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Our social hackathons are problem-solving events that take place over a single day, where UCL volunteers drawn from Academic staff, Professional Services staff and students work on a business problem set by one of our community partners. Apply here.

Terms & Conditions

  • Your hackathon must take place on one day between Monday 6 and Friday 17 July 2020. We anticipate the events will run 10am – 4pm. 
  • Your hackathon must have capacity for 10-15 UCL volunteers 
  • You or a designated contact within your organisation must be available to host a group of UCL volunteers online throughout the event date and time agreed upon. 
  • The £1000 grant must be used towards resolving the issue or challenge identified in your original pitch. 
  • You or a designated contact within your organisation must be able to respond promptly to enquiries from Volunteering Service staff and volunteers in advance, during and after the event. 
  • You must have the technical ability, hardware, software and suitable Internet connectivity to take part in the virtual day (likely to be meetings and presentations on Zoom). 
  • Funding is not available for IT costs to run the day, staffing costs or venue hire.  However, we will consider budgets that include software subscriptions to platforms such as Zoom or Miro if the solutions warrant them) 
  • You must be a registered partner of the UCL Volunteering Service or the UCL East Programme to apply 
  • You or a designated contact within your organisation must be able to provide updates to Volunteering Service staff on related expenditure and activities after the event on request.

What can we spend the £1000 on?

You can spend the £1000 on implementing the ideas that come out of the Hackathon. You’ll submit the budget after the Hackathon, and it can cover equipment, marketing costs, subscriptions or external contractors. The funding is for new activity - you can’t use it to cover salaries of existing staff members or anything that you’ve previously budgeted for.

If you need funding to buy software licenses or buy in other external resources for the Hackathon itself, these can be funded from the £1000.

How will applications be assessed?

A panel of students, staff and a representative from one of our partner organisations will assess applications based on:  

  • Ability to engage UCL volunteers 
  • Impact on your organisation and beneficiaries 
  • Date flexibility  

What sorts of business problems can a Hackathon cover?

15 UCL students and staff will be working with you for a day, via Zoom. They’ll come from a variety of departments and have a mix of different skills. Any challenge that the group could work on and produce a useful output for you would be suitable. 

Here are some examples - though we’ll consider other ideas too.

  • How can we improve our website?
  • How could we use social media better?
  • How could we adapt our volunteering programme for social distancing?
  • How might we run fundraising events during social distancing?
  • How are similar charities responding to COVID-19?
  • What should our planning assumptions for the next year be?
  • How might the needs of our beneficiaries be changing?
  • How could we better communicate about our charity?
  • How could we improve our volunteer recruitment?
  • How can we engage new people with our charity?
  • How could we evaluate our impact?
  • How could we communicate better as an organisation?
  • How can we stand out from the crowd when approaching funders?
  • Is there a way we can collaborate better with organisations that have similar aims and/or share beneficiaries?
  • What technology could we use to improve our interactions with our beneficiaries?
  • How do we continue to offer our range of services with less resources?
  • What are similar/nearby organisations doing during this time to adapt their services?

You’ll also need to think about how you break the challenge into specific tasks. These might include:

  • Web research
  • Evaluation of your communication tools
  • Compiling existing sources of data
  • Creating new resources
  • Writing questionnaires
  • Interviewing beneficiaries or other stakeholders
  • Drawing up business case
  • Devising marketing strategy
  • Reviewing documents

We recommend you get in touch with us about your social hackathon idea before submitting your application - contact our Partnerships Coordinator Yasmin Gulay at

How will we structure the day?

We’ll talk about this in more depth if your application is successful. Very broadly, we expect you’ll need a plenary session at the start where you brief the volunteers (via Zoom). They’ll then split off into subgroups to work on specific tasks that you’ve specified. You’ll probably need one or two plenary check in points during the day, and a final session where the results of the volunteers’ work is presented back to you for your comment. We expect volunteers work to be done on a document sharing site such as Googledocs.

How can I apply

Visit our Social Hackathons application form.