Let’s Have a Raffle!

One morning you wake up, your head snaps off the pillow, and “BAM!”, this great idea to start a charity aimed at helping to feed the poor comes to mind. You call it “Feed the World” after that catchy 1984 song by Band Aid. You get cool T-shirts and all of your friends and family involved. It’s been smooth sailing up until this point. You’re able to help the hungry in your community, but you’ve set your visions high…you want to feed the world. So now you need money if you wish to expand globally. Your next task is to raise these funds, but you are trumped with the big question: How? After many sleepless nights, you come up with the bright idea of hosting a raffle fundraiser in order to come up with this money. Lucky for you, I have been tasked with coming up with all the details surrounding this fundraiser. Here is the plan . . .

To start out, everyone in the organization must be wiling to sacrifice their time and efforts in order to maximize sales. In order to do that, offer good incentives to those who sell the most, but give everyone a small reward in the end. To sell tickets, you will need to do multiple things in order to succeed. First will be to go to businesses for both donations and prizes, for you need to offer these said prizes in order to entice people to buy tickets. You then need to sell tickets at popular stores and highly populated shopping centers. Next on this list is to advertise, both to your community and the surrounding ones. As the day of the fundraiser draws near, your organization will need to go door-to-door in order to hit up houses for tickets. For last measure, turn the raffle into a dinner or gala of some sort, where you can come together and publicly thank the people and businesses who helped you achieve your goal.

Good morale is key to keeping your volunteers motivated throughout the entire process. Ideology alone isn’t enough to keep your volunteers going. The easiest and most effective way to achieve this is to set up a prize system within your organization. Two ways to do this would be to have a competition for who can sell the most, bring in the most money/donations, etc. or to have a tiered prize system where there are different prizes you can get as you bring in more money (ex. $50=stopwatch, $100 = gift-cards, $200 = TV, etc.) To start, get a sense of the age group you have working for you. Though video games and Legos might interest your younger members, they will have little impact on older people. Though some prizes work for all, cater to those who are serving you. Tangent to both rewards and volunteers, contact your local high schools student government. Most student government classes have community service requirements that the students must fulfill. That way, you can get extra volunteers and they can receive their service hours.

Now you can not sell raffle tickets without prizes. The best prizes will always be from popular stores and local restaurants. Although you can spend out of pocket money on such prizes, you would loose your own money, and probably wouldn’t be able to afford many appealing prizes. The easiest way to attain these prizes is to go to these local businesses themselves. Businesses love nothing more than publicity, and will always jump at the chance for free publicity. Most local restaurants will donate free meal cards, for example, as it will attract people to go and dine there. Also, tacking their name to a charitable donation is a great way for businesses to earn positive publicity. Many businesses will donate to your cause as long as you go and ask. Some of these donations will be money, which can be used towards buying extra prizes.

If you are to be successful, you will need to go around to the big name stores and shopping centers in and around your community. With prior consent from the store management, set up a table and wait by the entrances and exits to reach out to shoppers as they arrive and leave. This way you can start to form a reputation with the shoppers in your community. From this reputation, you can grow your publicity. Reach out to local news agencies and ask for both donations and media coverage, for news stations always love to air a heartwarming story about members of their community. This way, you give them a story, they give you media coverage.

Now comes the nitty-gritty part: going door-to-door for ticket sales. This, at the very least, must happen since this is where a good amount of your ticket sales will come from. You and your volunteers should divide up and go out to various neighborhoods throughout your community and ask residents if they would like to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win spectacular prizes and help Feed the World. Also, emphasize all donations are tax deductible. This will require a lot of patience as people will say no. Do not let that discourage your team, just keep moving on

Now finally comes the appreciation dinner or gala at your raffle. This is the best way to publicly thank everyone who helped make this possible as well as those who bought tickets. Again ask a restaurant in the community if they would be willing to donate food to this event, or at least charge half price. This way, people will also be more tempted to purchase a ticket since there is more in it for them than just a chance at winning something.

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