How to Use Contests to Show Appreciation and Give Back

Learn how to give back and show appreciation through contests and giveaways, including charitable prizes, nomination contests, and customer rewards.

By Will Blunt ・3 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Over $5 billion is raised from workplace giving initiatives each year and this number is on the rise.Brands are increasingly looking for ways to show appreciation and give back to the communities they operate in.Charitable drives are not only beneficial to the community but they also generate significant goodwill and loyalty for businesses.As the world is in a state of uncertainty, there is no better time than now to show your support for those in need and rekindle relationships with loyal customers.Contests and giveaways are one way of giving back and showing appreciation. Here are some ideas for doing so.

Charitable prizes

If you’re running a contest as a way of giving back to the community, it all starts with the prize.Common prizes that are used to show appreciation include financial donations, free products for underprivileged communities, or other charity-based contributions. The prize you choose will depend on your customer base and the cause you are looking to support.In this example, Premio partnered with Community FoodBank to donate a meal for every contest entry:

Premio partnered with Community FoodBank to donate a meal for every contest entry

An example of a charitable contest prize.A common option is to give the contest winners a choice of charitable donation. For example, you may donate money to a charity of their choosing, or you could allow the winner to select between a set of pre-determined contributions that are aligned with your business.Alternatively, you could give the winner a physical prize and raise money as part of the contest entry process. For example, Instagram influencer Cliona Kelly partnered with Rotunda Hospital to raise emergency funds for a vital piece of equipment needed for the NICU. She gave away a personalized Louis Vuitton bag and matching purse, and to enter, participants needed to donate €5 via a GoFundMe page.

Instagram influencer Cliona Kelly partnered with Rotunda Hospital to raise emergency funds

Working in partnership to give back.In this instance, goodwill is being generated for Cliona, Louis Vuitton, and the Rotunda Hospital via a collaboration. Plus, it is funding a cause close to the hearts of the audience of each of these brands. Consider working with influencers and other brands for your contest to expand the reach and increase the goodwill.

Nomination contests

As well as charitable prizes, you can use the nomination contest structure where participants nominate someone else for the chance to win.This type of contest is typically a more personal experience for entrants. They are nominating someone to receive recognition in a certain field. The personal nature of these contests is the exact reason they work well when you’re trying to show appreciation and give back.For example, you could encourage participants to vote for someone based on their volunteer or charity work and reward the winner with a donation to the charity associated with the nomination. It’s a sentimental way for your brand and for the contest participant to show appreciation for a loved one or someone they respect in the community.Sonny’s BBQ, for example, asked contest entrants to nominate and vote for a nonprofit of their choice with a $10k donation on the line:

Sonny's BBQ Giving Tuesday Nominate Your Favourite Nonprofit

Nominating a nonprofit for a donation.Nomination contests work particularly well when they require either photo or story submissions that depict the reason for the nomination.

Customer rewards

It’s hard to put a value on customer loyalty; when one of your customers is so connected to your brand that they will sing your praises from the rooftops. And achieving the holy grail of a truly “loyal” customer is extremely complex and multi-layered. It requires an unforgettable customer experience at every stage of the buying journey and beyond.If you’re planning on running a contest to give back and show appreciation, then why not reward your customers? After all, they’re the lifeblood of your organization.Loyalty is a two-way street - if you want brand advocates, you need to consistently provide them value and show that you care. You could, for example, run a customer appreciation giveaway which rewards your loyal customers with a prize or the opportunity to donate to a charity of their choice.This could even turn into a recurring contest. For example, each month you might reward a lucky customer with a donation to a charity and give them recognition with your audience.

Combining Prizes, Nominations, and Customer Rewards

When giving back and showing appreciation with a contest, look to combine the three tactics I have discussed in this article.Identify a charitable prize that is strategically aligned with your purpose, customer base, and business objectives. Promote this prize as a way of rewarding loyal customers in your network. Then tap into the sentimental nature of giving back by asking your customers to nominate a charity, public figure, friend, or family member to receive recognition as part of the contest.Are you planning to run an appreciation contest as a way of giving back to your customers and the community? How will you maximize the sentiment and reach of the campaign?

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About the author

By Will Blunt ・3 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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