Contests - Channeling the "Basic Human Urge to Compete"

Have you run any contests to build community, engage your alumni , or to grow your alumni database? Wild Apricot's Nonprofit Technology Blog posted recently about how contests can help nonprofits get buzz and build community.

They specifically mention three benefits of running contests: Attention, Engagement, and Word-of-Mouth Publicity. Contests offer a way to reconnect and communicate with your alumni and other constituents. As the blog post states, contests tap into a "basic human urge to compete." If the camp offers fun prizes like camp t-shirts or inclusion in the next eNewsletter, a contest can bring even more interest.   Some specific contest ideas could include:

  • Post old pictures from camp on your website or blog - whoever can name the people in the picture are entered into a raffle for a prize.
  • Best camp memory or photo - they can be featured in a future newsletter.
  • Register the most new alumni for the camp eNewsletter - the person who recruits the most new alumni wins!
  Be creative. Each camp has its own unique culture and history; consider contests that will tap into the alumni's emotional attachment to the camp. Contests can be run right on a camp blog (entries via the comments for the post) or via email. And volunteers can be in charge of reviewing contest entries and selecting winners. Little expense or time is required by the camp staff if the contest is managed effectively.   Have you run successful contests in the past? If so, what worked? What didn't? How did you measure success?