IdeaHack: A Nonprofit Hackathon at Startup Institute

You have just 24 hours to solve a company’s barrier to success with a brand new team of strangers. Ready? Go!

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What might sound like the latest reality TV show, was a real life situation for the new students of Startup Institute. Each season, the students (with classes currently in Boston, Chicago, and NYC) tackle a company challenge, while learning important lessons in teamwork and communication. The hackathon, called IdeaHack, is both a tradition and a test.

The abilities to prioritize with little direction, think creatively, and quickly develop a sound strategy are all requirements of startup employees. So it makes sense that Startup Institute students would spend a good day of their first week in the program gauging their own abilities. What were they able to accomplish? Where were their skills levels at? Were they able to come up with viable solutions?

Together, they drafted solutions across marketing, sales, web, and product platforms, which were pitched to the nonprofits the following afternoon. Not surprisingly, the pitches were well-received. Our student diversity and drive always leads to great presentations in week 1, regardless of the obstacles the students have to overcome.

Check out additional photos on Facebook, and learn more about the nonprofits that were hacked below:

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TUGG — Boston, MA

Dedicated to catalyzing and spreading social entrepreneurship in New England. TUGG helps young people to realize their full potential through entrepreneurship, education and life experience. The partnership between non-profit partners, venture capitalists, and tech startups through mission alignment will deepen the impact on the community. Ultimately, growing their reach is a main factor for success at TUGG, so the students’ proposal of individualized giving through Salesforce topped the suggestion list. Read more…

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Commogri — Chicago, IL

A free social media platform for volunteering that allows individuals, nonprofit organizations, and companies to showcase their positive impact with the goal of turning volunteering into a social norm. Commogri needed help creating a strong sales process. They have an associate board comprised of very capable individuals who want to help, but don’t have a streamlined sales approach for them follow. The winning team created a new landing page they called “The 5-Minute Digital Pitch”, designed to outline the benefits for each of Commogri’s consumers: volunteers, potential companies and nonprofits.

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She’s the First — New York City, NY

She’s the First sponsors girls’ education in developing nations, giving them the chance to become the first in their families to graduate from secondary school. Harnessing technology and social media, She’s the First is committed to connecting sponsors and scholars around the world in innovative, mutually beneficial ways to foster mentorship, philanthropy, equality, and leadership. Startup Institute teams came up with ways to use She’s the First’s 5th anniversary as leverage to get more millennials involved in the program.