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A Guide for Nonprofit Fundraising via Raffle Ticket Sale by Derrick Jones

A Guide for Nonprofit Fundraising via Raffle Ticket Sale by Derrick Jones


Any program can benefit from a fundraiser that utilizes the sale of raffle tickets. Non-profit organizations are in an even more advantageous position for this opportunity, as people are more likely to donate to organizations that intrinsically need donor support to exist. Raffling can be an excellent source of income for a non-profit, and maximizing the benefit from this form of fundraising can be accomplished with awareness of the following suggestions and recommendations.


To begin, all non-profits holding raffles should obtain a license from their local or state government before beginning to raffle. Raffling is a great source of income, but only if the non-profit avoids paying penalties associated with not getting the required approval first. The licensing process is easy and inexpensive and will help ensure a successful fundraising event.


Once a license has been issued it is time to determine the best way to maximize ticket sales. A successful raffle consists of three parts: optimally priced raffle tickets, an incentive to donate, and a motivated base of volunteers to sell raffle tickets. Pricing is important, because you want a ticket to be sold at a price low enough for people to be willing to buy, but high enough to maximize funds raised. Pricing has to be done on a case to case basis, where the decision is made with the consideration of the general wealth of the population who will be purchasing tickets. In general, it is best to err on the side of pricing low. This will ensure that the majority of people will have the financial ability to purchase at least one ticket, while wealthier donors will still be able to buy as many raffle tickets as they would like.


Most raffles operate in the same way: people buy tickets that go into a drawing to win a prize, and the proceeds go to the nonprofit. In this method, the most important aspect is the prize. If at all possible avoid spending a large amount of money on the prize, as this cuts into the amount of money that will go to your cause. Prizes are often donated by a single benefactor or corporation for free, or in exchange for a small amount of advertisement. Finding something that people want is important. Utilize the internet and social media to identify hot items, and if resources and time permit issue a digital or traditional survey to find out what people want most. Trends come and go so it is important to not just immediately pick the same prize from the last fundraiser. Some of the best prizes are ones that offer an object or opportunity that cannot be obtained from other means. Purchasing or receiving a donation of some new gadget or accessory that is or will soon be sold out is a good way to add exclusivity and desire to the raffle. Anything that makes the prize unique will increase sales. Tickets for sold out concerts or other events are also a great idea. Venues often hold a certain number of tickets in reserve to donate for giveaways and raffles to promote the event. Contact businesses and concert venues, let them know you are trying to raise money for a nonprofit with a noble goal, and let their generosity surprise you.


Maybe you just do not have the time to find a great prize for the raffle. Do not despair! A recent study from Yale showed that incentivizing charitable giving with gifts and prizes can actually decrease the amount of donations (Newman). This counterintuitive result stems from the fact that people like to feel selfless when they give, and receiving something in return interferes with that. To avoid this, don’t be afraid to try a non-traditional raffle experience. Here is one example: hold a raffle where the purchase of just one ticket will give the donor entry to a fun, donors-only event. To make sure people are still incentivized to purchase multiple tickets, have fun, non-materialistic drawings at the event. Get creative, and have multiple prizes such as the privilege to judge the fudge making competition, or the right to DJ for 15 minutes. Not only will a fun event like this build community within the organization, but it will also offers the opportunity for donors to meet and socialize with the people that their donations will help. This can also increase generosity, as a study from Harvard has demonstrated “that the hedonic benefits of generous spending are most likely when spending promotes positive social connection” (Aknin). Put simply, people feel better about their giving, and are more likely to donate more, when they feel more connected to members of the organization.


The final step in a successful raffle is coordinating volunteers to sell the tickets. In many instances members of a non-profit will already be motivated and will not need any incentive to sell as many tickets as possible. But in some cases the volunteer base may need to be motivated, and this can be done in simple yet effective ways. Small, inexpensive prizes given to the top sellers are often enough to encourage volunteers, especially if they are younger in age. Their competitive nature will drive them to want to be the best, along with a few small rewards. Another great motivator is social recognition. Announcing the name and ticket sales of the top donors on the organization’s website, or in person at upcoming events, can encourage people even more than prizes. Basically, even though people are motivated to help a good cause, it never hurts to recognize them for their hard work, and it often helps.


Raffle tickets are a fantastic way to raise money for your organization. They also spread awareness and can promote social interaction within a community. Follow these simple suggestions and you can make sure you hold successful fundraising events for years to come.  

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Contributed by Derrick Jones

Works Cited

Aknin, Lara B., Elizabeth W. Dunn, Gillian M. Sandstrom, and Michael I. Norton. "Does Social Connection Turn Good Deeds into Good Feelings? On the Value of Putting the 'social' in Prosocial Spending."International Journal of Happiness and Development 1.2 (2013): 155. Web.

Newman, George E., and Y. Jeremy Shen. "The Counterintuitive Effects of Thank-you Gifts on Charitable Giving." Journal of Economic Psychology33.5 (2012):