MLH Organizer Event Fulfillment

There have been some recent changes in our fulfillment process so please read this carefully.
For those of you looking to give hackers physical swag after your digital events, Major League Hacking has a couple of options to help! We are able to utilize our regional fulfillment centers, one in the USA, one in the United Kingdom, and one in India, to send swag out in bulk. We send every hacker who’s checked in to your event an envelope of stickers and a thank you. We bundle your shipments with ours to offer you ways to send your materials at cost. You also get access to our bulk shipping rates.
Shipping at cost means that MLH pays for all of the costs associated with shipping and fulfilling MLH swag, but we'll invoice your team for any additional costs to ship your event's swag. We don’t charge any additional fees for this service.
We are able to send:
  • Stickers
  • Tee shirts
  • Prizes
  • Other swag
  • Extra swag back to your team
We are not able to ship:
  • Perishable items such as snacks
  • Anything else that requires time or temperature-sensitive delivery
  • All sponsor items must be approved by our team
Before you send your items to one of our fulfillment centers, we give you an initial cost estimate that includes shipping estimates and fulfillment costs. You’ll then ship all your swag to one of our regional fulfillment centers. After that, our team prepares a final estimate for you based on what you’re sending and to how many hackers. After you’ve confirmed the estimate, we start shipping. For most orders, we cover the shipping cost upfront (so that invoicing delays don’t impact your hackers receiving swag). After all swag has shipped (and we’ve dealt with edge cases like packages that are returned to the sender), we send you a final invoice.

Timeline and Steps

In order to ensure hackers receive MLH swag on time, we hold organizers to a strict timeline for this process. Here’s the basic workflow.

Before Your Event

  • You notify our team on your Member Event Portal or by notifying your Hackathon Community Manager that you’re interested in sending swag with us.
  • You finalize the list of items you’ll be sending out to hackers.
  • You receive an initial cost estimate from our team (or calculate your own 💖 that we’ll confirm)
  • You receive access to the MLH Event Fulfillment Portal
  • The date to finalize the list of items is a day before the start of your event

(Typically) After Your Event

  • You place the order for your swag within 1 week of event completion (or sooner)
  • All of your swag arrives at our fulfillment center
  • You receive a finalized estimate from our team
  • You agree to the finalized estimate
  • Your swag is added to our tracker (events are added in the order they approve estimates in)

After Swag Has Shipped

  • Our team shares a final cost with you
  • You’ll work with Nyima to pay MLH the balance
  • We send extra swag back to your team

MLH Discount

Again, MLH provides this service at cost. We extend our bulk shipping rates to you and your team. We only charge your team enough to cover the cost of fulfilling and shipping your swag. Since we are including our swag in these shipments, we remove our expected shipping cost ($1.50 USD per hacker) from your cost. This discount only extends to hackers that are checked in to your event. If you want to send swag to registered hackers, you’ll need to cover the full cost of that shipment (you will not receive the MLH discount).

Option #1: Envelopes to Hackers

Description: We send an envelope to every hacker who checks in to an MLH Member Event regardless of if you send us anything. Space in these envelopes is limited, so at most, we can include one or two stickers. This is a great way for you to affordably send something to hackers.
Constraints: The total weight of the envelope cannot exceed 1 ounce. A household equivalent of this would be the weight of six sheets of printer paper. Your materials may not be larger than 4 inches by 6 inches. After receiving your sticker sample, we need to ensure that your inclusions do not prevent our letters from being machinable.
Cost: Approximately $0.5 USD per envelope
This is our recommendation if you:
  • Are sending low volume swag such as stickers, postcards, or flyers
  • Want a low lift option as this process is fairly hands-off
  • Are looking for our most budget-friendly option

Option #2: Packages to Hackers

Description: If you’re planning to send anything more substantial than two or less stickers, you’ll need to send out packages to hackers. We have far fewer constraints on what we can include in these packages.
Constraints: Barring any shipping restraints, none. We have experience shipping to every continent and dozens of countries. With enough heads up, our fulfillment centers can take in large amounts of product, so total size/weight is not a concern.
Cost: This is more variable than our letter offering. It ultimately depends on what you plan on including in your portion of the shipment. Some factors to consider are:
  • Weight: As the weight of the package increases, the shipping costs will increase proportionally. For reference, the materials MLH will provide have been pre-weighed to be roughly 8 oz or 250 grams.
  • Dimensions: Shipping companies charge via dimensional weight if it is greater than the actual weight of the shipment. We ship via FedEx, so we recommend using their calculator. Our fulfillment center will always pack in the smallest possible size container, but be mindful if you have irregularly sized or spacious materials.
  • Shipping Cost: Here’s an estimate for shipping cost to some of our most common countries from our US fulfillment center. These packages would include MLH Swag, Organizer Stickers, and a hackathon Tee Shirt.
US (under a lb)
US (over a lb)
United Kingdom
  • Fulfillment Time: If every hacker in your order receives the same set of items, that’s easier for our team to pack than variations (some hackers receive this item, other hackers don’t). Fulfillment time typically costs about $2 per package for these types of orders. This is less tangible than the former factors but still worthwhile to consider.
This is our recommendation if you:
  • Want to send hackers larger swag items like tote bags, shirts, etc.
  • Have time to work with MLH Ops before and after your event to ensure timely shipping
  • Have a dedicated fulfillment budget with some flexibility for customs/fees

Calculating An Initial Estimate

So you’re interested in shipping with MLH, but still not sure what it’ll cost you? Let’s go through two examples for SharkHacks. SharkHacks has 300 Hackers that they want to send swag to. SharkHacks has 100 hackers in the US, 100 hackers in the UK, and 100 hackers in India. For these examples, we’re imagining the SharkHacks team has a cute shark and a cool shark sticker they want to send.

Shipping Option 1

If SharkHacks picked Option 1 (Envelopes to Hackers), their estimated total shipping cost would be $0.50 USD * 300 Hackers = $150 USD. They’d also need to account for the cost of their stickers. You can easily find prices of StickerMule stickers on their website. In this example, they need 300 of each which StickerMule currently has listed as $111 USD. SharkHacks total estimate is $111 for cute shark stickers + $111 for cool shark stickers + $150 for shipping costs = $372 USD to send out stickers in MLH Envelopes.

Shipping Option 2

For our second example, SharkHack’s organizers get a sponsorship from an unnamed Swedish furniture brand and decide to send some additional swag as a result of their increased budget. Let’s estimate that cost.

Swag Costs

In addition to their stickers, they want to send all 300 hackers a tee shirt which will cost $5.85 USD each or $1755 USD total. Finally, they want to send their top 12 hackers a large shark plushie which will cost $17.99 USD. So their swag costs are $111 for cute shark stickers + $111 for cool shark stickers + $1755 for tees + $215.88 for large shark plushies = $2,192.88 USD to order their swag.
Let’s start with fulfillment costs. MLH estimates this to cost $2 USD per hacker (though the real rate does vary), so the organizers estimate they’ll need to pay $600 USD to pack their packages.
Next up is the shipping cost. Most of SharkHacks’s packages are straightforward tees and stickers can use our shipping estimates above. As mentioned previously, SharkHacks has 100 hackers in the US, 100 hackers in the UK, and 100 hackers in India. Conveniently, their top 12 hackers are also split evenly across regions (4 in the US, 4 in UK, 4 in India). So they have 96 “standard” shipments in each region that works out to $624 (6.5 * 96) for US shipping, $2,208 (23 * 96) for UK shipping, and $2,688 (28 * 96) for India shipping or $5,520 USD total for shipping standard boxes.
Unfortunately, the shark plushies have a high dimensional weight (they’re big), so these packages need to be estimated separately by the MLH team. You can try to use the FedEx estimator if you’re curious.
Finally, we need to account for the MLH discount. MLH would pay $1.50 USD per hacker, so SharkHacks would be able to deduct $450 USD from their total estimate.
In total, SharkHacks’s Option 2 Costs would be $600 USD for fulfillment + $5,520 for shipping - $450 for MLH’s discount + $2,192.88 for swag production = $7,862.88 USD.
It’s important to note that the shipping cost in this example is probably inflated since we assumed an event distribution of hackers in all three regions. If you actually were in that situation, it would probably make more sense to send three shipments from each of our fulfillment centers.
In case of any questions, just reach out to your Hackathon Community Manager and they’ll help you navigate through the process.