How to get Hackathon sponsors

Although we raised more than $16,000 in prizes for NaijaHacks 2018 — Nigeria’s biggest Tech Invention Competition, we had almost canceled the Hackathon because we failed when we first worked on getting Hackathon sponsors. In our first attempt, we raised $0. Nothing.

Get Hackathon Sponsors in Africa

Get Hackathon Sponsors in Africa

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

We were initially sending sponsorship packages/proposals to potential Hackathon sponsors but most of them could not sponsor. They ignored us. It made sense because they did not know what NaijaHacks was nor did they know me or any of the team members. This was the first edition and honestly, we had not done anything like this before. We almost gave up. We almost canceled the Hackathon. We almost accepted that NaijaHacks will not work out.

But we did not give up. We took a step back and went back to the drawing board. We decided to take a more data-driven holistic approach to fund-raising.

HERE’S IS WHAT WE DID: We analyzed hackathons that have happened in recent years, extracted all sponsors, ranked the sponsors by the number of hackathons and enriched the data with the prizes, contests, and swags that each sponsor provided for the hackathons they sponsored.

We did not give up. We took a step back and took a more holistic approach.

Armed with the insight and information from Github, we used Twitter to reach out to sponsors. We said something like “Hey @sponsor, we are organizing NaijaHacks 2018 in Oct. The scope is 500 hackers, 50% women, lots of prizes and swags.

Will you like to sponsor [The Prize that sponsor already provided at another hackathon]


Will you like to sponsor [With subscription/service/credit that sponsor provided to another hackathon]


Will you like to sponsor [With Swag that sponsor provided at another hackathon].”

With this formula and by mentioning the Hackathon sponsors, some of them replied with the email of the team/person to reach out to. We followed up, mentioned the tweet and the event they had already sponsored and asked them for specific things. Some of them, again, agreed to be sponsors and sent swag and even cash to our personal account even without speaking to us on phone.

We are privileged to have had more than 32 sponsors and appreciate all of them for believing in us. It’s been a huge privilege to plan NaijaHacks 2018. We are looking forward to taking NaijaHacks to an additional African country in 2019. We are super excited about this and looking forward to sharing more details in the coming months.

Check out AfricaHacks to learn how to organize a Hackathon in Africa.

Updated March 28, 2020

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