Launch a Contest to Nurture Loyalty and Involvement

Launch a Contest to Nurture Loyalty and InvolvementWatching the Daily Show last night, I was struck by a new AmEx campaign about giving, the American Express Members Project. AmEx is running a contest — and who’s not — where participants(you gotta have an AmEx card, ahem — be a "member") recommend a project to be supported. The winning project gets a $5 million donation from AmEx.

Some may criticize — saying  such strategies don’t  shape  ongoing givers or  volunteers — but I say there’s going to be $5 million out there put to good work that wasn’t there before. Isn’t it great that civics is coming back and corporations are jumping on the bandwagon? And, I bet you that folks will be pulled into this who don’t usually participate nonprofit wise in any way. Call it the first step.

Here are a few other contests that have caught my attention:

  • BlogHer, an association of women bloggers, just launched BlogHers Act, a year-long initiative to harness the incredible power of women online.  Beth Kanter summarizes its two goals as:
    1.  Making a difference on a single global cause
    2.  Identifying the top four issues that women online want the U.S. Presidential candidates to address in order to win our votes in the ‘08 Election.
  • Choose Our Campaign Song, Round 2 where Hilary Clinton asks YouTube users to select her campaign song from 10 finalists.
  • Heinz Top This TV Challenge where Heinz ketchup asks fans to create their own video ketchup commercial for rating by fellow fans. The winner gets $57,000 and the commercial broadcast on YouTube. And Heinz gets a ton of free media coverage.

Have any of you run contests to engage your audiences? Please let me know by clicking Comments below.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 13, 2007 in Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 4 comments

  • Ken Deutsch

    Direct Change just announced the winners of our 1st Change Champions Award. The award will be given annually to the school group that raises the most money for one of our African projects. The winner was Lazar Middle School that raised over $23,000.
    See –
    – Ken D.
    Direct Change

  • SOS Community Services, a nonprofit that helps families in need, had a “Feed a Family Food Sculpture Competition” last fall.
    Several student groups, church groups, and children participated and SOS got food to use at our Emergency Food Pantry. We’ll definitely be doing it again next year.
    The best part of the competition is that it was virtual! Folks made their sculptures and emailed me pictures, which I put up on our blog.
    We awarded prizes like ice cream and gift cards to the winners. It was a fun event all around.
    To see pictures and winners from last year go here:

  • In 2005, the campaign ran a contest looking for some cool, hip, trendy commercials to be broadcast for the 18-34 year old demographic about recycling. We advertised the contest to film schools across the country. We got 4 great commercials and the directors got a nominal prize of $1000. Check out the commercials here –

  • Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

    This week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants was an open call that brings some good posts, as always: Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention offers advice on how to use contests to nurture loyalty and involvement. On a related note, Kivi Leroux

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