Building a team
Create a well-organised team to cover all aspects of the event, from locating a suitable venue, managing the budget, managing sponsors, and promoting the event to preparing workshops and arranging ticketing. During the event, make sure that all areas are covered with knowledgeable volunteers and that there are enough volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the event.
Before you set a date or book a venue, you should work out whether your MegaDojo is financially viable. MegaDojos are typically run with limited or no cost associated, the same as Dojos. You should try and find a venue you are allowed to use for free, and you can perhaps seek donations to cover promotional items such as t-shirts for attending Ninjas. However, you should still plan a budget. The budget is your projection of the funds to be raised and the expenditure that the event will incur: this includes any expected funding from sponsors or other sources, as well as expected costs of any necessary purchases, hiring fees, etc.
When choosing a venue, your very first consideration should be your estimate of how many people will attend your MegaDojo. Typically, a MegaDojo is a large-scale event, so the space should be suitable for this. You should also consider the following; layout, accessibility, capacity, parking, services/amenities, insurance, rental fee, ICT services, catering, AV/sound facilities. We encourage you to source a free or discounted venue for the event, as it can be one of the top organisational costs. MegaDojos have been held in universities, government buildings, etc.
Sponsorship for the event
Determining what you think the cost of your MegaDojo will be will help you develop a sponsorship strategy. Be realistic about how much funding you can raise. Sponsorship can come in the form of monetary donations or goods/services. You should approach technology companies, educational institutions, and related organisations in the local area for support.
Communications and marketing
The best way to spread the word in your area and drum up the interest of the general public is to reach out to regional media about coverage of your MegaDojo. You also can create a website for the event. If it is a small, local event, this is not vital, but it can be useful for directing people to a single place where all details, updates, and links are available. Alternatively, you can use a social media event page for the same purpose.
It is the ethos of CoderDojo to provide free events, but it is worth using an online ticketing service even if you don’t charge for tickets. It will allow you to keep track of the number of attendees you should expect, and to send targeted pre-event messages with updates, reminders, and information to ticket holders to keep up their interest.
Workshops and resources
Keeping the attendees engaged is central to a successful MegaDojo. There should be a dynamic mix of interesting workshops on a variety of topics and a range of levels to inspire and excite your potential new Ninjas and volunteers. Previous workshops at MegaDojo cover topics such as Scratch, Meet Edison, Python, and VFX.
Depending on the size of your MegaDojo and whether your budget allows it, promotional packs (with t-shirts, badges, stickers, and/or other goodies) can be a nice way for the young people to remember the event.