Raffles are one type of fundraiser where you have almost total control over the expenses and income you raise. Raffles might seem simple (sometimes too simple); but, like any fundraising effort worth doing, raffles should be well planned and organized.
Many organizations like raffles because the costs and risks are very low. Organizations of all types and sizes can successfully conduct these fundraisers and make profit. So, let’s take a look at some things you should be aware of when organizing a raffle for your organization.
- Check with the secretary of state and your local community to make sure you are in compliance with the state and local laws and ordinances. It’s better to find out on the front end that you need a license and that you qualify to conduct a raffle rather than receive a call from the authorities asking you to cease what you are doing after you’ve already sold tickets.
- What are your financial goals for this raffle? How much do you want to make? Remember that the lower the price of the tickets for the raffle items the more volunteers you will need and the more tickets you will have to sell to make your target goals.
- Remember — there are at least four aspects to a successful raffle. 1) Getting the committee and the leadership organized; 2) getting the items to raffle off (hopefully they all will be donated); 3) printing and selling the raffle tickets; and 4) holding the event where the raffle is drawn. At each stage it’s important to keep careful track of who is committed to what and to hold the group accountable.
- Know the demographics of your audience and find raffle items that will appeal to them. For example, an environmental group could raffle off a new Prius hybrid car and a men’s group might raffle off a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Other options: a weekend condo in a nice setting, a vacation in Mexico, dinners at a romantic restaurant, a plasma television. It’s important to get the prizes donated or at greatly reduced costs.
- Solicit items via e-mail. Over the past few years this has proven to be a highly successful strategy. It’s quick, costs next to nothing, and doesn’t take a lot of time (whereas phone calls can be quite time consuming).
- It’s critical that you have a strong crew of board members, volunteers, and staff selling raffle tickets. Make sure you set up specific goals for each person. The winning sellers also should receive a prize for their efforts.
- The price of the tickets should be priced reasonably in relation to the audience who will be buying them. If you are raffling off a nice car to a wealthy group of people you could price these tickets at $50-$100 If your audience is more community based and working class, the price should be in the $2-$5 range. The important point here is to know the audience to whom you will be selling the tickets.
- Be creative in selling the tickets. Don’t be afraid to go to a small supermarket or store and try to sell tickets at their door. Also try selling them on your Web site and at your church or house of worship. Approach politicians and ask them to buy tickets. Set up a booth outside a conference hall and sell tickets to the attendees. The ideas are endless!
- Hold the raffle drawing as part of another special event, if possible. Use the raffle to build energy and excitement for your annual dinner or other event. Sell additional raffle tickets right before the drawing.
- Evaluate and analyze the results immediately after the raffle. It’s important to learn from the experience of the raffle. Get your core committee together to evaluate the raffle and to talk about the next raffle. . .and don’t forget to CELEBRATE for a job well done!