Posted , by Keith Curtis. Topic: Fundraising.

Has your nonprofit taken part in the Pepsi Refresh project, Sears’ More Green Across America, eBay Fundraising Tournament for the Environment, or other voting-based funding competitions? This seems to be a growing trend among corporations. But if, for instance, you’ve waded through the six-point type on the seven pages of Pepsi Refresh guidelines, you’ll quickly realize that it’s more of a social-media marketing tool for the brand and less of a true philanthropic gesture.

Last week I was talking with a nonprofit’s board member who said he was working until late at night emailing supporters to drum up votes for one of these contests, all so his organization could make the top 10 and become eligible to win $50,000. When they didn’t win the first time around, they decided to try again, which meant another round of now-annoying emails.

So here’s my question: Is begging for votes just to be eligible to win really the best use of your time?

Wouldn’t your time be better spent building relationships with supporters and engaging them in the life or your organization, rather than filling their inboxes with vote requests? It seems to me that by participating in these promotions, you’re more of a marketer for the brand than for your nonprofit.

With our decades of fundraising experience, we know you have a much better chance of getting $50,000 by cultivating major donors who are interested in your cause than by squandering your supporters’ good will in these contests trying to beat out thousands of organizations from around the world.

What are your thoughts about these funding contests? Let’s get a discussion going below.

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