Successful fundraising initiatives are vital for any nonprofit organization, but they can often be stressful and laborious to plan while yielding less-than-stellar results. If you’re looking for a fun, easy, and creative way to raise money for your nonprofit organization, you can’t go wrong with a photo calendar contest.
Getting your community engaged and excited about a calendar contest is a great way to build awareness and community around your cause. Plus, the end result is a unique keepsake that captures the spirit of your nonprofit organization; keeping it in front of people’s eyes all year long.
How to Create a Contest Calendar
- Brainstorm Contest Theme
- Set Up Calendar Contest with 360PhotoContest.com
- Promote Your Calendar Contest
- Choose Winning Submissions
- Partner with a Print Shop
- Sell Contest Calendars
In this digital age, it may sound counterintuitive, but many people still love paper calendars—especially when a paper calendar represents someone or something they love. According to a recent New York Times article, sales of paper calendars, even amidst a highly digital landscape, have not only failed to drop, but have actually risen in recent years. And what better keepsake for stakeholders in your organization than to have a photo calendar that keeps your cause top of mind every single day as they plan activities?
In fact, a personalized calendar is likely to make it that much more useful and cherished among your audience. And when a calendar contest really resonates with your stakeholders, you also have the opportunity to repeat it over multiple years.
The combination of all these characteristics makes a calendar contest a highly effective fundraising option for your organization. And when you partner with 360PhotoContest.com, you can rest assured that your calendar contest will go on without a hitch, raising as much money as possible for your nonprofit organization.
Benefits of Creating a Contest Calendar
There are many benefits associated with creating a calendar contest. First, these fundraising ideas are fun and easy, and they generally attract a lot of participation. From amateur photographers or artists to those who just want to support your organization, entering images in a calendar contest is a quick and easy way to get involved with a cause. And since everyone carries a smartphone, most of the time, it’s super easy for people to snap and edit images to quickly upload onto our calendar contest platform.
Creating a calendar art contest raises donations for your organization in various ways. First, you can consider charging an entry fee for people to submit their photograph. And, of course, with the 360PhotoContest platform, you can collect monetary donations for votes. Most organizations end up charging $1 per vote, which can add up quickly on behalf of your organization.
You also can print enough photo calendars that you can sell them to participants and other supporters after the calendar contest winner is announced. And one of the best benefits? If the idea really takes off, a calendar contest is something that’s easily repeatable, year after year.
How to Create a Contest Calendar
Setting up a calendar contest couldn’t be simpler. Rather than engaging in laborious and complicated contest planning and setup, all you have to do is define your calendar contest parameters, sign your agreement, and then get your stakeholder community excited. Here’s how:
1. Brainstorm Contest Theme
Advance planning is essential for a successful fundraising contest, and a calendar contest is no exception. The most successful calendar contests are able to pull people together around a common theme. Before you launch your calendar contest, take some time to brainstorm what might resonate well with your stakeholder audience. Are there particular traditions, nostalgic memories, or other common themes that can draw your audiences together? Those are great places to start, since they represent an emotional connection with your stakeholder community.
More general calendar theme ideas might include ideas like changing seasons or natural landscapes. Your theme could require all photographs to be black and white, one particular color, or even focus on pet portrait photography. Maybe your calendar contest could focus on unique architectural photography from your organization’s campus(es). The creativity possibilities are endless!
You can choose one theme for the whole calendar, or designate themes by month. There’s no one right way to structure your calendar contest, so feel free to develop a contest theme that is unique and special to your organization. You can choose whether to accept illustrations or other original artwork in addition to photography, or to limit submissions to a particular type of art. The sky’s the limit.
2. Set Up Calendar Contest with 360PhotoContest.com
Setting up your calendar contest with 360PhotoContest.com is quick, easy and painless. We’ll host everything on our platform, so you don’t even need a web site to make your calendar contest a reality. You just need to have clear contest rules, and we’ll handle the rest.
As you promote your calendar contest, participants will upload their photos through our online fundraising platform’s entry form. Then they will then share their personalized link with their own social networks, asking their friends and family to vote for their submission. As the votes come in, our platform will allow you to set a donation for each vote, and people can vote as many times as they like. The unlimited voting feature increases your chances of raising as much money as possible for your organization.
When the closing date for your calendar contest arrives, we’ll stop the contest, tabulate the results, and send you the donations your contest has earned. Additionally, we’ll supply you with a contact list of everyone who submitted a photo entry and voted, which provides you with a useful list of donors to continue informing about organization info, events, and upcoming contests.
If you’re still curious about what it’s like to work with us, check out our contest testimonials for more information.
3. Promote Your Calendar Contest
This is the part of the process where you tap into your existing stakeholder distribution networks. If you already have a web site and social media accounts, those are great ways to promote your calendar contest. We’ll provide you with a unique URL that you can use to drive people to your calendar contest through your organization’s websites, social media accounts, email lists, etc. Depending on your specific organization and situation, you may even send press releases to the local media or run a series of ads to encourage people to participate. You can put up flyers or banners in your physical spaces, as well as include contest information in your newsletter, if you have one.
If you want to get a little more robust with how you’re promoting your calendar photo contest, we can also help you develop customized homepage content to use for contest promotion. You may also include sponsor logos in your contest footer, and create a customized email for all contest participants.
4. Choose Winning Submissions
You’ll need to decide in advance how you’ll judge submissions to choose which photos or original artwork to feature within the calendar. With some contests, an organization might choose 13 winning entries to feature, with the grand prize winner being featured on the calendar cover. You can choose those 13 winners based entirely on number of votes, or you might choose to have professional photographers or artists serve as judges and choose the ultimate winning photo entry.
Another variation of this theme is to choose 12 winners based on votes, and then let professional judges choose the ultimate winning image to feature on the calendar cover. You could employ this process in the opposite way as well; letting professional judges choose 12 winners and then putting a People’s Choice award winner on the cover. Some organizations also reserve the back cover of their calendar for a collage of all contest submissions, so that everyone who entered receives recognition.
Make sure to incentivize your winners—try to offer an amazing grand prize spur participation, especially for the first-place winner. You might think about partnering with sponsors in your area to offer prizes. You can compensate them with ad space on the calendar, which gives them a great way to boost their own brand awareness.
5. Partner with a Print Shop
While we can offer you everything you need to run your photo contest, we can’t actually print your calendar for you. Once the winners have been chosen and notified, you’ll need to find a print partner who can produce the finished calendars.
You can find a wide variety of vendors online who specialize in printing calendars, or you can partner with a local print shop in return for a promotional mention within your calendar. Decide how many calendars you think you need, place your print order, and start selling them to supporters.
With a local print shop, you may also be able to find a sponsor to cover the costs of printing your calendars in exchange for their logo, a coupon, or other ad being included in the calendar.
6. Sell Contest Calendars
The great thing about this type of contest is that once it’s finished, you can then sell the end product to raise additional donations for your organization or cause. You can use all the same channels that you previously used to promote the contest. You also can utilize the stakeholder list we’ll generate for you to reach out and let people know that the final calendar is ready for sale. You might even consider allowing contest participants and those who voted to pre-order their calendars for a discount.
Contest Calendars Can Raise Funds in Multiple Ways
Effective and well-organized fundraisers are essential to your nonprofit’s ability to accomplish its mission. And a calendar contest is a fun and engaging way to get your stakeholder community excited about raising money for your organization.
When you partner with 360PhotoContest.com, we’ll take all the stress, details, and hassle out of your contest, leaving you with all the fun and positive publicity. If you’re ready to schedule a contest demo, give our team a call today and we’ll be happy to get one set up for you. We’re excited to discuss how our team can make your contest fundraiser easy to implement and, ultimately, more successful.