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My favourite FREE tools to organise an online hackathon


oronavirus is impacting the way we work, life and play. Every single event that is coming up in the next 2 months is cancelled. Shops have changed operating hours to accommodate the elderly, hot spots are identified and we are now strongly encouraged to work from home. 

So where to from here? How can we deliver interactive and engaging experiences to keep our businesses open and create a sense of community?

In a hackathon environment, the value that participants get out of them is the networking, learning, creating solutions, and getting industry knowledge and insights. 

Here are my favourite tools that you could use.

Project Management: ensuring that the event runs smoothly and that tasks are delegated to the right people

  • Monday: very easy and visual tool where you can set up tables to get yourself organised with a to-go list and delegate tasks

  • Trello: These boards are simple so you can keep track on what needs to get done and what hasn’t been done yet

Registrations: ensuring participants register to the event so you have their contact details and keep in contact with them

  • Humantix: Aussie startup where a percentage of each ticket sale will go to a social cause

  • Eventbrite: event management system that has large reach and can help with marketing your event

Marketing: telling people what you’ll be doing and encouraging them to participate

  • Hackathons Australia: platform and a community with 3,000 eager and regular hackathon goers, great networks with innovative ecosystems

  • Facebook Advertising: ability to target audiences which you can personalise with very wide reach, this is paid though

Communications: give updates to participants so they know what is happening and how to get the most out of their hacker experience

  • Slack: fantastic tool where you can create channels for different purposes so that participants can be notified with what is coming up on the agenda

  • Discord: awesome for sessions with hundreds of people, keep them informed, can do online chats, pinging mentors

  • Email: sounds old school, but sending important information to an inbox can be beneficial

Briefing Sessions: usually Hackathons hold a session to inform the participants what is happening, and at the start of the event do a ‘kick off’

  • Google Hangouts: Easy link to spin up if you use the Google Suite

  • Zoom: Allow participants to enter your Zoom room, you can share screen and also record the session

Interactive Engagement

  • Menti: easy, visual and compelling. Lots of features including ranking, quizzes, polls, word clouds, etc

  • Slido: Use this if you want people to ask questions and vote on the questions/comments. The more votes it gets, the higher up the ranking it will go

Team Submissions and voting: groups can put in their submissions for the hack - whether it be a video via YouTube, GitHub depository, or link to the working prototype

  • DevPost: You can see all the submissions that come through and judges can go in and vote based on customised criteria

  • Google Forms: Put in your team’s group name, participants, and a link to what you have created over the period of time. Judges can go in and click on the links to either rank or score them

Have other tools you want to share? Comment below

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