Volunteer your specialized skills to help nonprofits in need

Do you have skills that can benefit nonprofits looking to solve technology challenges in their organizations? Des Moines Charity Hack is looking for developers, designers, project managers, and innovators to volunteer their unique skillsets to help a nonprofit organization.

Des Moines Charity Hack 2020

When: Thursday, March 5 –
Saturday, March 7, 2020

Where: Curate

dsmHack 2020 tickets will be on sale in January.
Visit Eventbrite to purchase your tickets..

Frequently Asked Questions

I have dietary restrictions, will there be food available for me?

Yes. Please let us know of any dietary restrictions when you register and we will work to accommodate those needs.

Why should I volunteer as a hacker?

The tagline for dsmHack is “build.learn.give.” We believe that technology should never be a barrier to doing good. Your unique skills can tear down those barriers so that nonprofits can continue doing their amazing work.

You’ll work with other peers in the community and learn new skills and grow both personally and professionally in unexpected ways.

Also, if you’ve never been to a hackathon before, it’s a ton of fun in an energized environment!

What is the typical schedule of events?

Our event typically follows this schedule:

  • Day 1
    • 5:30pm – Participants and nonprofit reps will be checking in and mingling
    • 6:30pm – Kickoff presentation and nonprofit “speed dating”
    • 7:30pm – Let the hack begin!
  • Day 2
    • Meals will be served at 8am, 12pm, and 6pm (or so)
    • Teams will be coming/going all during the day.
    • We’ll have a couple of checkins throughout the event to get a feel for how the teams are progressing. Times TBD.
  • Day 3
    • Meals will be served at 8am, 12pm, and a buffet during the wrap event.
    • 6pm – Closing presentations
    • Mingle
What do I need to bring?

All you need to bring are the tools you need to get the job done. For most people this means a laptop (don’t forget the charger!), proper software of your preference, and yourself. We’ll provide the wireless access, snacks & beverages, and a seat for you to work at. But, you’ll be with us for awhile, so keep in mind what else might make you more comfortable. Maybe a wireless mouse? An extra sweatshirt? If you don’t plan on going home, your team might be happy about you bringing some deodorant …

Why is there a $25 cost to participate?

There is no cost or commitment needed from the nonprofits other than their time. The nominal cost for volunteer participants is pretty simple; we want to ensure you have some skin in the game. For our hack to be successful, we need participants sign up and show up. The $25 fee you’ll pay covers a t-shirt, some of our cost of food, and, of course, lots of tasty beverages! Our great sponsors are kicking in a lot more than that for all the fun treats you’ll indulge in over the course of the event.

We don’t want cost to prevent anyone from participating. Please contact us at info@dsmHack.org and let’s chat about how we can get you in the door.

Can I come with a pre-existing team?

Absolutely, just let us know at the event. A good rule of thumb is that a team is 5-9 people. We do ask that you try to pick a project that is appropriate in size if you’d like to stick with your team. For instance, if the project your team chooses is too small, we might ask some of you to pitch in on another project. If it’s too big, we might throw some other participants your way.

How should I ask for the day off?

Tell your team lead or supervisor that you’re giving back to the community and the time is being spent to support 501(c)3 organizations. Many companies offer time off for volunteer efforts. Use that time! Our organization information is listed in GuideStar, which your employer may need. This is also a great time to learn something new which may be used at your job in the near future. Training budgets are tight at most organizations. This is a win-win which will make great use of your time at almost no cost.

What if I can't participate during the day on Friday because of work?

No worries! We still ask that you come Thursday night to join a team and pick a project that will work with your time schedule and let your team know about your availability. We understand there will be participants joining around lunch on Friday and after work on Friday. For the sake of doing good, anytime is a good time.

What if I can't code? Is there a role for non-developers?

Absolutely! We will need designers, project and product managers, business minds, and any other creatives to work with the organizations to make sure their needs are not met, but exceeded! You will add substantial value to any team.

Do we have to build something from scratch or can we implement pre-existing tools?

We encourage both! Some organizations will need a new solution created, while many use pre-existing software and will need help implementing or optimizing it to continue being productive.

What coding languages will be allowed?

Anything and everything! Don’t hold back. Use what you know or explore something completely new. Just make sure that you’re making the right choice for the nonprofits for maintainability.