Your Challenge: The Successful Raffle

Great rewards require great effort. The payoffs from a prize draw can be substantial, if you make an investment of time, forethought, and common sense, but don’t count your revenue before it’s collected! Consider possible stumbling blocks. According to Eventgroove’s survey of over 200 raffle holders, the top five most difficult tasks are:

  • Selling Ticket
  • Tracking Sales
  • Encouraging Participation
  • Soliciting Prize Donations
  • Raising Awareness

There is no silver bullet solution, but there are resources and techniques to help your organization rise above obstacles.

    1. Ticket Sales: By far, the #1 most difficult task reported was the ability to sell tickets. Different people have different tastes in prizes. Make sure your prizes make sense for your organization and your potential ticket purchasers. For instance, if your prize is a hunting package, you don’t go to animal rights groups to sell tickets. You try a sporting organization or a gun club! Do go to local business and other groups in your communities. Make your presence known at large gatherings, and don’t forget to ask your family and friends. Remember, you’ll sell more tickets with fun or clever promotions. Here are some ideas:

a.Early bird pricing: Offer a special low price in the early days of selling tickets. People love a good deal and will be more likely to buy.
b.Special deals: Find creative ways to give deals to customers. For example, offer $40 for as many tickets they can fit once around their head, waist, neck, etc…
c.Dunk, throw pies, or cut hair: Along with your prizes, find a sympathetic local celebrity (a school’s principal, a TV reporter, a popular coach) and sell tickets for a chance (or multiple chances) to dunk him, throw a pie at him, or cut his hair. Don’t forget to invite the newspaper and local media outlets for more publicity.
d. Advertise on your website, local radio, public events, newspapers, and at local business.
e. Prizes for sellers: Offering rewards for most tickets sold, most hours put in, or best attitude provides ticket sellers with an attractive goal.
It is also important that the consumer knows why you are selling tickets. You’re not just earning money for your cause, you’re also spreading its message. Create an enthusiastic sales pitch. Include your organization’s name and purpose, address frequently asked questions, and finish up with a request that the listener purchase tickets. Keep it short and sweet so you don’t lose their attention.

    1. Tracking: Eventgroove’s survey reported that 19% of nonprofits did not record ticket sales, but the government will require you to report the outcomes of your raffle. You’re legally obligated to keep track! Accurate tracking can also create a database of potential customers for your next raffle. Microsoft Excel was nonprofits’ favorite program for tracking, with 43% of all respondents using the program. Record everything! This includes names, relation to seller, phone number, email, addresses dates, ticket numbers. Excel allows you to easily set up a spreadsheet with all the required information. Set up your spreadsheet correctly, and it can be used over and over again. Below is an example of a typical recording spreadsheet in Excel:
      raffle spreadsheet
    1. Participation: If your raffle will depend on volunteers, it may be hard to find reliable support. People can’t help if they don’t know about the raffle, so tell everyone about your opportunity. Joining online networks specifically for volunteering is an excellent way to connect your organization with people in your area who are ready and willing to help. Remember you must accommodate your volunteers. According to, 89% of volunteers think it is important for volunteering to fit into their schedule and 80% found it important to understand expectations. So be specific about your needs! Idle volunteers probably won’t come back. Always show your appreciation by following up with thank-you letters.
    1. Donations: Finding the right prizes is the first step in initiating a successful raffle. There are many online sites where businesses and individuals can make donations. Sign up for one today and start collecting. Also, ask local business to provide prizes. They are often willing to give back to the community, especially if you can offer some positive publicity. Adding their logo to your Raffle Ticket or providing free ad space in your publication is a great motivator! Don’t be shy about approaching anyone who might help. You may be surprised when you find out how many powerful supporters you actually have.
    1. Awareness: The most effective way to create awareness for a raffle is through word of mouth. Promote your raffle through your website, newsletters, email, TV, and meetings. Tell everyone about your raffle and ask them to do the same. 63% of the respondents in Eventgroove’s survey said they hold raffles in conjunction with a major event such as a dinner or a sporting event. This way your raffle can be promoted through the event as well.

Now you know the challenges and the solutions. Get out there and start selling Raffle Tickets to support your organization!