Fundraising is a great way to raise money, but if you have limited experience, it can be hard to figure out how to get started. In order to make the most of your fundraising efforts, you need to create a plan to promote and collect donations for your fundraising campaign.

How to Start a Fundraiser

  1. Think About the Goal of the Fundraiser
  2. Pick a Fundraising Idea
  3. Decide on a Fundraising Theme
  4. Determine Fundraising Contest Rules
  5. Set Up Fundraiser on
  6. Promote Fundraiser to Community
  7. Pick a Winner
  8. Use Money to Fulfill Fundraiser Goals

No matter what cause or charitable organization you are raising money for, all fundraisers have to overcome the initial hurdle of getting started. At first, the process of deciding on a fundraising idea, setting up a fundraiser, promoting a fundraising campaign, and driving donations can seem overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can pull off a successful fundraiser with no sweat by following these eight steps:

8 Tips for Starting and Running a Fundraiser

1. Think About the Goal of the Fundraiser

All fundraisers begin with a goal. A fundraising goal is both a reason why the fundraiser is being held and a monetary amount that you need to reach to meet your needs. In order to set your fundraising goal, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

First, why are you fundraising? Is it an organizational or personal fundraiser? Are you trying to raise money for sports equipment, a charity, mission trip, school supplies, or something else?

Having a specific reason why you are fundraising can help you decide on the theme to base your fundraiser around. It can also help motivate participants to contribute more if they know exactly what their donation will be used for.

Secondly, how much money do you need to raise in order to accomplish your objective? Determining exactly how much money you aim to raise with your fundraiser can help you decide what type of fundraiser you want to run. It can also help drive participation if community members know how many donations you need to meet your fundraising goal.

2. Pick a Fundraising Idea

The next step for setting up a fundraiser is choosing a fundraising idea. There are an endless number of fundraising ideas to choose from. Traditional fundraising ideas fall into one of two categories: selling products or hosting on an event.

Product fundraisers raise money by selling things, like candy bars, candles, or cookie dough. While product fundraising ideas can be profitable and allow for wide participation because they can be held over a period of time, they take a lot of effort and can be costly to get started.

Event fundraising ideas usually raise money by charging a donor for entry to a fundraising event, like a raffle ticket fundraiser, fundraising walk, or talent show. These types of fundraisers cost less to start, but are limited to a very specific date and time, so only potential donors whose schedule allows can attend and contribute. They also require a lot of hands-on management to be successful.

However, there is a third fundraising option that gives you the best of both worlds: an online photo contest fundraiser.

An online photo contest fundraiser hosted on works by charging donors a small fee every time they vote on a photo submitted to your contest. Anyone can submit a photo to your fundraising contest, and you earn money when they encourage their friends and family to vote for their submission. Most photo contests charge $1 per vote entry, but you can set it at any amount you would like.

For a multitude of reasons, online photo contests are one of the best fundraising ideas around. Because they are virtual, online photo contest fundraisers allow for the widest participation. Anyone can participate over the internet—anytime, anywhere. Photo contests have a relatively low startup cost and are highly profitable. On average, photo contest fundraisers hosted on raise $8,225!

Another added bonus of hosting a virtual photo contest fundraiser is the opportunity to build a contact list. When someone enters your contest or votes on a photo submission, they enter their email address, which is collected and stored on 360 Photo Contest’s fundraising platform. After the contest ends, you can download and export this contact data amd add it to your own email list to reach out to them in the future, potentially earning you recurring donors for subsequent fundraising projects.

3. Decide on Fundraising Theme

The best photo contest fundraisers unite your supporters around a central theme related to your fundraising goal. If you decide that an online photo contest fundraiser is right for you, then it is important to choose a contest theme that motivates potential donors to get involved with your contest! After all, the more participation you have, the more money you will raise, and the closer you will get to reaching your fundraising goal.

You should pick a photo contest theme that is creative, specific, and makes sense for what you are raising money for. For example, the contest theme for a sports fundraiser could be related to team spirit, sports equipment, or team victories. Contest theme ideas for a church fundraiser could be based on faith inspiration, church events, or mission trips. Nonprofit fundraising photo contest theme ideas could be influenced by the specific type of work the nonprofit organization does in the community.

4. Determine Fundraising Contest Rules

The next step of setting up a photo contest fundraiser is determining your contest rules. Contest rules should include a date and time for the fundraiser to begin and end. This needs to be clearly stated to let participants know when they can submit and vote on photos, and also what day the contest winner will be decided. Normally, contests last for one to two weeks.

In your contest rules, you should also note who is allowed to enter your contest. This can be specific or broad. For example, if you are having a school fundraiser, you might only allow students and faculty to submit photos, but anyone can vote on the entries. Or, if you are raising money for a humane society, you might allow anyone who has a pet in your community to enter the contest.

If you are planning on professionally printing the winning photos or using them for a calendar, you may also want to include a minimum size for photo quality. Keep in mind that downsizes all photos to be 450px wide, so you may want to inform contest winners that they might need to resend full size photos once the contest is over.

5. Set Up Fundraiser on makes hosting an online photo contest fundraiser a breeze. Once you set up the contest, our donate-to-vote software handles the rest.

All you need to do is fill out a form with your contact information and details about the contest to get started. Then, 360 Photo Contest will contact you with instructions to finish the setup process. There is a $100 startup fee, and receives 10 percent of the contest’s profits that goes toward maintenance. If you are hosting a fundraiser for a nonprofit, then the startup fee is waived, and you are only charged 6.15 percent of funds raised.

6. Promote Fundraiser to Community

In order for your photo contest fundraiser to be successful, you need to promote participation to your community. The more people who know about your photo contest, the more supporters will get involved and donate to your cause.

When you set up your photo contest fundraiser on, you will get a unique URL for your photo contest that you can share with supporters. Participants who submit a photo will also get a unique link from their submission page that they can share with friends and family members to get them to vote for their picture.

You should use this link to promote your contest in every way possible. Announce the contest at every in-person event for your nonprofit organization or team. Print out flyers and hang them up around town and at local businesses. Consider placing an ad in your local newspaper or radio station. Spread the word about your contest on your organization’s social media pages, and encourage followers to share the contest on their pages, too. You might also consider setting up a dedicated social media hashtag for your photo contest as well.

7. Pick a Winner

When your contest ends, it’s time to pick a winner! Luckily for you, 360 Photo Contest keeps track of tallying all the votes so you don’t have to. As long as the submission with the most votes does not violate your contest rules, it is easy to select a winner for your photo contest fundraiser.

To motivate participants, you should choose a few fun prizes for the winner. Prizes could include cash, gift cards, physical merchandise, a published photo, or anything else you think would make a great reward. If you would like, you can choose to award several winners with 1st, 2nd, 3rd place prizes.

8. Use Money to Fulfill Fundraiser Goals

The final, most rewarding, step of hosting a photo contest fundraiser is putting the money you raise to use. One of the best parts of a photo contest fundraiser is how easy it is to raise money. So far, more than $5.1 million has been raised on 360 Photo Contest’s online fundraising platform.

Once your contest ends and you receive the funds donated during your fundraising contest, it’s time to put the money you earned toward your project. You earned it, so use the money to do something great for your organization, team, or community.

In lieu of your typical, in-person fundraiser that usually requires extensive coordination, management, time, and resources, you should consider hosting an online photo contest fundraiser. Compared to a physical fundraising activity, virtual photo contest fundraisers are low cost, high profit, easy, and fun.

Meet Your Fundraising Goals with

If you’re wondering how to start a fundraiser online, look no further than 360 Photo Contest’s donate-to-vote online fundraising platform. Photo contest fundraisers are one of the best fundraising ideas for any team, organization, or good cause, and makes setting up a fundraiser simpler than ever!

360 Photo Contest’s virtual fundraising platform was created to give you a hands-off fundraising solution that allows you focus on the fun aspects of fundraisers—like coming up with a killer contest theme and promoting the contest instead of doing hours of tedious work (especially if you work in a volunteer capacity). We are confident your photo contest fundraiser will be a huge success, as long as you follow the above steps.

So, what are you waiting for? Visit to Schedule a Demo and start fundraising today!