How to Organize a Raffle Fundraiser
Raffle fundraisers can be very successful fundraisers for a variety of organizations. Your costs are next to nothing, and the proceeds are limited only by the number of tickets sold.The raffle fundraiser works so well because you can achieve high profit margins. If the prizes for your raffle drawing are donated, the only costs are the printing of the raffle tickets. (While you’re at it, get the ticket printing donated as well!) Raffles are less risky than big events. You don’t have to depend on getting large groups of people together at one time, like in a dinner or auction.
This is great for any size group – from just one person to hundreds. I conducted a raffle fundraiser with only 5 ticket sellers that raised over $1000 profit for our charity! If we can do it, you can too. Follow these guidelines and you will be totally amazed by the results.
Essentials for a Successful Raffle
Prizes – It would not be a raffle if you had nothing to give away! So what kind of prizes should you have? First of all, put yourself in your potential supporter’s shoes – What if someone comes up to you and says they are selling raffle tickets? What prize would you like to win?
Here are some prizes that attract many people’s attention:
Cars – Sports cars, Luxury cars, SUV’s in this years model. Another great alternative is a completely restored classic / collector’s car. You may or may not be able to get this donated. If not, consider other types of prizes, since your profit will be higher if all items are donated.
Travel – Always a winner. Roundtrip Airfare, a package deal, a cruise, hotel stays, even airline miles all make great prizes. Most people love to travel and the biggest obstacle is usually cost. Now if they win this raffle, they’ll just have to take some vacation time and go.
The larger trips such as week-long cruises or packages with airfare and hotel may draw more ticket buyers. However, travel doesn’t have to be exotic to make a great prize. Even a weekend getaway within driving distance could be a great prize. As long as it’s a place people in your area would want to go to for a vacation. A one night stay at a local hotel is not usually as appealing.
Electronic Equipment – Big screen TVs, DVDs, and stereos. These are big incentives, especially for the guys.
Gift Certificates – For stores like Home Depot, Best Buy, and local or chain restaurants. These make great secondary prizes.
These are just a few examples. As mentioned earlier, it is important to offer a prize that your potential sellers will place a high value on. A Barbecue Grill, a Handmade Quilt, a Gourmet Dinner, all of these could be great prizes for the right audience.
Okay, okay. So I know what you are thinking. How do I go about getting these prizes?
The absolute best way is to survey the members of your organization. Every member could possibly have something of value to contribute to the prize pool. And if not, they may know somebody who can. Go for your biggest prize first, though. You need to secure that “hook” in order to have a viable raffle.
Earlier I mentioned that I had conducted a raffle that raised over $1000. In case you are wondering, our prize was a big screen TV. The company I worked for at the time had a point system incentive program. I pooled my points with some of my co-workers to get the big prize.
I also sent out an email asking my friends and the other ticket sellers for donations. I quickly got several more donations including some nice watches. Lastly, I went to several local restaurants and they were more than happy to donate gift certificates. And BINGO, we had the makings of a great raffle!
A Few Words of Caution:
Legal guidelines regarding raffles vary by state. Do a little internet research to find out about the state raffle laws and the restrictions in your county and city.
There are also some legal issues with big ticket items like cars. You may need to sell a minimum number of tickets for the car to be given away. These are legal details that would need to be explored with the dealer before committing to a deal. It is best to consult an attorney when raffling off big-ticket items like cars or boats.
Lastly, let me advise against buying the prizes for the raffle and then paying for it with the proceeds. Only raffle off donated prizes. This will naturally increase your profits! You will be putting virtually all of the ticket sales toward your particular charitable purpose. This will make a much bigger impact for your organization and what it is striving to accomplish.
The price set for tickets can make or break a raffle fundraiser. The ticket price needs to be high enough to reflect the value of the
prize, and the raise the funds needed. However, it shouldn’t be so high that no one will want to buy a ticket!
Again, you have to know your audience. What are your supporters willing to pay for a ticket? For some prizes and/or audiences you may need to charge $1 or $2 a ticket. But remember, the lower your ticket price, the more tickets you need to sell to make a good profit.
This is why having a big prize is so important. You can charge a higher ticket price for big ticket prizes. If you are raffling a large prize such as a car, you could charge $10 or even more.
For the raffle that I conducted, we charged $5 per ticket. This accurately reflected the value of the prize and was a price most people were willing to pay. In fact many people bought 2 or more tickets each. For many raffles $5 is a good median price. This is usually a good price for items such as travel, TVs, BBQ grills, etc.
Carefully weigh all these aspects when setting the price of the tickets.
Total Tickets Sold – No matter what your prize or what your cost per ticket, your organization has to sell tickets. People have to be willing, able and take action to sell tickets.
How much money do you want to raise? Is this your group’s only fundraiser for the year, or a supplement? Deciding how much to be raised from the raffle is the first step in creating goals.
Second, estimate the number of ticket sellers you can count on. How many tickets should each person sell, at minimum, to reach the fundraising goal? This ticket / amount raised goal is the Target goal.
Lastly set a stretch goal. This will provide motivation for your group to achieve more. Your super sellers will go for the stretch.
How will you motivate the volunteers to sell more tickets? Possibly a prize (like a gift certificate) for the persons that sell the most? Simple encouragement, praise and enthusiasm will go a long way in motivating your group.
Also, create time-line goals. Set a goal for one or two midpoint dates during the selling period. This will help you gauge your progress.
Boost your Ticket Sales
Are you still brainstorming? Keep on going – push your ideas further. How can you sell the most tickets possible?
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Combine raffle ticket sales with other activities of the organization. Does your group sponsor a fall carnival, dinner, sports tournament or other event? Set up a booth at these events to sell tickets.
- Sell tickets at your regular group meetings, and keep everyone up to date about the campaign’s progress.
- Set up booths at local fairs and grocery stores.
- Have a reasonable time line for sales, especially for big-ticket items. A minimum of one month selling period should be allowed. Plan for 2-3 months for larger ticket items.
- Give your prizes away at a regularly planned event, or a special event. Have tickets available for last minute buys.
- Leverage your organization’s value to the community. When selling tickets, volunteers should make it clear what the sales are for. The more familiar people are with the cause or organization, the more likely they are to buy tickets.
Step by Step Raffle Guide
Now that you have an idea of the essentials for your raffle campaign, lets break it down into steps
1. Planning Meeting with the committee – brainstorm as many ideas and possibilities, as well potential pitfalls. Assign members to researching prizes.
2. Regroup with your committee – report progress on prizes.
3. Finalize your “big prize’
4. Finalize timelines, when ticket sales will start and when they will end. Plan the date and how the giveaway will take place.
5. Gather smaller prizes such as gift certificates for secondary prizes.
6. Make raffle ticket layout.
8. Keep records of which tickets will be given to which sellers. Having numbered tickets will help in record keeping.
9. Distribute tickets to the sellers.
10. Assign captains to follow up with a groups of sellers
11. Have a mid-campaign committee meeting. Report on how ticket sales are going, how to boost sales if needed.
12. Set a due date (before the giveaway day) for the sellers to turn in the money and tickets (both sold and unsold. Place sold tickets in a safe holding area.
13. On the appointed date and time, draw for prizes.
14. Distribute all prizes.
15. Have a celebration party. Thank all your volunteers, ticket sellers and buyers. Acknowledge your highest fund raisers and give out awards.
There you have it! With a little creativity and super selling, you can raise a lot of support for your charity!
Tip: Find out more about how to plan a raffle fundraiser in the Raffle Secrets fundraising guidebook .
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