Every event is different, but this can give you a rough overview of the tasks at hand and the timeframe you should complete them in. Some tasks are dependent on each other: To order the T-shirts, you need to know the number of participants and their sizes. Your timeline needs to be flexible enough to accommodate for last-minute changes, but you have to have a solid plan for a timeline, before you start organizing a hackathon.

Sketch of Wikimedia Hackathon Event-plannign Timeline for Organizers
Sketch of a timeline as drawn by the organizers of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2017 Vienna, when they were in the final month of organizing.

This timeline can...


... give you an overview of the planning process for a Wikimedia Hackathon

... help you plan your event with your team, define team roles and areas of responsibilities

... help you develop an individual timeline for your own specific event. Sit down with you team, take out a calendar an some markers, and start creating your own timeline!

This timeline can not...


... give you a detailed description of every little task. For detailed descriptions, please refer to the Handbook for organizers!



Glossary for the table


Tags: These refer to the according sections in the Handbook for hackathon organizers.

Task: Unless otherwise mentioned in the description, the tasks are to be done by the local organizer team. Please don't hesitate to ask the WMF Events team for help, if you need anything, or just want some feedback! Splitting the work between the different teams/ people in a way that makes sense for everybody, and a good communication about responsibilities between all members of the organizer team is crucial to an event's success.

Timeframe: An estimate for the time when you should complete this task.

Tags Task Timeframe
Organizer team Maintain constant contact with WMF Events team 15 months - event
Manage participants Maintain constant contact with participants (questions regarding scholarships, lodging, travel, payment, etc.) when location is announced - 2 months after the event
Organizer team Recruit volunteers to help with event organizing, keep them informed about ongoing tasks 8 months - event
Finances + Sponsoring Aquire potential sponsors 8 months - event
Venue and Wifi, Food Constant contact with venue on food, set-up, technical set-up, etc. 4 months - event
Manage participants Monitor registration numbers (and coordinate with venue, catering etc. if needed) when registration opens - event
Proposing a hackathon Decision for next Wikimedia Hackathon location is made by WMF 15 - 12 months
Promotion Make an event wiki page, list it on events (WMF Events team) 15 - 12 months
Finances + Sponsoring Budget: develop and approve with WMF 15 - 12 months
Organizer team Define internal team roles 12 months
Organizer team If needed, hire contractors, e.g. for outreach 12 - 9 months
Promotion + Press, Newcomers, Stakeholders Develop outreach strategies for press, newcomers, like-minded communities, stakeholders 12 months - 8 months
Promotion + Press Set up a website to promote event with sponsors and like-minded communities 12 - 8 months
Finances + Sponsoring Start applying for (local) grants 12 - 8 months
Venue Finalize contracts with event venue 12 - 8 months
Manage participants Scholarship process is defined by commitee 9 - 6 months
Social events Investigate Social event options and locations ( Will local tourism board or government provide free or discounted activities?) 9 - 6 months
Diversity Develop strategies to further diversity on your event 9 months
Design + Printing materials If you hire a designer for local logo designs / T-shirt designs, find and contract them 8 months
Finances + Sponsoring Develop sponsoring packages and sponsoring stragegy 8 months
Venue Contract hotels, if seperate from venue contract 8 months
Organizer team Video production: If you make a promotional video, contract someone do shoot it 6 months
Design + Printing materials Local logo design finished - design should be run by WMF Events team 6 months
Food Reserch and contract catering, if separate from venue contract 6 months
Diversity Reach out to stakeholders, locally and internationally, to implement diversity measures into your event 6 months
Manage participants Develop and test registration form 6 - 5 months
Social events Finanlize and contract social event plan 6 - 4 months
Venue Go over venue setup requirements and plan for room assignments - with WMF Events team 5 - 4 months
Manage participants Open registration form 5 - 3 months
Manage participants Write visa invitation letters 3 - 1 months
Manage participants Room reservations and travel arrangements 3 months
Organizer team, Volunteers Develop volunteer roles and duties 3 months
Organizer team Communicate to volunteers when the first activity is organised (like a welcome party for volunteers only) or when the preparations on site start, so that volunteers can base their travel plans on this. 2 months
Program + Sessions Program outline on website - with WMF Events team -  Rough daily schedule as well as room, uses, sizes and a/v set-ups should be published on event page. 2 months
Design + Printing materials Order all generic printing materials (banners, roll-ups, Friendly space posters) 2 - 1 months
Manage participants Scholarship decisions - with WMF Events team 2 - 1 months
Mentoring program Contact potential mentors, inform them about commitment 1 months
Communicate with participants 1st email to participants 3 weeks
Finances + Sponsoring Sponsors: Finalize list of Sponsors so that their logos, ads, etc. can be added to Program book 3 weeks
Design + Printing materials Order all special printing materials (T-shirts, name badges, lanyards, booklets, etc.) 3 - 2 weeks
Newcomers, Diversity Hold pre-hackathons for newcomers 3 - 2 weeks
Mentoring program 2nd mentor email 2 weeks
Manage participants Close registration form 2 weeks
Venue Have a final meeting with the venue regarding food, room set-ups, wifi, etc. 2 weeks
Communicate with participants 2nd email to participants 2 weeks
Venue, Finances + Sponsoring Ship all items to the venue – inform all Sponsors to ship their items to be included in conference bag 2 weeks
Design + Printing materials Go over final registration list and print name badges 2 weeks
Technology Libera Chat should be notified of events, and provided IP address(es) to raise IP cap to allow people to get onto IRC, send an email to support libera.chat asking for an "iline" with a list of IP addresses, and expected number of attendees. 1 week
Technology Wikimedia Phabricator should be informed, and provided IP address(es) to add throttle exception so new users can create accounts 1 week
Promotion + Press Send press release, contact journalists 1 week
Communicate with participants 3rd and final email to participants 1 week
Mentoring program 3rd and final mentor email 1 week
Manage participants Manage last minute registrations (name badges, lodging, travel etc.) 1 week
During the event  Review F&B orders, catering, AV, room setup, sleeping rooms, Video, Wireless, etc, and make adjustments 1 week
During the event Put final registration stats: attendance, budget and feedback up on public wiki 1 week
During the event Logistics: Create the conference contact list and distribute to all staff/Volunteers/venues/vendors 1 week
During the event Logistics: Track and receive all shipped materials to the venue 1 week
During the event Logistics: Meetings with team and venue staff: Here you will adjust for any last minute updates to the conference set-ups, F&B, AV 1 week
During the event Put together badges and welcome bags // Volunteers: Have a volunteer bag stuffing party once all materials have arrived at the conference venue 1 week
During the event Communicate with participants // Sponsors, Program, Scholarships, Lodging: Send final info emails and draft welcome letters for: sponsors, speakers, attendees, staff, vips, scholarship winners 1 week
Organizer team Volunteer coordination being executed by volunteer coordinator event
During the event Manage help desk and registration desk event
During the event Facility manager / logistics manager for venue event
During the event Wifi specialist on call event
During the event A/V specialist / technican event
Promotion + Press Send press release within 3 days after
After the event Lodging: Collect full hotel room pick-up list within 1 week after
After the event Logistics: Collect and pay all outstanding invoices from vendors within 1 month after
After the event Videos: Post videos of presentations online, in coordination with video production team or company. within 1 month after
After the event Write official blog post and outcomes within 1 week after
After the event Send thank you email and feedback survey within 1 week after
After the event, Finances + Sponsoring Send thank you email to sponsors, include selected photos/ videos and press clippings
After the event Logistics: Conduct a post event meeting with all staff, venues, vendors, etc. within 1 month after
After the event, Finances + Sponsoring Logistics: Create the final post-event budget report within 1 - 2 months after
After the event, Finances + Sponsoring Maintain contact with sponsors after event - forever
After the event, Newcomers Have a follow-up community event for new members of your community within 6 months after