Finding the Date & Purpose
First things first, you'll need to decide when and why you want to host a hackathon.
As you begin to plan your hackathon, it's important to think about the purpose of your event. Brainstorm with your organizing team the why behind your event. This will help as you make decisions while planning your hackathon.
Finding a purpose is usually very personal to the people who are looking to organize a hackathon. It can be to empower your local community, targeting a specific section of the community, empowering a certain social group, making people aware about a different technology or the computer science in general or even just building out the culture of hackathons in your school or organization. When you have the clarity behind what you actually need to do, you will be easily making decisions on how you need to implement it.
You also need to determine the length of your event. Will people need time to travel to the event? Does your school have classes on Friday? We recommend events start on Friday evening, or Saturday morning, and that the events end on Sunday afternoon. Ending the event on Sunday and announcing winners gives a sense of closure for attendees, and recognizes the work they did over the weekend.
To be a MLH Member Event, your event must be on a weekend (Earliest start Friday, latest end Sunday)
After you've solidified the purpose of your event, it's time to pick out a date! Things to consider as you choose your date are:
- Major events at your university/ organization: It is important to reduce any chances of a clash or having major events simultaneously around your local community. This will actually determine the interest people might have to attend your event.
- Major holidays and festivals: It depends a lot culturally but having events in and around holidays is a great way to attract more crowd. **
- University breaks: Having events during long breaks might result in reduced participation. This **is because a lot of students tend to take up internships/ summer programs or something similar during these breaks. Having a weekend hackathon during a short break might result in increase participation as well!
- Dates of other hackathons that serve your community: Hackers tend to be more inclined towards having the best experience possible. Having them to decide between two or more hackathons happening around might result in reduced participation and even affecting majorly on the registration to turn up ratio for the event.
- Dates of major exams at your university: Hackers are students too! Scheduling your hackathon after the exams is one of the best things to attract more hackers and have most of their attention. Please keep in mind to have time as organizers to prepare for exams as that will severely affect your ability to give your best to the hackathon experience.
- Date of Hackcon: MLH hosts our organizer conference Hackcon around the last weekend of August each year. If your event is on the same weekend as Hackcon we will not be able to partner with you. We are still happy to give advice leading up to the event, but our entire staff will be at the conference.