Great Innovative Nonprofit Contests of 2010

The Center for Urban Pedagogy - Show Your Impact Design Contest 2010Readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of online polls (see previous post: “Why Online Contests Aren’t Worth the Click”).  These popularity contests for nonprofits tend to waste a lot of energy and time for both the organization and their donors (with, perhaps,  the exception being the winning nonprofit).

That being said, there is another type of contest, one whose winners are judged by panels (some even staffed by experts) and whose goal is to foster innovation and creativity.  These contests don’t send charities running to their donors to vote but rather to their conference tables to brain storm. While only a few actually win these contests, most, if not all, learned something in the process and have come out better from the experience.

So without further ado, take your laptop over to the couch, grab your favorite beer (mine is Pete’s Wicked Ale, but to each his own) and explore how nonprofit organizations challenged themselves to produce some real creative, innovative and, dare I say, fun material for the following contests.

Adobe-TechSoup Show Your Impact Design Contest 2010

Adobe and Techsoup, two big names in nonprofit technology, teamed up to ask nonprofits to “submit an exceptional piece of work created with Adobe products that demonstrates or showcases how your organization is generating innovative and creative ideas to address issues that impact the communities you serve with ideas and information to improve lives, communities, or the globe.”

Participants were asked to submit pieces and essay in one of three different categories: (1) Print/Photo (2) Web or (3) Other Media.

2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards

Since 2008, Nancy Schwartz has been running the a contest of the “Best in Nonprofit Taglines” or what she affectionately has dubbed, The Taggies.

The contests goals are simple yet vital: “A strong tagline does double-duty — working to extend your organization’s name and mission, while delivering a focused, memorable and repeatable message to your base. It’s one of your most effective marketing tools, but a survey showed that 72% of nonprofit organizations don’t have a tagline or rate theirs as performing poorly.  I’m trying to change that with this annual award program and report, highlighting the best in nonprofit taglines.”

2010 DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards

450 Nonprofits from 4 countries submitted videos to be considered in the various categories. With videos having a much higher click-through rate, it’s no wonder why this kind of contest arose. The contest was run by Google, Case Foundation, 3C and others.

The 10 Most Innovative Viral Video Ads of 2010

Every year Mashable collects the most viral video ads on YouTube.  This last one isn’t really for the nonprofit sector — so sue me.  It’s worth the click as some of them are just darn funny (i.e. Old Spice Responses) or plain-out cool (i.e. Master of the Business-Card Throw).

For More of the Intellectual Type…

And for those still warming themselves up by huddling around the fire place, here are the Top 10 nonprofit-sector books published in 2010. Recommendations courtesy of Beth Kanter.

I hope you enjoy the above links and that while working hard you don’t forget to play hard, even if it’s just for a little.

Best wishes for a successful 2011.

Tizku Lemitzvot,


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