Photo contests can raise money for clubs

| Dec 17, 2021

Photo Contests

With subjects ranging from pets and babies to classic cars and travel, Kiwanis clubs have long brought communities together with photography contests. There are a lot of reasons these contests are popular club activities:

  • They’re relatively easy to organize and can be done all online, in any season.
  • Your club can engage with the community and become better known.
  • You can choose to make them either fundraisers or service projects.
  • They can have a second life via an exhibit.
  • They can spread cheer in the community and promote causes.

Keep reading to dive deeper into Kiwanis photography contests.



The Kiwanis Club of Zionsville, Indiana, knew it had a winner when members selected the theme — and an unusual prize — for its photography contest. Dog owners posted photos of their pets and explained why theirs was the coolest. The top three vote-getters then got their portrait on a local brewery’s beer batch.  

Thanks to the online platform, anyone anywhere could vote — with a US$1 donation per vote. The club set a goal of $20,000 to purchase a new basketball goal for a Boys & Girls Club and to donate to Riley Children's Foundation for parental education on prenatal and neonatal care.  

The result: US$27,144!

Looking to set up your own photo fundraiser? Here are some tips from Jack Brockley, the Zionsville club member who co-organized the contest:

  • Find a good online platform. (The Zionsville club used Gogo.) 
  • Getting sponsors is key! Some may provide in-kind donations to fill prize baskets; others may donate money. 
  • Don't forget to thank your sponsors as much as possible: logos on signs and promo materials, on your website, etc.
  • Delegate responsibilities among a team. 
  • Work hard to spread the word. The Zionsville club printed posters, set up booths at local markets, heavily promoted on social media, arranged a radio interview and handed out business cards at dog parks and walking trails.
  • Pre-load online contests with examples from club members so the contest doesn't look empty — and participants have an idea what a strong entry looks like.
  • If possible, share an example or facsimile of the winning prize. The Zionsville club asked the brewery to create a mockup beer-can label.  



After she won an award in a local business photography contest, Granville Kiwanis Club member Jennifer Lewis realized the potential for encouraging young photographers — and for building the archives of the Ohio club’s annual July 4 event.

As the club’s photography contest chair since 2007, Lewis has helped its photography contest evolve into an annual community-wide service project — complete with a photography exhibition, jurors and awards.  

Tips from Lewis and the Granville club:

  • Promote your event! Successful contests boost public relations and membership growth. 
  • Conduct your contest in conjunction with a larger event — such as the Granville club’s July 4 event, which includes a street fair, carnival rides, concessions, a fireworks display with live music and more.
  • Allow submissions taken with a cell phone to welcome a wider range of participants.
  • Get people excited by hosting free photography classes ahead of time. Topics might include composition, challenging conditions, lighting and cell phone tips. For example, the Granville club hosted a popular class specifically for iPhone users.
  • Get permission from the contestants to reprint and use their photographs for promotions (whether online or in print). And credit the photographer whenever possible!
  • Remember, sponsors are important. The Granville Arts Commission supports the club’s photography contest with grants of up to $1,000 for supplies, awards and juror fees.
  • Organize a celebration for the contest winners. The Granville club invites winners to a dinner.


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