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Nonprofit: Facebook® contests made easy
Hosting a contest on Facebook can be very beneficial to your nonprofit organization, and has never been easier. Contests can help grow your fan base, increase engagement, build awareness about your organization and promote your nonprofit’s causes.In August 2013, Facebook made some changes to their contest rules. The new, simpler terms allow organizations to collect contest entries by having users message, post, ‘like’ a post or leave a comment. Facebook also lifted the condition requiring the use of a third-party application to run the contest. For more information on running Facebook contests, keep reading.

Facebook contests in action

Running a Facebook contest, when done correctly, can be a great way to build your nonprofit’s Facebook community. Here are some helpful tips to make your contest a success:

  • Post/like/comment: Asking fans to post to your timeline, ‘like’ or comment on a post to enter your contest can be a great way to promote engagement and build your fan base. Consider posting a photo of a recent event your organization participated in and ask for likes. Or pose a question such as, “How will you help our organization make a difference?”, and ask people to share their answer. Encourage participation by raffling logo’d gifts, such as a cooler or golf umbrella.

Use the message option: Require fans to send you a message to enter your contest. Consider posing a question about your nonprofit and ask your fans to message you the answer. For example, you could ask, “How many people do you think we serve each year?” Or, “In what year was our organization founded?” Then direct fans to check back after a specified date to view the correct answers. Enter those who answered correctly into a prize draw for a duffel bag or set of glasses.

  • Use plugins: Add a “like” button plugin to your Website and ask people to click on it to like your organization for a chance to win an MP3 player, a digital photo frame or tickets to an upcoming event hosted by your organization. This can be a great way to drive your Web visitors to your Facebook page.

How to pick a winner
Now that you have all these contest entries, you’ll need to pick a winner. There are a few solutions available to randomly pick a winner from all your likes, posts and comments. Contest Capture is a free tool available from EdgeRank Checker that allows you to export your likes and comments into an Excel® file. From there, simply choose a random number and pick the winner from the corresponding row. Woobox® is another free tool that loads all your posts and generates a winner for you. Just be sure to guide people back to your page—post the names of the winners there, as well as instructions on how to claim prizes.

And finally, make sure that, in addition to posting contest winners, you also thank all of those who participated in your promotion. A simple thank-you post will do, or you could take it up a notch and post a thank-you video to keep the engagement going.

Remember, hosting a contest can be a great way to grow your fan base, increase engagement and build awareness about your cause. Just remember to keep it going by continuing to post content your fans will want to see and engage with. For more information, visit Facebook’s contest terms.

Morris, Sandra. “Facebook Contests for Nonprofits: Should You Use a Third-Party App?” Doing Well. Doing Good. Selfish Giving. N.p., 9 Sept. 2013. Web. Retrieved 17 Oct. 2013.

Vahl, Andrea. “New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know.” Social Media Examiner RSS. N.p., 09 Sept. 2013. Web. Retrieved 17 Oct. 2013.

Shemtov, Bassie. “How Non-Profits Can Rally Support for Online Contests.” Mashable. N.p., 20 Sept. 2010. Web. Retrieved 17 Oct. 2013.



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