The first step in planning a hackathon is defining your objective. This will set the tone for everything that comes after, such as defining the theme, tracks, eligibility, … etc.

While defining your objective, think about which problems you will be addressing? Do you care more about ideation and coming up with the most innovative solutions? Or do you need to develop working prototypes efficiently? and so on.

Now, let’s have a look at the 7 factors that would make your hackathon work.

1. Choose a Theme That’s Relevant to Your Business.

A good theme will help you attract participants who share your interests. If you choose a theme that isn’t relevant to your business, you’ll end up wasting time on solutions that could be inapplicable in your organization. You also need to make sure that the theme addresses a real challenge. The hackathon theme should identify the gaps or areas of improvement in a certain field.

2. Create a Clear Vision Statement.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of planning a hackathon, but you shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re organizing one in the first place. Set a clear vision statement that describes how you plan to use the event and make sure it align with the hackathon objective. This helps you focus on the big picture and keep your goals in mind as you work through the details.

3. Find Sponsors Who Can Help You Reach Your Goals.

If you’re looking for sponsors who will help you reach your goals, start with people who share those same values. Look for companies that aligns with your mission and values. Then, ask them what they’d need to see before they would sponsor your event. Different aspects of your hackathon can be sponsored separately, for instance, you can have sponsors per track, marketing sponsors, sponsors for mentorship, or judging, and so on.

4. Set The Timeline.

Define clear milestones for your hackathon, then align your team and sponsors. Also, set a deadline for when you plan to finish your project. This gives you something concrete to work toward and helps you stay focused. It also allows you to gauge how much time you actually have available. Online hackathons are usually from 2 weeks to 3 months in duration. Depending on the ideation, mentorship, and development time you set.

5. Pick A Hackathon Platform

A dedicated hackathon platform to plan, launch, and manage your hackathon can save you many hours of repetitive unnecessary tasks. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, you are creating space for your team and sponsors to focus on the hackathon success. Always aim to automate at the very least the receiving and judging applications processes through a dedicated hackathon platform.

6. Source the right Mentors And Judges

Learning is a huge aspect of any hackathon. Sourcing the right mentors can take your hackathon projects quality to a whole new level. Same for judges, evaluation and selection is a tough yet crucial task for your hackathon success. Your mentors targeted profiles are based on the hackathon themes, and technologies. For the judges, you will need both subject-matter experts and technical judges. Finally, you need to start approaching mentors and judges early enough before the hackathon starts.

7. Build a Team with People Who Are Passionate About Your Idea.

This team doesn’t only have to be an internal team. You can find great partners within your sponsors, hackathon platform providers, hackathon mentors or judges… etc You can always find people who share with you the same vision, and are willing to go even beyond their scope to make the hackathon a success. They will help keep you motivated and give you feedback throughout the process.

We, at Untap, share with you the same passion for organizing and managing successful hackathons. We have powered some impact-driven hackathons, that resulted in huge partnerships between organizations and innovative inspirational teams.

If you are looking to run a hackathon, we would love to hear from you and provide free consultation! Book your session here.