So You Want to Plan an All-Female Hackathon? Article 1: Recruitment

Reaching out to strangers is difficult. Persuading strangers to give you their time and trust…also difficult. Can they both be done? Yes, and this how I did it.

Below is the first article in a series of blog posts to get you started planning your first all-female hackathon.

1. Identify Interested Stakeholders

Find fellow classmates, faculty, staff, and groups that are doing similar initiatives to empower women on campus and tell them about your idea. Set up a meeting and ask them if they know anybody else that would be interested in helping you transform your idea into reality.

2. Write a Templated Recruiting Message

Craft a message that you can send to a ton of strangers that you think may be interested in joining your team. This message should include several elements:

1. An Introduction

Tell them who you are and why you are messaging them. The point of the introduction is to give context and peak their interest, so they continue reading your message.

Ex: I hope you are doing well. My name is Fiona Whittington and I am the Founder and President of Girls Who Code at Boston University. I am emailing you because I was wondering if the Tuft’s Women in Computer Science club would be interested in partnering with Boston University as well as other schools in the Boston area to host the largest all-female hackathon in the fall of 2018?

2. A Body

This part can be long or short, but the goal of the body should be to persuade the reader to join your team. Talk about the value you can add to their life or others and try to utilize one of Aristotle’s three modes to persuasion: ethos (ethical), pathos (emotional), and logos(logical).

Ex: The record is currently held by the University of Maryland at 825 participants, which I am confident that with the help of the women at Tufts University we can surpass that number. I have already been in contact with representatives from Northeastern University’s Women in Technology club (NUWIT) as well as representatives from Wellesley’s CS Club and WHACKS event team, who are all very interested in forming a partnership to assist in planning this event.

3. A Conclusion and Call to Action

The goal of this section is to conclude your email and call the reader to action. Now that they have read this email, what are concrete steps they can take to get involved?

Ex: I am currently in the process of reaching out to other schools in the Boston Area. If your club/university is interested in this partnership opportunity, please let me know and I will include you in all future discussions and meetings regarding the event. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance. I look forward to hearing back from you.

3. Set Up An Interest Meeting

Set up a time to collaborate and brainstorm with individuals interested in joining your team. I recommend emphasizing the collaboration aspect of your meeting to generate excitement and begin creating a community around your event.

There are a lot more concrete tips and tricks I have for how to plan a hackathon. So, if you want more articles like this, be sure to leave a comment. Until then, I shall continue avoiding the pile of laundry next to me.

A marketer with a passion for startups, technology, and education.

A marketer with a passion for startups, technology, and education.