Over the last three years, the Geeks Without Bounds team has been helping promising hackathon projects become sustainable through our Accelerator Program. Working with experts in a range of subjects, we’ve narrowed down a few areas that are important to all teams that come through our program. During the second half of 2014 we trialed a new curriculum with an eye to making sure that all of our teams would get the most from our program, with support for both the business and technical sides of creating a long-lasting, sustainable Free and Open Source civic or humanitarian project. Our core curriculum covers five main topics:

What does sustainability look like for this project?

  • What are the key qualities of this project?
  • Developing an elevator pitch.
  • Developing a shared vision.
  • Deciding on priorities.
  • Developing roadmaps.
  • What is the best container for this project?
  • Should your project become a for profit company?
    A nonprofit? Should you join an existing organization? Would it be best to exist as a non-incorporated community?

Funding Sources

  • Crowdfunding, grants, corporate sponsorships, membership dues, fee for service, angels, and other funding sources.
  • We guide you through a fundraising campaign so that you can raise the money to pay for the Accelerator Program and cover your own expenses on this project.

Developing an open source community

  • Creating on-boarding documentation.
  • Snowballing your development team by taking your project to more hackathons.
  • Finding volunteers to fill holes in your team’s skillset.
  • The care and feeding of volunteers.
  • Speaking at conferences.
  • Reaching out to existing local and global communities.


  • Involving your target audience in every stage of development.
  • Understanding the needs of the users, administrators, and other stakeholders.
  • User interface design.
  • User testing.

Privacy and Security

  • Designing your project with privacy and security in mind.
  • Understanding trade-offs and communicating them effectively with your end users.
  • Navigating compliance issues.
  • You will also have the opportunity to have your project tested and/or code-reviewed by volunteers to help you understand where your project needs improvement.

In addition to these topics, many teams have special needs that can be addressed with the help of GWOB volunteers and outside subject matter experts during their 6 months of mentorship.

Do you have more questions? Check out our FAQ.

Are you ready to apply? Fill out this form.