Raising Money With Raffles by Trang Tran

Raising Money With Raffles by Trang Tran


Non-profit organizations perform valuable services.  They have a variety of missions from providing health care to helping victims of abuse, to providing food, clothing and shelter for the poor, to providing various educational opportunities and so much more.  They are as diverse as church groups, civic organizations and youth sports organizations.  Once thing that they all have in common is the need to engage in fundraising in order to raise the money they need to pursue their important missions.  Raffles are a tried and true method of fundraising.  Raffles can be part of other fundraisers such as craft fairs or auctions.  They can also be held by themselves.  Below we will look at how non-profit organizations can use raffles most effectively to raise money and explore a few tricks to maximize the amount of money that raffles bring in.    

The key to maximizing ticket sales is advertising.   An organization should provide a sense of authenticity to the sale.  People are naturally skeptical about raffle ticket sales.  The key to overcoming that is to include solid information about the organization holding the raffle.  The advertising should make people want to support the non-profit’s mission.  The credibility of the non-profit will translate into ticket sales.  Include contact information for the organization such as a phone number and a website address.   Additionally, the prizes are important.   Desirable prizes translate into more ticket sales.  Include attractively staged, color photos of the prizes in the ads and at any point of sale for tickets.  Help people envision winning the prize they are buying tickets. 

It is also important to use a variety of advertising methods.  There are the usual methods of posting flyers, placing ads in local newspapers, and word of mouth.  The internet is an important resource for ticket sales.  The organization’s website, Facebook and other social media are great ways to advertise a raffle, as well as the non-profit’s mission.  Non-profit organizations should take advantage of every method of advertising and find employees and volunteers who can use them effectively to boost ticket sales. 

Prizes are the proverbial carrot of a raffle.  While the credibility of the organization conducting the raffle can drive ticket sales the lure of the prizes will significantly raise ticket sales.  Organizations that conduct raffles with various prizes see this all the time.  Raffles with most desirable prizes will generate more ticket sales.  Soliciting local businesses for donations can net some great prizes.  Popular local businesses will often donate gift cards/certificates.  These will often be a big draw with people who patronize those businesses.  Theme baskets are another popular item for the raffles.  Organizations can often get volunteers to donate theme baskets (ie. a wine and cheese basket) that generate big ticket sales.  Money prizes are always popular as well.  There is never a deficit of people buying lottery tickets and that impulse to imagine winning money translates into raffle ticket sales.  Finally, staging prizes, so there are three big ticket items as grand prizes will also drive ticket sales. 

Volunteers are the heartbeat of a non-profit organization.  Most non-profits do not have the resources to hire enough people to do all the work the organization needs done.  That is where volunteers come in.  Dedicated people who believe in an organization’s mission will donate their time and talents.  That is particularly important when it comes to special events like a raffle ticket sale.   Volunteers do important work organizing raffles.  In light of that level of dedication non-profit organizations should ask how they can motivate their volunteers.  After all, a dedicated volunteer force will make a big difference in the success of a raffle. 

There are several important ways to reward volunteers at a raffle ticket sale.  Perhaps the most important one might be easy to overlook- recognition.  Taking the time to thank the people who volunteered their time, talent and people who donated raffle prizes is important because that recognition will generate good will and motivate volunteers to continue their efforts.  Getting volunteers involved in planning the raffle and listening to their ideas is a great motivator because it allows the volunteers to have a sense of ownership over the raffle.  Having fun contests to see who can sell the most tickets with small prizes for the winners is another way to motivate volunteers.  As is setting aside a prize or prizes and having a separate, free raffle just for the volunteers.  Providing food for hungry volunteers is another great motivator because everyone loves free food.  Using these ideas will result in an energized and motivated volunteer base that will sell a greater number of raffle tickets.  

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Contributed by Trang Tran

December 27, 2015

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