You have launched your hackathon and have started getting participants to sign up. Be sure to communicate with your participants throughout your hackathon to provide them guidance, updates, inspiration, or even appreciation. Depending on your goal, there are different ways to do this:
- Message all participants. The Update feature allows you to contact all registered participants through email and as a bulletin. More details on this feature are below.
- Message submitters privately about their projects. The submission messaging tool can be used for you to contact a team/individual via their submission. Please see the Message the submitter section for more details. It’s not a great way to handle general messaging because it can only be sent once someone has a draft submission started and is written one by one.
- Message individuals or subsets of participants. Export a list of registrants or projects and filter by any of the fields included and then email them off the Devpost platform. Please be aware that you may need further permission to email them beyond the hackathon. Please see the Metrics and reports page for more details.
Devpost has a tool called Updates to help you communicate with participants. This article will help answer the below questions:
- What is an update?
- Where do I see my updates?
- How do I send an update?
- How often should I send updates?
- What are the default updates?
What is an update?
An update is similar to a blog post but it is also emailed to all current participants of the hackathon. Ideally, your updates are informative, quick to read, and deepen participant engagement which helps your hackathon succeed.
All of your updates will live on the Updates tab of your hackathon site and they will be emailed to current participants. The Updates tab ensures participants can reference all important updates at any time even if they join the hackathon late.
Where do I see my updates?
Your updates are accessible at any time and can be scheduled in advance. You can find your updates in two ways:
- Hackathon Site. If you are logged into Devpost, you will see Manage as the last option of your hackathon’s navigation bar. Click Manage from your hackathon’s site then click Updates.
- Your Profile. Login to your Devpost account and hover over your profile image in the top right corner. Select Manage hackathons and click the gear icon to the right of the hackathon name, then click Updates.
Note that if you are not a hackathon organizer, you will not see Manage in your hackathon navigation bar or Manage hackathons in your avatar’s dropdown menu. To host a hackathon, please see the Host a hackathon page for more details.
How do I send an update?
From the Updates tab you can click the yellow Create a new update button to start writing and scheduling a new update.
Here are some important things to keep in mind.
- When emailed, the title will be the subject line and the name of your hackathon will automatically be added.
- Write and format your update within the provided text box as copy/pasted formatting will be automatically altered.
- Always use the scheduling tool under Send and publish: called At a specific date and time to give you a chance to test the email.
- Once saved, you can then Edit the update and Send a test email to yourself.
How often should I send an update?
We recommend scheduling 1 update every 1 - 2 weeks throughout your hackathon. This will keep your hackathon top of mind for your participants without spamming their inbox. If you are hosting a short hackathon less than a month long, try to refrain from sending more than 1 update every 2 days.
What are the default updates?
Based on how you have set up your hackathon the Updates tab automatically includes up to three default messages.
- A ‘Final call’ update is sent out to your participants three days prior to the deadline to remind them to submit.
- Every hackathon on Devpost has winners which need to be announced and once winners are announced an automated update is sent.
- If you select to use the Public Voting feature on Devpost, an update will be added to your Updates section and it will be scheduled for the start of the public voting.
All three updates can be edited or turned off, however, we highly recommend that these updates are sent out as they are relevant milestones in the hackathon and may be vital for participant engagement.