Pitching a marketing strategy may not be something new for business students, but combining real-world business scenarios and mission-driven solutions may be a different, innovative experience for them.

The NGO Hackathon was a week-long initiative that started with a kick-off event on February 5th. The event involved five organizations with social missions in need of marketing strategies. The participating students were given one week to gather initial research and develop proposals and suggestions that would help the NGOs better appeal to their target market.

With the culminating event held on February 12th, the NGO Hackathon included a panel discussion with the nonprofit leaders, presentations by students, as well as the judges’ final announcement of the winners.

Here is a recap of the organizations involved and the winning student teams:

Kids First Foundation

Cultural Care Kids First Foundation is the social responsibility arm of Cultural Care Au Pair. With its mission to help children in need, Kids First sought help from the Hult participants. The teams were challenged to create a marketing strategy that would allow them to gather more volunteers for their projects. At the same time, the company wanted to broaden the reach of the au pair program.

The winners from Team 3 were Kirthana Gandhiappan (Masters in International Business), Laura Catalina Bohorquez Toro (Masters in International Business), Niveditha Ramesh (Masters in International Business), and Waldy Arriola Flores (Masters in International Business).

“Kids First has au pairs, so it’s basically framing strategies for people like us. I thought it would be easy,” says Gandhiappan. It turned out to be a challenge for her team, having to implement marketing plans for their NGO. In the end, her team proposed building an app for the NGO’s donors.

Land’s Sake

By working with people from different backgrounds to cultivate their care for food and land, Land’s Sake aims to connect people who are inspired to provide stewardship and meaningful connections. A community farm in Weston, MA, Land’s Sake challenged Hult participants to devise a plan that could increase the NGO’s membership, participation, and financial support from the local communities.

The winners from Team 5 were Abdulla Abbasi (MBA-Masters in Finance), Eunhee Kim (MBA), and Yuvraj Kshirsagar (MBA).

“Since they are a small farm, our marketing pitch was focused on utilizing the best strength they had to get people’s attention,” said Abbasi.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (or IFAW) were seeking a campaign strategy that would save the North Atlantic Right Whale. As its mission is to protect animals all over the world, IFAW sees the multi-year plan as a way to reduce the threats among endangered species.

The winners from Team 4 were Mays Marouf (Masters in Finance), Jonathan Fuentes (Masters in International Business), Kaye Garcia (Masters in International Business),  Natalia Dominique Chavez Rodriguez (Masters in International Business), and Terry Mcmillan (Masters in International Business)

Garcia talked us through her pitch, “We created our marketing campaign around awareness. We wondered how people can help the North Atlantic whales from becoming extinct, if people don’t even know that this problem exists. So we created a pilot event that was regional. The kickoff of the event would be in New England, since there’s a lot of whale activity around there. We decided to create a website specifically for the whales. Throughout the one-year campaign, we would have wildlife advocates attend schools and talk about the critically-endangered species.”

At the end of the year, their team will have created a space for NGOs and the government sector where they can discuss possible solutions. In line with the NGO’s mission, they created an immediate and doable plan to involve the government sector—”as they are the ones that can really help with fishing regulations and others that have an effect on the whales,” said Garcia.

Panel discussion of leaders from different non-profit organizations.

One World Strong

Being an NGO dedicated to helping the victims of terrorism and traumatic events, the One World Strong Foundation is seeking a launch strategy that creates awareness of the organization’s mission. With the aid of Hult students, it hopes to gain more revenue through its prospective donors.

The winners from Team 7 were Andrea Zapata Fuentes (Masters in International Business), Berta Camila Halpern Calderon (Masters in International Marketing), Camila Vieiera (Masters is International Marketing), Mara Avila Ibarra (Masters in International Marketing), Laura Camila Bonilla Venegas (MBA), Maria Lopez (MBA), and Rinata Likhanova (Masters in International Marketing).

“Our proposal was to launch a campaign that generates awareness of One World Strong’s mission. We devised a long-term strategy for the foundation and a short-term plan to create a series of stories. The stories are inspired by the examples of recovery of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings. This year is the 5th anniversary,” said Lopez. “We proposed to use Brandon Stanton, who founded Humans of New York, as a vehicle to develop this campaign and share the stories.”

Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization. It aims to empower the lives of breast cancer patients and to cure breast cancer. The NGO has imposed a challenge to build a “Whole Health Initiative” which aims to look at large foundations such as GE and Boston Foundations for additional funding.

The winners from Team 1 were Dima Alameddine (MBA-Masters in International Marketing), Evelina Lefterova (Masters in International Business-Masters in International Marketing), Franziska Stranzinger (Masters in International Business-Masters in International Marketing), Lucia Gandolfi (Masters in International Business-Masters in International Marketing), and Yasmin Hussein (Masters in International Business-Masters in International Marketing).

“Recently they wanted to develop a ‘Whole Health’ Approach and expand beyond medical care,” said Alameddine. “Based on that, our pitch focused on the nutritional well-being of cancer patients, as proper nutrition is critical for people at risk of cancer or who have, or have survived breast cancer. It included working with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to facilitate access to nutritional counselling, as well as Hannaford Supermarkets to provide affordable nutritious foods and nutrition workshops for breast cancer patients.”

Hult teams present their final pitch to the judges.












The winners were awarded certificates by the school, as well as receiving personal invitations by the NGO officers to attend their campaign events in the future.

To all of those involved: well done!

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