How do I promote a contest or sweepstakes?

Best practices and sample messaging for successfully implementing a Contest or Sweepstakes as a part of your campaign

Adding a Contest or Sweepstakes to your CrowdRise campaign can dramatically improve your fundraising by incentivizing your donors and fundraisers to get involved.

This guide includes:

  • Why to implement a Contest or Sweepstakes
  • Best Practices on Email
  • Best Practices on Social Media
  • Example messaging posts


Why should I implement a Contest or Sweepstakes with my Campaign?

Hosting your promotion through CrowdRise provides you with an additional tool you can leverage to make your campaign successful. Our legal team ensures adherence to all laws, making the Contest and/or Sweepstakes experience official and worry-free for your nonprofit.

A Contest or Sweepstakes:

  • Creates a unique experience for supporters
  • Provides you with a compelling messaging strategy
  • Keeps donors engaged throughout campaign
  • Builds long-lasting relationships with prize winners
  • Forms public relations opportunities


How do I promote my Contest or Sweepstakes?

Promoting your Contest or Sweepstakes doesn't need to be intimidating. With a little strategic planning before you launch, you'll be able to successfully leverage your prize and exceed your fundraising goals.

See below for our best tips for getting the word out about your contest/sweepstakes:

  • Strong, consistent messaging will drive the success of your campaign. For best results, combine email blasts with social media posts so you reach the greatest number of potential donors.

  • We suggest taking additional measures to tailor your content, such as by Segmenting your donor list. Mix up the way you craft your “ask” with each message you send.

  • Generate a sense of “urgency” in your messaging, encouraging people to donate and fundraise before the contest/sweepstakes is over. E.g “Only 5 days until the end of our promotion! Rally your supporters to become the top fundraiser!”

  • Demonstrate how your supporters’ donations make an impact in your cause space. Use tangible giving levels to relate money to a tangible item or experience, e.g. “Give today! For every $50 donation a school child in need receives school supplies for a year!”

  • Your cause is the most important component of your campaign! While a contest/ sweepstakes is a great way to incentivize your supporters, remind your supporters of all the great work they can help accomplish by supporting your mission.


Promoting with Email

Why Use Email?

The shelf life of an email outlasts most all other methods of engagement. A single email can “live” up to a couple of weeks in someone’s inbox. It often gets great visibility since it’s already a common and effective way of sharing important information.

Plan your Messaging in Advance

Create a messaging plan before you launch your campaign. Devise a messaging calendar that encompasses what you will send out before, during, and after your campaign and contest/sweepstakes ends.

Tips for Success

Review open and click rates of each email you send to see how each performed (if your email client provides this data). Leverage the tactics you used in the best performing emails to update your emails for the rest of your campaign.

In addition to blasts to your entire list, leverage our Campaign Update functionality to automatically send an email update to everyone who has donated to your campaign so far. Campaigns that utilize this tool bring in 2.5x more donations than campaigns with no updates at all.

It’s also important to send a dedicated email after your campaign is over and sharing your successes with your donors and fundraisers.

Tip: The best days to send email blasts are Monday-Wednesday during business hours.


Sample Email Template

Guide to Promoting Contests and Sweepstakes (4)-753259-edited


Real Email Example: Conservation International

Guide to Promoting Contests and Sweepstakes-811989-edited

Note: Make sure to always include a rules link in any correspondence about your Contest/Sweepstakes!


Promoting with Social Media

Why use Social Media?

Social Media can complement your efforts on email by reaching additional audiences outside of your email list. Additionally, photo and video are the leading forms of content on social media in terms of engagement; social media is the best place to share compelling imagery. Finally, more and more young, passionate people are using Social Media. Get their support early on by publishing on a medium they’re familiar with.

How to post on Social Media

Social media is always changing. Currently, Instagram gets the most organic traffic, but start your social media posts on the platform you have the most followers. Make sure wherever you post, you include the campaign URL in your bio or post body.Post consistently, multiple times a week. Mix in posts about your campaign with other organic content, like a recent success story from your organization.

In terms of content, video is the best for converting into donations. In fact, people are 12x more likely to check out a video than read text, and campaigns with video campaign updates are raising 5.7X more in total donations than those without. Aim to keep your video no longer than 1 minute and check out a great example from actor Chris Pratt Here.

Tips for Success

  • Keep posts short and concise, and always include a clear “Call-to-Action”
  • If you have a long URL, use a link-shortening site like
  • Weekday mornings are the best times to post, with Tuesday-Thursday being strongest between 8am-12pm ET.


Sample Social Media Posts

Real Social Media Posts: Lumos

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Q. Our organization is not on social media. Is that okay?

A. It's okay if your organization doesn't have a specific social media presence. Email can be just as effective. Engage your supporters on the mediums you know they are active on and the ones you feel most comfortable using.

However, be open to incorporating social media in the future. if you are looking at expanding your reach to potential new supporters, we recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram.

Q. What are some creative ways to encourage people to share our posts on social media?

A. We always recommend using emotionally-powerful language and images, in addition to shaking up your content in your messaging. Creative ways to engage people include:

● Calling out your supporters on social media (i.e. tagging them in your posts and giving them a shout-out

● Posting video updates on your campaign or using our campaign update tool throughout your campaign

● Encouraging your supporters to tag friends and challenge each other to raise the most money

Q. What are my responsibilities as the nonprofit to adhere to CrowdRise’s Contest & Sweepstakes guidelines?

A. Make sure that the Official Rules of your Contest or Sweepstakes are prominently displayed in any advertising or marketing efforts, including social media. They are generally short-form rules and we can provide you with specific copy at your request.

For example: “Starts on DATE at 2:00pm ET and ends on DATE at 11:59:59pm ET. Click Here for Official Rules.”


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