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Fundraising Idea – Rotary Club Fundraiser

This idea has been in use for twenty-five years, by my Vermont Rotary Club, and has been a tremendous success. The concepts used in this fundraiser are general to any successful and profitable fundraiser.

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This fundraiser is a fundraising idea where the outcome, of sports results, is used to decide winners. Since each ticket has two teams, for a given week, that are randomly assigned, the fundraiser is best described as a sports-based raffle. However, this “raffle” has the added thrill of the buyer being able to root for a team’s outcome, if a certain outcome will enhance the chance of winning. It is enjoyable for ticket buyers because it is sports-based, they win money, and they buy one ticket and can win every week over the sports season.

A raffle is generally a contest in which participants purchase a ticket or “chance” at winning a prize. A raffle is an easy fundraiser to initiate, and requires fewer volunteer hours to plan and conduct than any other type of fundraiser. This raffle works so well because of the high profit margin. Total annual cost of running this raffle is less than 2% of total income. The annual cost is around $50 for commercial printing of the front of the tickets, and the proceeds are limited only by the number of tickets sold. My Rotary Club bases the fundraiser on NFL football (496 tickets for a complete “set” at $20 each). With a payout of 50% of total income, we make $5000.

A fringe benefit of raffles is that there are no large up front costs, no inventory or product to stockpile, no orders to take, and no product to deliver except winners’ checks. Also, success is not dependent upon advertising. The advertising is done one-on-one as people sell tickets. This is a great idea for any size
group from just ten people to hundreds. For an NFL football fundraiser, a group of fifty people is ideal, since each person would have to sell only ten tickets each.

A raffle may not be suitable for everyone. In the United States raffle laws vary considerably by state. Determine the legality of your potential fund raiser and that no local or state ordinances, that deal with raffles, are being violated. Do a little Internet research to find out if there are any restrictions in your area. Check with other organizations in your area. Some institutions may even have their own rules concerning fund raisers. Check with your college, university, school, etc.

The preliminary version of the Rotary Club software was written in 1999 to simplify the existing cumbersome method. The software does the setup for the front ot the tickets, prints the back of the tickets, and performs all calculations. The updated software is now being made available to everyone for only $39. The purchase price is negligible compared to the many years of profit your organization will make from this fundraiser.

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