CreateAthon alumni and helping another group of deserving organizations.

As marketers, we know that communication is key to raising brand awareness and solving problems. We recognize that many nonprofits can’t afford the marketing and public relations services necessary to reach donors and community members who can help them achieve their goals. That’s where CreateAthon comes in.

Connect and follow TRIO as we pull an all-nighter for the greater good during Pro Bono Week.


Pro bono projects


Nonprofits helped


In free CreateAthon services provided

CreateAthon 2023 Recap

Hi ho, fellow hikers! Our two-day Camp TRIO trek brought some in-TENTS-ly fun tales. The 2023 marketing marathon was a creative kumbaya where Team TRIO earned our “Work hard, enjoy life and make a difference” badges supporting five more deserving Lowcountry nonprofits. From roasting marshmallows to boosting missions, our campers walked away as stoked as our roaring campfire. From planning and promotion to outreach, discovery calls and the 24 hours of day-of work, Team TRIO donated nearly $88,000 in pro bono marketing services since Jan. 1, 2023.


  • What is CreateAthon?

    CreateAthon is a 24-hour creative marathon designed to deliver professional marketing and design services to nonprofit organizations that could otherwise not afford them. Since its inception in 1998, this “all-nighter for charity” has served more than 1,300 nonprofits, providing more than $100 million in pro bono services. CreateAthon is the brainchild of Riggs Partners, an ad agency in Columbia, SC. TRIO has been the exclusive CreateAthon agency for the Lowcountry since 2007.

  • How does CreateAthon work?

    Nonprofits apply during the summer and TRIO selects up to five organizations in September to receive one to two pro bono projects. TRIO begins working on a game plan for CreateAthon as soon as recipients are notified. TRIO will work for 24 hours to complete the projects for CreateAthon recipients.

  • What type of nonprofits qualify?

    Applications are accepted from any registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the Lowcountry area. TRIO’s CreateAthon is open to nonprofits from the Myrtle Beach area to Hilton Head. We proudly serve the Lowcountry region of South Carolina.

  • How does a nonprofit apply?

    Starting June 26, nonprofits can click the "Apply" button on this page to fill out our application form! It is optional for nonprofits to submit a 60-second video. If you want to include this, you will be prompted to add a link (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) at the end of the application form. The video should support the need for our services to assist you in making an impact in the community.

  • When are applications due?

    Applications for TRIO’s 18th annual CreateAthon are due by 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 28, 2024.

  • How are the winners selected?

    Once all applications are received, every TRIO team member will review each application. Each team member ranks their top selections. The entire team meets to select the top four, giving careful consideration to the type of projects requested, the sector served by the nonprofit and the quality of the application. Once the top four are selected, three nonprofits are selected to participate in the People’s Choice award. The People’s Choice nominees are put out for vote to the community. The nonprofit with the most votes becomes the fifth and final winner. Each finalist is required to complete a phone interview.

  • Does TRIO meet with our team?

    Yes. Once a CreateAthon recipient is selected, TRIO sets up a time for our team to meet with your nonprofit. If an on-site visit to your nonprofit makes sense for our team to understand what you do, we will plan a field trip for our team. Or your nonprofit will be invited to TRIO’s office. Either way, we definitely meet to learn more about your nonprofit and your marketing needs prior to CreateAthon.

  • When do we receive our pro bono deliverables?

    TRIO will host a breakfast for nonprofit recipients the following week after CreateAthon and will present each nonprofit with the work that was developed during TRIO’s 24-hour creative blitz.

  • Are recipients able to attend CreateAthon?

    Absolutely! We encourage friends, family and our nonprofit winners to drop by during visiting hours.

  • Who owns the designs after they are created?

    All work completed during CreateAthon is the property of TRIO and any third parties, such as photographers, illustrators, etc., that contribute to the projects. Native design files are not provided to the recipients.

  • What are our obligations if selected?

    A representative from the selected organizations must attend the kick-off event, be available to their assigned team throughout CreateAthon (either by phone or email) and attend the presentations after CreateAthon.

  • What types of projects can be requested?

    Over the years, deliverables have included: marketing plans, logos, brochures, event themes and posters, fundraising material, websites, blogs, mobile apps, press releases, media plans, radio commercials, TV commercials and much more!

  • Who do I contact if I have questions?

    Questions about TRIO’s CreateAthon program can we directed to Thank you for your interest!

When we give cheerfully, and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed. Maya Angelou
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