So Your Nonprofit Won a Contest… Now What?

So your nonprofit is a winner - what now?How has the rise of social networking and Web 2.0 impacted nonprofits?

Don’t worry, this post won’t try to fully answer that question. Perhaps if I ever write a Ph.D. dissertation I’ll tackle it. For now let’s talk about one specific phenomenon that’s popped up with the advent of the social Web: nonprofit funding contests. These are crowdsourced, publicly-voted programs such as the Pepsi Refresh Project, American Express and Take Part’s Members Project or Chase Community Giving.

Before social technologies like Twitter and Facebook, contests like Pepsi Refresh would have been impractical, mainly because there would have been no way for contestants to spread the word and get the magnitude of support you’d need to win. Nowadays tiny local nonprofits have the ability, with some time and a few clicks of the mouse, to reach thousands of potential supporters who can vote for you and help you win sizable grants in these contests.

Once your nonprofit has won a contest, however, it’s important to remember that your journey – and the hard work that goes along with it – are just beginning. In addition to the grant money you may have won, your nonprofit probably also has a huge influx of potential volunteers and supporters that discovered you due to the increased outreach you did during the contest.

Now is a key time to build a foundation of volunteers that are dedicated to your cause, setting the stage for long-term growth and stability. This way, down the line this volunteer base will ensure that you won’t need to win another contest to continue your work.

How do you leverage this added support to help you achieve your mission? What are the best ways to engage these new volunteers, whether they are local or virtual, to join you in your work?

At VolunteerMatch we partner with projects like Pepsi Refresh, Tom’s of Maine’s 50 States for Good and America’s Giving Challenge to ensure grantees – and all participants – have access to the resources they need to be successful. For example, wouldn’t it be cool if Pepsi employees could directly help Pepsi Refresh grantees? What about employees from 100 other big companies? What if millions of other volunteers were ready and willing to lend a hand?

For many nonprofits just starting out, this would be transformational. For you, your project, and your community. That’s why you should consider to be your first stop for mobilizing  supporters. As the Web’s most popular and older network for good people and good causes to connect, the tools available on the VolunteerMatch site will help you make the most of your contest victory.

This is an especially timely issue since the Pepsi Refresh Project just launched its second year of awarding grants to bold ideas that have the power to move communities forward. Anyone can submit any project in the categories of education, communities, and arts &  music, and Pepsi will be rewarding $1.2M each month to the most popular submissions. Click here to learn more and submit your nonprofit’s work.

To join VolunteerMatch, your project can either be:

  1. A 501(c) organization – that is, a nonprofit.
  2. Fiscally sponsored by a 501(c) organization. Here’s a Refresh Blog post from a few months ago that explains that fiscal sponsonship is all about.
  3. Or be able to demonstrate that you have a compelling mission for social good.

VolunteerMatch also has a ton of free trainings to help you learn how to create volunteer opportunities, retain volunteers, and be a great place to volunteer.

Visit or click here to get started recruiting today.

(Photo by kyz)