How To Sponsor an Essay Contest

Sponsoring essay competitions is one way to help youngsters hone their writing skills, and depending on the competition's purpose, can give the sponsor unique content and/or promotional material.  The sponsors can expect a higher participation level if they offer an award to the authors of the best essays.  Most existing secondary scholarship contests and college contests already offer incentives for the best-written samples they receive. If no or very little award money or product is offered, these youth contest and/or college contest seekers will probably search for more lucrative essay competitions.

First, the sponsor should determine the essay topic and purpose to effectively frame a question or questions for the essay contest.  Should the contest be a non-fiction or fiction writing contest?  The answer to this question depends upon the purpose of the essay contest.

If the sponsor is a business, the question could be framed as follows: What are the advantages of using business x's products?  Why do you enjoy using business x's products?  Basically, the business would be promoting this essay competition to gain advertising material.

If the sponsor is a not-for-profit organization, the question could be centered in the mission of the organization.  An organization that feeds the hungry could insist that competitors write an essay exploring innovative ways that youth can start or become part of an organization that feeds the hungry.  Schools, colleges, clubs in the community, and academic societies are other organizations that also sponsor essay competitions.

After framing the essay topic as a question, the sponsor should determine how and if to limit the essay competition.   The contest could be limited to a secondary scholarship contest or a college contest.  It could be open to students in a certain age bracket throughout the state or the entire United States.  It could even be posted online and be open to anyone in the world.

Completed essays will need to be sent back for judging, so the sponsor needs to secure a judges' panel.  Email, snail mail, and hand delivery are three methods.

The amount of award money or product should be determined so that it can be published in the advertising.

The sponsor should determine how the essay contest or fiction contest should be advertised.   The best option(s) is/are the one that is very easily within the budget with the award money for the winner(s) taken into consideration.

After determining the answers to all the questions, the sponsors are ready to advertise a new essay contest.


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