Motivating Developers to Attend and Make Meaningful Contributions at Civic Hackathons

Luke Fretwell | GovFresh | February 6, 2012

Mark Headd has some interesting thoughts on encouraging better participation at civic hackathons, suggesting perhaps a registration fee would drive more reliable participation. For those who will be at SXSW this year, he’s also giving a talk on lessons learned in organizing events such as these.

While you can typically expect up to a fifty percent drop-off rate for any free event that doesn’t require specific attendee contributions, Mark may be onto something.

However, there’s something more happening here, and it’s related to motivation.

It doesn’t matter whether you have 1,000 or 10 people at an event. What matters is having the right people for the right task with a sustainable deliverable that also fosters volunteerism and sense of community. The hackathon itself shouldn’t be where all the work, from scratch to finish, is done. It should be the foundation for bringing what’s happening online, building community through code and celebrating the final product(s)...