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Fundraising Ideas

We've successfully used 360 Photo Contest with humane societies, but the sky is the limit!

Some fundraising ideas include:

- 4H clubs (best prize livestock photo)
- Car shows and collectors (best vintage car photo)
- Antique collectors
- Tourism offices (best vacation photo)

Are you a local photographer looking for a way to promote your studio? Hold a photo contest for your favorite local charity and award the winner their own personal photo shoot!

Ideas that incorporate your users' photos will work well with our system in your fundraising efforts.

You'll need to make your Photo Contest enticing in order to guarantee the maximum number of participants. One way is by offering a creative prize package.

Contest Theme Ideas

How To Create A Calendar Contest

The top thirteen entries with the most votes will be added to the calendar with the top vote getter being on the front of the calendar. Calendars can be created in bulk online at CafePress, big-name pharmacies, or any other local print shop. You might want to go with local businesses first if you can. Calendar pricing and quality may vary by vendor so you might want to shop around. If you plan to mail out your calendars you might want to budget for postage and communicate when you will receive and send out your prizes.

You can market the fundraiser as a great opportunity to help a great cause and gain exposure as an amateur photographer or to just have fun taking photos. The barrier to entering is low since a majority of people use a smartphone or are able to upload photos from a digital camera.

1. Look locally or at a larger level for sponsorship
2. Organize price quotes and gather info (quality, look for online reviews) about calendar vendors
3. Start your fundraising contest (don’t forget the basics)
4. Share your contest with your audience and community
5. Thank your donors and sponsors after the fundraiser
6. Print your calendars and send them out to winners and sponsors (as a thank you)
7. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on social media! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

View a basic fundraiser process outline

How to create a best t-shirt design contest

The top voted entry or top three entries will get printed on a t-shirt. T-shirts can be printed in bulk online at CafePress, Custom Ink, or any other local signage shop. You will want to go with local businesses first if you can to build rapport.

There’s a lot of flexibility with this contest. You can provide the printed t-shirt as a prize to the winner(s) and you can sell the t-shirt on your website (with the winner’s permission). The shirts can also have your non-profit’s name and website URL on it and you can hand it out at public events.

Things to consider

1. You might want to ask local print or signage shops to see if they would like to be a sponsor.
2. Offer a t-shirt to your sponsors as a thank you.
3. You may have to pay a designer (at the print/signage shop, freelance, or nothing if you have a designer on staff) to recreate the winning design into a printable format.
4. Postage costs for mailing t-shirts might need to be budgeted for.
5. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on social media! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

View a basic fundraiser process outline

Create a hashtag themed contest

Entrants can create a “hashtag” theme involving something related to your cause or non-profit. For instance, if your non-profit involves animals you could do a “#petfunnyfaces” theme and entrants can upload photos of pets.

Other than a “best fit” for a hashtag you can also have entrants come up with a tasteful hashtag and upload a photo. The photo itself can be of an artistic representation of a hashtag, such as a painting or caligraphy, or a photo with a hashtag as an entry title (as long it’s tasteful).

You might have to look for quite a bit more sponsorship for the first idea but the second has different options. Since the first contest idea doesn’t produce anything that can be a prize outside vendors will have to pitch in. With the second idea, the winning photo can be printed as a poster, t-shirt, or calendar and used as a prize.

Things to consider

1. Be sure to communicate that entries should be tasteful for the photo, photo title, and photo description.
2. If you choose to use the winning entry as a prize be sure you have a vendor lined up to create the intended prize.
3. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on social media! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

View a basic fundraiser process outline

Start an online bake sale

Baked goods can be donated to your cause or non-profit and posted to your contest and the item with the most votes wins. This works well with sharing the contest as donors can ask their friends/followers to vote for them. Donated items can be uploaded during an entry period and voted on within a small window of time.

This fundraiser works well within a local area since the post office doesn’t really allow food to be sent by mail. The drawbacks involve when the baked items can be delivered and still be safe to eat.

Things to consider

1. Make sure to line up donors for baked goods to deliver items on time before contest voting begins.
2. Email the contest URL to every donor so they can help share on social media.
3. Thank your donors and volunteers after the contest is over.
4. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on social media! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

Set up a "jail a person" contest

Enter local business owners or personalities into a photo contest to let the community vote on who should be “jailed”. The top entry would have to dress up in an outfit and be staged in a photo shoot in a fake jail.

This is a fun idea to help boost your social presence and build an audience locally. You may want to partner with a photographer to help with the photo shoot and any image editing.

Remember to keep the photo shoot tasteful and respectful to the person who is being “jailed”. Keep the experience light-hearted and fun. It wouldn’t hurt to have the “jailed” person approve of any photos or text-based posts regarding the photo shoot.

Things to consider:

1. Make sure the people you plan to use as entries are on-board for being in the fundraiser.
2. The people who could be “jailed” may have schedules to work around. Ask them if they can block off a certain amount of time for the fundraiser in case they are “jailed”.
3. Have the “jailed” person approve of any social media posts to avoid any damage to reputation.
4. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on social media! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

Trail of Lights Fundraiser

Generate excitement in your community this holiday season with a Trail of Lights Photo Contest hosted by your local Chamber of Commerce or non-profit organization. Photo entries can by submitted by the entrant or by the host. Get the word out and raise funds for charity or other purposes.

As with all of our contests, there can be an entry fee or no fee, but regardless, you have to donate to vote. Some contests will allow the donor to select from a group of charitable organizations as to where the funds will go. Prizes could be provided by local businesses to add excitement.

There are many variations to this contest. Some cities run a business trail of lights to get the general public to visit the local stores. Other communities residential contests with prizes from local businesses. Some run both contests.

Things to consider

1. Make sure to line up donors for prizes before contest voting begins.
2. Email the contest URL to every donor so they can help share on social media.
3. Thank your donors and volunteers after the contest is over.
4. Be sure to share the URL for the fundraiser on your social media and create a buzz! Likes, retweets, and shares help spread the word!

Extend Your Fundraiser

Don't forget to thank your donors and sponsors

The final item in any fundraiser is thanking the people who made it a success: the donors and sponsors. Showing gratitude toward your donors and sponsors lets them know they are appreciated in helping with your cause. There are a number of ways to show your appreciation.

Send a hand-written thank you

Hand-written "thank you's" might apply mostly to sponsors but it can apply to donors in some cases. People enjoy getting hand-written thank you notes because it took someone time to physically write down their appreciation.

Post on social media

Using social channels for gratitude will help to give mention to specific people and businesses who have assisted with your fundraiser

Post an ad in the local newspaper

If your fundraiser was held within a local area you can thank everyone who participated with an ad in the newspaper. The ad itself just needs to be seen and doesn’t need to be a large-scale item since the space will cost money.

Call sponsors directly

It doesn’t hurt to call your sponsors directly and personally thank them for their help with your fundraiser. If the sponsor is busy on a regular basis you might want to go with the hand-written thank you note instead.

Offer free items to your sponsors

If the goal of your fundraiser is to create some sort of item to sell (t-shirts, calendars, etc.) offer a few to your sponsor for free as a token of gratitude.

There are also a few items to consider when expressing your gratitude. Be brief with your message when writing thank you notes and include how the sponsor’s or donor’s help with assist your cause. Add a means of directing traffic to a sign up page for your newsletter to your thank you email or social media post. Remember to be in communication with your donors.

Ask for regular donorship

Asking previous donors for regular donations is very difficult. On their side of things they have a budget to work within and business overhead. However, they may be interested in giving regularly if you just ask in the right manner.

Preparation for donor meeting

The best way to get closer to a “yes” answer is to prepare for your meeting. Do some research on your donors beyond what you already know about them. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror and record yourself making your pitch. Tell a story about how your your cause is beneficial to give donors a perspective of how regular funding assists your cause.

Asking for regular donations

It’s time to put your practice into action in your donor meeting. Remember that the donation is about their needs whether it’s a personal connection to your cause, a need to be connected to the community, or tax reasons. Be sure to let them know that their past contrubutions have been appreciated. A “no” answer doesn’t mean that they won’t be a regular donor in the future as they may need to make room in the budget or run things by an accountant first.

Sponsor Advice

Finding sponsors

Finding fundraiser sponsorship can be tricky at times. You need to do quite a bit of networking and navigating through social circles to find interested parties. If you’re new to finding sponsors it may take some time. You’ll probably want to do this before starting your fundraiser.

You’ll also want to identify where you can use help in your fundraiser. Prizes and funding may be what you’re after but volunteers can be a great help as well. This will help when meeting with people or even asking around.

1. Ask your audience

It never hurts to reach out and ask a few select individuals if they know of someone or a certain business that might be interested in donating time or prizes. If you have a good social following someone might know a person that can help volunteer time or services.

2. Ask local businesses

Asking to meet with local businesses can help you determine if the business can help you now and in the future. The meeting can tell you if they might be need more time, budget, or if they need to see how much exposure they will get with your fundraiser.

3. Ask local individuals

This is similar to the first step only you’re looking for face-to-face or phone conversations. This method is also good for just getting the word out to people that you’re looking for sponsorship or volunteers.

Lend a hand locally

Even if you’re not currently working on getting sponsors lined up for a fundraiser you’ll always want to be doing the following things to make sure you have good rapport in your area or within your online social network.

1. Network

Get out in the community and talk and get to know people. You’ll be able to get an idea of how you can help others in the community and get a better idea of how things operate in different businesses, local government, and social circles.

2. Lend a hand

If they need assistance with certain things and it meets the strengths of your non-profit offer to lend a hand. This is part of building a strong community and lets others know about your non-profit.

3. Ask if help is needed

It never hurts to directly ask others if they need help with events or other items. Sometimes it serves as a reminder for individuals who may have an event or service project coming up and may need a hand.

If you’re willing to help others they will also be likely to assist you with your fundraisers later on. Just be sure to be genuine when offering help, dispensing it, and asking for help later on.

After landing a sponsor

If you have one of your first sponsors, or if you’ve had a few previously, you know how much work it takes to get them on board in the first place. You’ll need to be in communication and agreement with what your sponsor will be providing, provide some sort of advertising (if applicable), and thank them when the fundraiser is over.

Communication is key

Always be positively communicating with your sponsors as well as your donors. If you need to set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting take a moment to do so. If the sponsor is less formal about things you could just schedule a call to touch base every week or two.

You’ll want to touch on a few items regarding what your sponsor will be providing. This could involve lining up volunteers for certain things leading up to or during the fundraiser or arranging for funds to go to certain areas of the fundraiser. Meetings can also involve communicating deadlines and making sure items get from your sponsors over to prize vendors; for example, getting sponsor logos over to a local printer.

Advertising for the sponsor

This is the unwritten rule of sponsorship: most sponsors will usually expect to get some kind of exposure in return. Usually this exposure comes in the form of advertising within your fundraiser somehow.

There are different ways you can help advertise for your sponsor. There is an area in your photo contest to provide logos and links to sponsor websites. If you’re doing a contest that involves some kind of created item (calendar, t-shirt) you could have your print company add the sponsor’s logo or name and phone number to the item.

Expressing gratitude

After the fundraiser has ended and prizes have been sent out be sure to thank your sponsors. Usually a mention of the sponsor and contact person in a social post is a great way of thanking the sponsor and possibly driving more traffic to them. A handwritten thank you note is always a good sign of gratitude.

Motivate With Prizes

Communicating about your prizes

Offering prizes for your fundraiser is a great incentive for individuals to participate. Keeping everyone informed about what they can win and how to win is important for building momentum for your fundraiser.

At the beginning of your fundraiser you’ll want to establish what your prizes are as well as some ground rules. On the prizes page of your fundraising contest list out all the prizes you plan to give out including any for placing in the contest. Also be detailed in what guidelines get set forth on the rules page of your site.

Sometimes things come up and certain prizes may not be available or need to be substituted. Immediately, upon knowing what needs to happen with prizes, make any needed changes to the prizes and rules pages. Update the contest description on the main page of the website and send out a post on social media to update anyone who is interested in the contest.

At the end of the fundraiser be sure to thank all your participants and get prizes out to winners. Reach out via email to winners and let them know of any wait times for vendors or sponsors to produce the prizes and get mailing information if necessary.

Sweetening the contest

There may be times where you may want to either enhance your prize offerings or offer alternatives. There may be scenarios for going either way: no sponsor commitment, sponsor dropping out, and so forth. There are creative alternates to overcoming prize shortcomings and it comes down to knowing the strengths of your non-profit and the theme of your contest.

  • Offer a created item for the fundraiser as a prize
    It can be a t-shirt, calendar, or other item that will result from your contest.
  • Consider “off the wall” prize
    Something as simple as medals created using candy bars and ribbon could be a fun prize. However, it will have to fit into the theme of your fundraiser.
  • Offer a prize in trade
    You could organize a 1-2 hour workshop on a topic of strength within your non-profit. For example, if social marketing is a strength of your non-profit you can pass along that expertise to a winner as a prize.
  • Give photographers/designers exposure
    Extra exposure is a great way to incentivize photographers or designers if they are winners in your fundraiser. However, this works well if you have a well-built audience and social presence.
  • Supply gift cards
    Gift cards and community business backed coupons are also good ways to offer some kind of a prize to winners. This might have to come out of any funds raised for the fundraiser but it could help boost the number of entries.

Prize Ideas Based on Previous Campaigns

The top 13 winners are placed in a calendar, with the first place winner on the cover of the calendar. The calendars can then be sold for additional fundraising revenue. Some of our organizations use the services of a professional photographer for the calendar photos (with the photo shoot offered as part of prize package). Otherwise, you can have the contest winners re-submit the original photo to you after the contest is over. Factor 360 can lend their design services to make your calendar memorable! We can handle everything from the design to obtaining competitive quotes on the production. Contact us for your options.


Offer the chance of being your organization's mascot for a year. Feature the mascot prominently on the front page of your website and promotional campaign materials throughout the year.

This mascot might appear at other fundraising events. They could also be mentioned in local public awareness segments, especially if they are an adopted pet placed through a local association.

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