Photo Contest Official Rules

Summary -

Review the Official Rules below to learn more details about:

  • Eligibility
  • How to Participate and submit a photograph
  • Eligible Entries
  • Submission Period: March 10 through July 15, 2012
  • Prizes
  • Judging Process
  • Terms and Conditions; Consent; Privacy Policy


The theme of the 2012 AmeriCorps photo contest is “AmeriCorps Works.”   This theme communicates the value and effectiveness of AmeriCorps while providing flexibility to be used in many different contexts.  It provides an overarching framework to communicate AmeriCorps triple bottom line return on investment -- for the recipients of service, the people who serve, and the larger community and nation.  For example:

AmeriCorps Works…

  • To meet pressing community needs
  • To expand economic and educational opportunity for those who serve
  • To make our communities safer, stronger, and healthier
  • To improve the lives of vulnerable Americans
  • To build the next generation of nonprofit leaders 
  • To develop innovative community solutions
  • To mobilize volunteers and resources to strengthen America’s voluntary sector


AmeriCorps Works in many different ways.  Whatever you choose to feature in your photo, be sure to shows how AmeriCorps Works!


Submission of a photo constitutes the entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Photo Contest (Contest) submission period commences on March 10 and ends at 5:00 pm EDT on July 15, 2012. The contest is sponsored and conducted by CNCS, an agency of the Federal government. CNCS is headquartered at 1201 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20525.

(1) Eligibility:

This contest is open to the general public including current and former AmeriCorps members. Participants submitting a photo may work individually or as a team that includes AmeriCorps members, non-members, and alums. Employees, officers, Board members, contractors, and consultants of the Corporation for National and Community Service, companies awarding prizes, and their immediate family members, are ineligible to participate in the contest. "Immediate family members" means spouse, parents, step-parents, legal guardians, children, step-children, siblings and step-siblings, and each of their respective spouses.

(2) How to Participate:

Submit a photograph that captures the impact AmeriCorps has on its members, organizations, and communities. Consider how the image will help inspire and engage more Americans in service and educate them about how AmeriCorps works. The photo should be dynamic, action oriented, reveal some aspect of the AmeriCorps experience, and illustrate the theme AmeriCorps Works. The photo should effectively communicate its message to the general public in a memorable and creative way. All entries must include the AmeriCorps logo on signage or on AmeriCorps gear. Photos should have a name or tag line that tells the story behind the photo.

The theme of the 2012 Photo Contest is AmeriCorps Works Think about the following:

  • How does AmeriCorps help America tackle some of its biggest challenges and meet educational, environmental, public safety and other human needs?
  • How can you show the difference AmeriCorps makes in your community?
  • What impacts or results has AmeriCorps members' service had on the community?
  • What impact does the AmeriCorps experience have on its members?
  • How does AmeriCorps have a transforming impact on one person's life?
  • Why should someone join AmeriCorps?
  • If you had to illustrate AmeriCorps' impact in one word or idea, what would it be?

Contestants can submit up to two photos and should use the following issue areas as guidance when considering what type of image(s) to submit:

  • Disaster Services
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Education
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Healthy Futures
  • Veterans and Military Families

You may submit your photo digitally, anytime between April 19th and June 4th, 2010 by uploading them here at the website along with a description. 

Eligible Entries:

To be eligible for consideration in the Contest, entries must be received by CNCS no later than 5:00 PM EDT on July 15, 2012, and must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • By submitting a photo, entrant warrants that he/she is the sole author and copyright owner of the photo or has permission (via license or otherwise) to use or incorporate those photo elements authored or owned by third parties.
  • Photos must include the AmeriCorps logo on signage, clothing, etc.
  • Photos may not have been entered into any other contest or won any other award.
  • Use of images and other works in the public domain may be incorporated into entries. However, materials that infringe on the rights of any third party may not be used unless consent has been obtained.
  • Photos must not contain brand names or trademarks except those related to AmeriCorps or national service programs.
  • Photos must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, or defamatory.
  • Photos must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
  • Photos must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any state.

Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged, but photos will not be returned. CNCS is not responsible for late, lost, delayed, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, or unintelligible entries. The purpose of this contest is to encourage the creation and submission of photos that educate the general public on the impact of AmeriCorps and the opportunities that exist to engage in service in the United States.

By submitting a photo to this contest, each participant automatically confers on CNCS an irrevocable, nonexclusive and unrestricted license to use the photo for purposes consistent with the agency's national service mission. This includes the right to copy, reproduce, display, or distribute the photo, and to make derivative works based upon the photo or a substantial portion of it without attribution or prior permission. Other than the authority to CNCS, as set out in this paragraph, entrants retain ownership rights of their photos.

(3) Prizes:

There will be a $2,000 cash prize for the person receiving the most public votes (first place), and a $500 prize for the second place (runner-up).

 (4) Judging Process:

After submission, all photos will be reviewed to ensure that they meet the criteria specified under Eligible Entries above.  Photos that pass this general screening process will be available for public viewing.  Please note that it may take up to 72 hours after submission for a photo to appear online for public viewing.

A panel of judges consisting of Corporation for National and Community Service staff will review the photo submissions and select the submissions that will move forward to public voting.

Judges will base their selection of photo entrants on the following criteria:

  1. Overall Impact (educational, inspirational, persuasive)
  2. Creativity
  3. Composition or Technical Quality
  4. Memorable Content and Delivery
  5. Expression of AmeriCorps Works

The finalists' entries who will then be voted on by the general public and will determine the first place and runner-up winners. For public votes, there may be only one vote per person, per active email address.  Individual online votes that are either fraudulently generated or duplicated, or associated with inactive or "dummy" e-mail addresses, are subject to disqualification. The online voting period ends at 5:00 pm EDT on September 1, 2012.  In the event of one or more submission tying for first place, the Corporation for National and Community Service will convene a panel to cast the deciding vote.

Companies awarding prizes shall have no role, responsibility, or liability in sponsoring or administering the Photo Contest. Companies awarding prizes are allowed and encouraged to publicize the contest.

CNCS reserves the right to disqualify and remove any entry which is deemed, in the judging panel's discretion, inappropriate, offensive, defamatory, or demeaning to CNCS's, AmeriCorps' or any other party's reputation or goodwill. Winners will be notified by e-mail, express mail and/or phone and shall be required to complete an affidavit or declaration of eligibility/liability release and, except where prohibited, a publicity release and such other documents as may be required by CNCS to protect its right to use the winning entry. Required documents must be signed and received within 7 days of the date printed on the prize notification. Failure to comply or return of any prize notification as undeliverable may result in forfeiture of prize and selection of the next highest score entrant as the winner. CNCS or companies awarding prizes are not responsible for and shall not be liable for late, lost, misdirected, or unsuccessful efforts to notify winners.

Accepting the prize constitutes CNCS's, companies awarding prizes and AmeriCorps Alums' permission to use winner's name, hometown (including state) and/or likeness for promotional purposes, without compensation.

(5) General Terms and Conditions:

By participating, entrants agree that CNCS, companies awarding prizes, and AmeriCorps Alums and their respective agents are not responsible or liable for, and shall be released and held harmless from: (i) telephone, electronic, hardware or software program, network, Internet, or computer malfunctions, failures, or difficulties of any kind; (ii) any condition caused by events beyond the control of CNCS that may cause the Contest to be disrupted or corrupted; (iii) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest; (iv) any and all losses, damages, rights, claims and actions of any kind in connection with or resulting from participation in the Contest, including claims based on publicity rights, defamation, or invasion of privacy. CNCS reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, extend, or suspend the Contest should (in its sole discretion) computer virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Contest. In such case, judges will select the winners from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by CNCS. CNCS reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual it determines to be tampering with the submission process or the operation of the Contest or CNCS website.

 (7) Consent:

Winning participants must declare that they have written consent from people featured or identifiable in their photo. All finalists will need to present written consent declaration forms and a submission form to CNCS upon notification that they have been selected as finalists.

(8) Privacy Policy:

See CNCS Privacy Policy regarding use of all material entered and/or submitted for this Contest or otherwise collected by CNCS, except as otherwise provided in these Official Rules.