We’ve found that giving developers and teams a clear beginning, middle, and end to each project is important. This provides a mental roadmap for the volunteer, and ensures that they are not committing themselves to an entirely open-ended project. While volunteers know they are welcome to participate event after the set time has elapsed, creating structure around volunteerism provides efficiency as developers chart how to manage their time. With this in mind, we’ve found that there are 4 “engagement types” that generally can be provided to volunteers. Allow them to choose their time commitment, and you can plan your projects are them.
The four types are:
8-Hour Code Sprint
These events are best for bug fixes and late-stage applications. They have well defined tasks with minimal setup.
These are usually two-day events with ideation and prototyping as a main theme. Often, it's best to have a webinar the night before the hackathon to help everyone understand how to setup their environment ahead of time.
20 – 25 Hour Meetup Style 5 week Event
With a 20 to 25 hour project, it helps to break them into 5 days of work. You can do this over 5 weeks or a few consecutive days. With this model, you can get a significant project started or completed with a dedicated team who will benefit from working consistently week to week.
40 Hour Weeklong Excursion event or Meetup Style over 8 weeks
With a 30 to 40 hour project, it helps to break them into 8 days of work. You can do this over 8 weeks or a few consecutive days. You can even do these projects in 2 or 3 weeks if you want to work for a few full days a week. With this model, you can get a lot of work completed with a dedicated team who will benefit from working consistently week to week.