How to Run a Social Media Contest for a Successful Fundraiser

Paige Kutilek
|8 min read

Fundraiser Promotion

Did you know that each Facebook share of a GoFundMe fundraiser raises $43 on average? Implementing a social media strategy—like a social media contest—is key to increasing social shares of your fundraiser and boosting donations in the process. If you’re wondering how to run a social media contest to make your fundraiser a success, look no further. Below, we introduce nine simple steps to take your fundraising idea to the next level with a social media contest, plus unique ideas for running contests on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Nine steps to a successful social media contest

Keep in mind that no matter the type of contest or how you choose to run it, the basic idea is the same: in exchange for participation in your contest, each person is entered to win a prize. Follow the simple steps below to create your own successful contest, and watch as your fundraiser collects even more donations.    

1. Choose the type of contest

There are different types of social media contests, so choose one that aligns with your fundraiser goals and what your audience would find engaging. From photo or video submissions to a hashtag contest, there are many social media contest ideas that will help you connect with more donors.

2. Set a timeline

According to Vertical Response, Nicole Krug from Social Light recommends stretching the length of photo and video contests by hosting several rounds of voting. If you decide to host a hashtag contest to promote your fundraiser, choose a timeline that works for you and gives participants enough time to participate.

3. Decide on contest rules 

Before launching your social media contest, make sure to clearly outline your contest rules. Check out a few ideas for how people can enter your contest, below: 

  • Ask participants to repost a link to your fundraiser on their own social media accounts.
  • If you’ve created a fundraiser video, ask participants to share this as well as tag a few friends.
  • For a contest that calls for submissions, like a photo contest, ask participants to tag your account in their photo submission as well as link to your fundraiser in the caption.  

4. Choose your prizes

Prizes can range from simple to elaborate, depending on your available resources. Here are some great ideas for prizes that will inspire people to enter and share your contest, promoting your fundraiser in the process: 

  • If you or a volunteer is skilled at some kind of service—for example, haircutting, web design, or pet sitting, to name a few—you can offer free coupons as prizes for your contest. 
  • Consider creating simple handmade gifts, like a knitted hat or a decorated picture frame. 
  • If your fundraiser ties into a community project, invite local businesses to donate prizes or gift certificates to your contest.  

5. Pick a social media platform

Start by identifying which platform contains the majority of your audience. You can also choose a platform based on which site correlates best with the type of contest you are hosting. If you’re running a photo or video contest, we recommend using Instagram or Twitter, or creating a Facebook page to have your participants post their submissions. If you decide on a hashtag contest, Twitter or Instagram would both be great options.

6. Create graphics

Before launching your fundraiser, brainstorm some ideas about how you want your promotional graphics to look. If you need design help, create a free Canva account for templates, graphics, fonts, and more. Remember to add your organization’s logo, GoFundMe fundraiser link, contest rules, and start and end dates. Once you create and download your design from Canva, you are ready for promotion.

7. Curate submissions

Before the contest launches, you’ll need a tool to help collect and curate all of the submissions. Instead of searching Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for the submissions, using a tool like Zoomph will take the burden of searching for that content off your shoulders. You can easily create a free account to search for your unique fundraiser hashtag or collect photos from your contest’s Facebook page. Once your account is set up, you can begin to promote your contest on social media and watch the submissions start to roll into Zoomph for a simple curation process.  

8. Promote your contest

Once you have all of the elements you need in place, it’s time to promote your social media contest! Inspire your family and friends to share the contest to their audiences on social media and post an update to your fundraiser informing donors about the contest. Remember to post regularly throughout the contest to remind users to participate. 

9. Select your winners

Select between one and five winners at the end of your contest, and announce the winners on your social media accounts as well as on your fundraiser page. Depending on your contest rules this selection could be random, or based on your preference—such as with a photo contest. Make sure to send a thank you to donors, as well as to everyone who participated in your contest.  

Facebook contest ideas

Of all social media platforms, Facebook has the largest active user base—making it the perfect platform to host a wide range of contests. If you’re wondering how to run a Facebook contest, the following ideas are a good place to start. Make sure to abide by Facebook’s policies when running your contest.  

Facebook Live contest

Consistently going live on Facebook is a great way to connect with your audience, and build momentum for your fundraiser. Each day during the contest, you can go live and reveal a secret code—that viewers can then message to your Facebook fundraiser page in order to enter. 

Naming contest

If you are raising money for charity, particularly one that helps animals and wildlife, consider reaching out and partnering with the charity first. You can then host a contest where people can enter by suggesting the best name for an animal that the charity helps—for example, a recent newborn at an animal sanctuary.  

Quiz contest

According to data from Buzzsumo, quizzes are shared on average 1,900 times over their lifespan. First, create a free quiz using a tool like Google Forms or Survey Monkey, and keep the questions related to your cause. Ask participants to enter by taking your quiz and posting their score in the comments of your post—and make sure you link to your fundraiser in the quiz and post caption!

Instagram contest ideas

For those thinking about how to run a contest on Instagram, this platform provides a simple interface that is ideal for photo and hashtag contests. Like with all platforms, make sure your contest is in line with Instagram’s promotion guidelines

Themed photo contest

Among the range of photo contest ideas, choosing a theme can help connect with the interests of your audience and inspire more donations in the process. Some theme ideas include a pet photo contest, a costume photo contest, or a photo contest related to the current season.  

Repost contest

This style of contest asks participants to enter by reposting one of your own Instagram posts—which should be related to your fundraiser—along with tagging usually one or more friends in the post. 

Best response contest

To gain more traction for a specific post related to your fundraiser, consider making a call for responses within the post itself. People can enter by commenting with the best caption, or answering a question related to your cause. Remember to require each entry to tag a friend, to further increase engagement on your post. 

Twitter contest ideas

Twitter’s contest rules are similar to other social media platforms, except retweeting the same post multiple times from a single account is not allowed. If you want to know how to run a Twitter contest, use the following examples as inspiration to get started. 

Hashtag contest

To enter, participants can simply share a link to your fundraiser along with your unique fundraiser hashtag. Other ideas include the funniest tweet, or the tweet that receives the most comments and shares.  

Correct answer contest

This style of contest works if you have a sizeable following on Twitter, and can be completed in a short period of time to accommodate multiple rounds. You can ask participants a challenging question in a post that links to your fundraiser, and the fastest correct answer receives a prize. 

Simple sweepstakes contest

You can tweet about your fundraiser every day during your contest, and ask participants to retweet your posts to enter. Remember to explain that each post can only be retweeted once per account. This acts as an incentive for your audience to show up consistently for the duration of the contest, as they’ll have something new to retweet each day and can enter to win multiple times.

Use a social media contest to drive donations

No matter your cause, running a social media contest is a powerful tool that can help take your crowdfunding efforts to the next level. Throughout this process, your contest will not only help promote your free fundraiser, but will help you genuinely connect with even more members of your local and global community. Sign up today and start your own fundraiser for a cause you care about—and watch your impact grow with a social media contest. 

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Paige Kutilek

About Paige Kutilek

I'm keen on creating meaningful and thoughtful content that will have an impact. I'm a dedicated individual with a creative touch who is always eager to learn more.

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