New with GiveBackHack: post your idea in advance & bring your “partially-vetted” ideas

For our first 2 years, we were hyper focused on being the launchpad for brand new social enterprise ideas that were all pitched for the first time on Friday night. We did this because we wanted to ensure a level playing field for all teams.

Since then, we identified that the ideas and teams that have the best opportunity of scaling over time are the ones that have been swimming around in minds for more time. So, we’ve made a few changes.

Summary (tl;dr):

  • Ideas can now be posted in advance of attending GiveBackHack
  • You can now bring ideas that have some work done and are not brand new, too – but only if it is accepted via the application process.
  • No partially-vetted ideas will be accepted or pitched Friday night that are not approved via the application process.
  • Brand new social enterprise ideas are always accepted at GiveBackHack. We are committed to this.
  • To pitch a brand new idea at GiveBackHack, you do not need to post it in advance.
  • All ideas will still be pitched on Friday night – no one needs to decide on a team in advance.
  • As always, there is no guarantee that you’ll find a team and therefore be able to work on your idea at GiveBackHack: you have to recruit the team at the event (read more below).
  • Posting in advance does gives you an advantage, though: people can think about your idea in advance and you may even recruit members to join your team more easily!
  • If this is interesting to you, please read the full article for details. They matter a lot.
  • Still have questions? Email

What’s different?

This year, we will open up the opportunity for attendees to post ideas in advance of the weekend. These ideas can still be brand new, but this year we’re also opening up the process to “partially vetted” ideas that have minimal work done. In the past, any idea that has had work done before Friday night was a strict no-go.

How does it work?

If you have a “partially-vetted” idea that you’ve already been working on, you will need to put it through the application process. From there, the GiveBackHack team will evaluate the current progress on your idea in order to identify if GiveBackHack is the right launchpad for you. Some ideas will be a bit too far along in the entrepreneurial process and won’t be appropriate for the event. If that’s the case, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction (like a local accelerator or funding path).

If your idea fits the format of GiveBackHack, you’ll receive an email letting you know you’ve been accepted to the event – and we’ll even give you a free ticket. Your idea will then be posted in advance to all GiveBackHack attendees and community members. This does not guarantee your idea will continue on into the weekend (see more info below), but it will provide you with the ability to pitch on Friday night.

If your idea is brand new, you can also post it in advance via the application process. Brand new ideas will not be subject to the same strict analysis as “partially vetted” ideas but will still be posted for potential attendees to review prior to the weekend. Having a posted idea does not guarantee your idea will continue on into the weekend (see more info below), but it will provide you with the ability to pitch on Friday night.

Posting your idea in advance provides you with an advantage: people can start to familiarize themselves with your idea and think through their interest, maybe even do a bit of research in advance. It’s possible a person may even come to the event with the desire to work on your idea!

What kind of ideas are considered “partially vetted” and need to be pre-approved?

Any idea where work has already started. If you have a prototype, a website, customers, users, or have received funding or awards in the past, you need to get this idea approved before pitching at the event. This will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis based on applications.

On Friday night, we’ll still pitch brand new ideas as we have in the past, but this time, we will also be including pitches for the ideas that were pre-approved via an application process. Getting approval on your partially vetted idea or having your idea posted in advance does not guarantee you get to work on it at GiveBackHack. You have to recruit a team to join you (see more below).

Why would I want to bring a “partially vetted” idea to GiveBackHack?

This is a great question that you should put a lot of thought into. GiveBackHack is a community that is excited to support social enterprise. However, for an idea to be accepted into the event itself, it needs to be deeply integrated into the community. So, bring your “partially vetted” idea to GiveBackHack if:

  • You’re looking for cofounders and additional team members. This could be a business-hustler, a social impact expert, a designer, a developer or any combination of community members. It’s important to note that we don’t use the word “cofounder” lightly. If you think you’re a bit too far along to invite cofounders onboard, your idea is a bit too far along to find success at GiveBackHack
  • You’re open to modifying your idea, pivoting, or going a different direction based on learnings and advice from community members (including team members, mentors and judges). If you already know the direction you’re going and you will not waiver, GiveBackHack won’t be helpful for you as you continue your entrepreneurial journey.

If you bring a partially-vetted idea to GiveBackHack, you are required to:

  • Recruit at least 1 individual from outside of your current team to join you for the weekend and moving forward. If you don’t find the right match for your idea on Friday night when teams are formed, the idea is not right for the event and we’ll ask that you pick a different idea to support during the weekend.
  • Be open to including all individuals attending onto your team if there is interest. This does not necessarily mean this will be the same team you continue with for the perpetuity of your company, but if there is a fit in skill, etc. you must be open to the idea.

Will “partially vetted” and pre-posted ideas be eligible for funding on Sunday night? Is that fair?

As long as the team has followed the rules outlined above (and they receive approval from the GiveBackHack organizing team and/or judges, as applicable), any pre-posted, newly pitched, or “partially vetted” ideas are eligible to receive funding on Sunday night. GiveBackHack exists to serve as a launchpad for social enterprise, so this helps us accomplish our goal of launching new ideas and helping them grow. In terms of fairness, ideas that are posted in advance will have an advantage. “Partially vetted” ideas also have an inherent advantage. Anyone has the opportunity to post an idea in advance and/or start vetting their idea – so get to it!

GiveBackHack is committed to being the launchpad for social enterprise. We’re dedicated to lowering the barriers to vetting early stage ideas, pulling community in, and creating lasting impact. We’ve collected data on our prior experience that have led us to this approach. We’re excited to be working with you to furthering this impact.

If my “partially vetted” idea is accepted, will I automatically get a team at GiveBackHack?

No. Approval of an idea indicates that you have the type of idea that could succeed at a GiveBackHack-styled event. The great part of GiveBackHack is there is real-life market validation via your fellow attendees on Friday night.

If your idea is approved, you’ll win the chance to pitch your idea on Friday (60 seconds). From there, you are responsible for creating a compelling case for other GiveBackHack attendees to join your team.

Not all ideas that are approved and posted will be worked on during GiveBackHack – this doesn’t mean you have a good or bad idea. It just means that it may or may not be right for the crowd of community you’re looking for support from over the weekend.

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