Loading Page...

Sponsor: Available! 

Do you have the resources to host a photo contest fundraiser?

2 Types of Photo Contest Fundraisers

The first thing you should consider when planning your photo contest is which type you’ll host. This can determine your next steps going forward in the planning process. There are two main ways you might host your event:


Make the competition completely virtual by having competitors submit their photos online. They’ll fill out a registration form including their entry fee, photo, and contact information. Then, supporters can view the photos on your organization’s website during a judging period and vote for their favorite photo by bidding on it.

This is a great event format for avoiding event-planning costs. You won’t have to find a venue, print pictures, or cater your event if you choose to host it online.


Although virtual events can be cost-effective, in-person events offer a unique experience for your supporters to enjoy. Find a low-cost venue to display entered photos in a gallery-like setting. Then, determine how the photos will be judged:

  • Volunteer judges: Recruit volunteers from your organization to judge the photos before the event. Then, display the winning photos in a distinguishable way so that all the photos can be viewed but the winning ones get special recognition.
  • Attendee votes: Ask attendees to vote for their favorite photo by placing a cash donation in a box underneath the photo. At the end of the event, count each photo’s voted dollars and announce the winner.

You can also charge a small admission fee for people to view or vote on the photos. Consider waiving the fee for participants so that every competitor can have the experience of seeing their photo on display.

3 steps for hosting a photo contest fundraiser

Follow these easy steps to host your photo contest fundraiser:

Determine the divisions

Encourage more participation in your contest by establishing different divisions for the competition. You might separate competitors by:

  • Age
  • Experience level
  • Geographic location

This can help your competition be more fairly judged. Also, more people will want to participate when they feel like there’s a place for them in your competition.

Choose a theme

Giving your fundraiser a theme can make participation more fun and inspire competitors with creative ideas. For example, asking for the photos to represent your community might spark more inspiring ideas than leaving the photo topic open-ended. Consider these contest theme ideas:

  • Childhood memories
  • Season of the year (fall, winter, spring, or summer)
  • Pets
  • Hometown pride
  • Mood (happy, sad, angry, etc.)
  • Cause-related (a photo that represents the cause you’re raising money for)

Giving your competition a theme can also encourage people to participate by giving them ideas for what to enter. For example, an inexperienced photographer might have a great idea for a photo that represents the summertime and could enter because of that inspiration.

Announce the contest

Once you have the details figured out, tell everyone about your contest! An incentive of this fundraiser is the fact that you can gather support from anyone, not just your organization’s immediate community.

Make sure to promote your contest with every communication platform available to your organization. Here are some places where you can promote your fundraiser:

  • Social media
  • Email newsletters
  • Your website
  • Partner with local businesses
  • Flyers with QR codes

Don’t stop at the initial announcement. Continue to send out reminders leading up to your event. You can also give updates on the amount of entries to spark friendly competition.