Fundraising With Raffles!

Raffles are a great way to raise money. They are inexpensive and easy to organize and can generate enough money to put you well on your way to achieving your fundraising goals.

The costs involved in a raffle (other than your time) are the tickets and the prizes. If you choose to run a cash prize raffle, you do not have to worry about getting prizes for the winners. You can also minimize your costs by getting the prizes donated or getting some businesses to sponsor your fundraising event. You will have to get their names printed on the tickets and flyers and maybe put up a sign or banner to give them some marketing exposure for their generosity.

Your fundraiser raffle can be quick (within an hour) or over a period of time (tickets can be on sale for a month or more). It all depends on how much money you are trying to raise and what type of raffle you are having.

How Do You Ensure A Profitable Raffle?

As with any fundraising event, you have to get the word out.
Publicity is the most important element of a fundraiser raffle. The more expensive the grand prize, the more investment you have to overcome before making a profit. Don’t attempt a raffle half-heartedly.

Issue a press release and make sure it reaches the appropriate people at local media outlets such as newspapers, radio stations and local television.

Also get the word out through your newsletter and website as far in advance as possible. Try to build excitement and anticipation with your group’s members for the prizes to be offered. They in turn can use word of mouth at their work, the store, or wherever they happen to be to drum up interest and ticket purchases.

Assign ticket sales, poster hanging, newsletter writing, web site notices, and all other tasks you deem necessary to as many people as possible. Keep the most critical, widest reaching promotional tasks for yourself (eg: Cable TV announcement). One or two people cannot handle everything. You will reach a much larger number of raffle ticket buyers by including as many people as possible. Ticket sales are everyone’s responsibility!

Do the math: Have one of your volunteers work up some projected earnings based on different levels of ticket purchases. Use these to figure out what your organization can afford in a worst-case scenario (especially if you have never run a raffle). If you have a feel for how many tickets you will sell, you can go for a better-case scenario where you will make a higher profit. Try to keep the prize costs to one-third of your projected revenue.

What Type Of Raffles Are There?

Door Prizes: Door prizes can be included as part of the admission price of the fundraising event. They are used as an additional promotion to get people to want to attend your fundraiser. The Door Prize should be a desirable prize and printed (with photo) on all your promotional material. If you are having a charity dinner, a dinner certificate to a local high-end restaurant is a great raffle prize.

If you are selling raffle tickets, make them available at the door as guests arrive and you will get impulse buys.

Multiple Prizes: Offering multiple raffle prizes will increase your participant’s chance of winning - it will also increase the chance that they will buy a ticket (or multiple tickets).
Your fundraiser event guests believe their odds of winning are better when there are multiple raffle prizes.

Sit down with your volunteers and brainstorm about the most appealing raffle prizes you can offer. This way, more of the fundraiser attendees are likely to identify with and want them. What better way to increase raffle ticket sales?

Some of the most popular prizes are big screen Sony High Def TVs, Wii video game players, iPods (iPod Touch), gift certificates, spa visits, and weekend getaways.

Another idea is to make up baskets to raffle off. They can be made up with an theme in mind to appeal to different tastes. Some raffle baskets themese are: Golf - Tees, golf balls, free round of play and other accessories; Spa - Bath salts, oils, hand creams, free spa treatment certificate; Weekend Downtime basket - Bottle of wine with glasses, chocolate, DVD movie, games, etc; Lady Luck basket - Assorted scratch tickets, lucky scratch coin, deck of cards, "how to play poker" book, playing chips, mini roulette table layout; Spring has sprung basket - Gardening shovel, flower seeds, foam kneeling pad, miracle grow fertilizer. The themes are endless and can be customized to the organization's main interest, for example, a car club can have a basket of car care products.

50/50 Raffle: These raffle drawings are extremely easy and have a low overhead. You have to buy the tickets but there is no cost for the prize because the prize is half the ticket sales. It really simplifies the process and most people like winning cash.

A 50/50 raffle works great at many kinds of events such as football/basketball games, Las Vegas Nights, and Texas Hold-em Poker Nights, but it can also be used at any event even if it is not primarily a fundraising event.

The 50/50 raffle can be run periodically throughout the evening of your event to generate even more fundraising profit. Just be sure not to overdo it, or ticket sales will drop off considerably.

Automobile or Motorcycle Drawing:
A car or motorcycle raffle is a huge draw, it appeals to almost every adult.

These are expensive prizes, so you will need to decide how much to charge for tickets and what you want your total profit to be.

Car and motorcycle raffles are usually priced at $100 or $150 per ticket. The cheaper your ticket prices are the more of them you will have to sell to reach your profit goal. If you want your raffle ticket cost to be $50 (instead of $100), you will have to sell twice as many tickets.

Lower your prize cost by convincing the car (or motorcycle) dealer to give your organization a deep discount in return for publicity at your fundraising event. Many companies have community relation goals and are willing to get involved with either the prizes or a direct donation.

How Can I Sell More Raffle Tickets?

Tickets do not normally sell themselves. Your ticket sales people have to take a proactive approach. Use your most energetic, outgoing volunteers to sell the most raffle tickets possible.

Selling to Family, Friends, and Coworkers:

The easiest place for you to start is with family, friends, and coworkers. With acquaintances, you should ask for their help and hand them a flyer about the fundraising effort. The raffle flyer should clearly state (in a very readable format) what the cause is, what the prizes are, and what the raffle ticket price is. It is also helpful if the date and place of the raffle drawing are mentioned.
The raffle tickets being sold should be in your one hand while you give the flyer out with the other. Just after asking for their help, assume they want to buy some tickets and say how many would you like?

A good selling tactic to boost sales is offer more tickets at a discount. If you are selling one raffle ticket for $1, you can sell four for $3 (the discount), for example. This will triple the profit on that sale.

Do not try to explain everything in detail – that is what the flyer is for. Your objective is to sell quickly and get to the next potential ticket buyer. You only have so much time to sell the raffle tickets, so maximize the use of your time by not devoting too much time to each buyer.

Before allowing your volunteers to start selling raffle tickets, get together with them to brainstorm about possible objections to buying a ticket and what their response should be. By arming your team with the appropriate responses, you will sell more tickets. Remember, many people are programmed with ready-made objections to buying a ticket. By countering their objection you will convert a certain amount of them to a sale.

Selling To The General Public:

The largest group of people available to sell raffle tickets to is the general public.

High traffic areas are the best places to sell a lot of raffle tickets. Home improvement stores like: Home Depot & Lowes, membership stores like: BJ’s & Costco, Grocery Stores like: Stop & Shop & Hannaford’s, other large stores like: Walmart & Best Buy, Malls, Shopping Centers, and more are great choices.

Make sure to get permission from the store manager ahead of time. Tell her you want to set up a Raffle Ticket table outside of the entrance.

Set up the table in a place where it will not obstruct store traffic but can easily be seen as people approach the store. Hang signs at the front edge of the table and high up behind you so the people buying tickets won’t obstruct it. The signs should say what the money is being raised for, what the prize is, and how much a ticket costs. Some people will immediately identify with your cause and be ready to buy before they reach your table.

As people walk by, watch if they avoid eye contact and hurry their pace. If they do - let them go by. Focus on the people that are more receptive - watch as these people read the sign - get out from behind the table and hand them a flyer as you ask for their help.

Make your point with as few words as possible, for example: “We are raising money to buy new computers for the Library. Can you help by buying a raffle ticket to win a month’s worth of groceries”?

Sell raffle tickets at times of the day when there are a lot of shoppers. You may have to “stake out” the stores to find what the best times are.

Mark Saponaro Email me


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