Planning and marketing your event

You should plan on starting this process at least three to four months out. That will give you sufficient time to arrange logistics and market your event.

Pick a date

Calendar

Find a location

Location! Location! Location! Where your hackathon is held can have a lot to do with its success. Make sure you scout out a good location that’s available for your date.

Line up sponsors

Running a hackathon isn’t free, so you’ll need to talk to potential sponsors to see who you can help fund the event and offer resources. Talk to local software companies, government agencies, and businesses.

Many times if you can’t get a sponsor to donate money, they might be willing to be an in-kind sponsor for the event. Donations of space, food, or volunteers can go a long way to helping stretch your budget.

If you can’t find enough sponsors to fund the entire event, you can also request attendees pay for tickets. While this may reduce total attendance, even a small ticket cost of $5 to $10 may encourage developers who sign up to follow through and attend. For a multi-day event, up to $25 is fairly accepted.

Build a web presence

Make sure you have someplace for attendees to learn more about your event and sign up. Include details about when and where the event will be held, who is invited, and a link to a signup form.

Building a web presence doesn’t have to break the bank. A simple one-page site will suffice, and you can use tools like GitHub Pages or Smore can be used to create them quickly and easily.

Dedicated hackathon platforms such as ChallengePost are also available. These platforms are designed to completely support your event, including showcasing your attendees’s projects.

For creating a quick and easy way for attendees to sign up, I highly recommend EventBrite. They provide all the tools you’ll need, including an easy way for attendees to pay for tickets if you’ll be charging. Your event will also show up in their event calendars, which will help with marketing.

Code Across NYC participants

Market your event

At least one month out, and preferably closer to three months, start marketing your event. Depending on its structure, there are lots of different ways to get the word out, but some great ideas include:

Here are some websites to check out for ideas on how to market your event: