The traditional photo contest has been a popular fundraising idea for years and it can be successful if executed properly. If you’re planning on hosting a photo contest, we highly recommend building the contest around a theme. Creating a theme will draw more interest and make the contest a bit more fun.

For example, you can work with your local chamber of commerce to have photos showcase special places around town such as landmarks, notable buildings and architecture, and other interesting finds that paint the town in a positive light. If you work with animals, make the contest about pets, insects or birds. If you’re part of a sports team, make the contest related to sports. If your group supports nature, make the contest about trees, gardens, flowers, etc. Essentially, you can tie any theme you want to the contest (keep in mind… if you can tie it to your cause, you may get more publicity out of it).

Develop your contest rules and have a place on your website where people can submit their photo entries. If you will be displaying all photos entered, be sure you have participants agree to terms that give you the right to post the photos and share them as you see fit. In addition to highlighting the winning photo(s) in your website, make a deal with the local newspaper or television station to also showcase the winning photo. Collect donations for photo submissions and find some area sponsors who will donate prizes for the winners.

You’ll want to start promoting your photo contest at least 1-month in advance (3-months is ideal). Be sure to promote heavily on all your social media channels. Also, create some fun and creative posters and flyers that you can place throughout the community.