Submit Challenge

Local nonprofits and community-focused organizations: we want YOU to submit a challenge for the hackathon!

Civic “hackathons” are the good kind of hacking. They bring together government officials, non-profit leaders, and volunteer technologists, data wranglers, and designers to develop technical solutions to local or national challenges. Past results have ranged from projects to match surplus food to those who can distribute it to tools for identifying backers of political ads to maps of city tree ecosystems.

How it Works

On the morning of June 1, selected organizations will pitch their challenges to hackathon attendees, who will form teams and decide which projects to work on. If your challenge is accepted, someone from your organization will work with the team throughout the weekend to provide expertise about your needs and goals. Teams will present their efforts on Sunday afternoon, June 2, and all projects will be open sourced and featured on the Hack for Western Mass website. If you’re not quite sure what to expect, don’t worry. We’ll make the process fun and easy.

A good challenge:

  • Is related to an ongoing problem which your organization works on.
  • Has context and is relevant to the community.
  • Has an understandable impact. How many people would benefit if the problem was solved? Which organization(s) would use the solution?
  • Has data. What data would help solve this problem? Is it publicly available?
  • Can be owned by a person or organization with relevant expertise.

When defining a challenge, here are some possibilities to consider:
Hack for Western Mass challenges

Any questions? Email [email protected]. The planning team will evaluate the challenges based on their viability and invite chosen organizations to make an official pitch at the hackathon.

To submit a challenge, email [email protected] with answers to as many of the following questions as possible.

Don’t worry if you can’t answer everything. Even if you can only answer the first question, get in touch! It’s our job to help you define your challenge and make the process as painless as possible.

1. In 3-5 sentences, tell us about the problem or challenge you’re trying to solve.
2. In 3-5 sentences, explain how solving this problem will impact/benefit the public.
3. Who is your target audience for the solution? What kinds of technical constraints do they have?
4. Do you have the data necessary to solve your challenge? If not, is the data publicly accessible, or can it be crowdsourced?
5. Can someone from your organization participate in the hackathon on June 1-2 to pitch the challenge and be a part of a team working on the solution?