Aiman Ghani essay

 

FUNdraising (ESSAY PROMPT #1)

Raffles are super fun because you don’t know if you’ll win – it’s like the lottery, except you don’t have to be eighteen and don’t have to worry about the likelihood of being murdered the next time you take a stroll through your Qwik Mart in search of the half price milk gallon advertised in their flyer simply because of the fact that the whole world knows you now possess a million (supposed) dollars. They are a classic that everyone is used to and that no one quite tires of, for the model remains the same but the actual contents change so that like a snowflake, no two raffles are ever exactly the same. Chance is a hard thrill to beat, and especially at the low cost of a buck for two tickets.

The easiest way to maximize sales of the raffle tickets is to make them cheap. It’s far easier to get a lot of people to spend a dollar or half of one each as opposed to getting one person to spend five at once. When a person thinks they’re spending less, or when they indeed are only spending a dollar or so, it’s easy to fork over the money because you’re not committing much: if you win you’re getting a prize that cost well over the amount you paid to enter, and if you lose you’re only losing the change you had lying around your pocket collecting dust anyways.

The best fundraising raffles offer a variety of raffles to enter. A perfect model would include a dollar for one ticket or five dollars for six. Have a table with a few different options out, but don’t make them all complicated options. Unless it’s an annual basket raffle where everyone is familiar with the rules (like at a school) of what generally ends up in the baskets, having baskets can get confusing and people can get lazy about checking for all the random items that may be in the basket. It can also be hard to determine its worth, even if it’s for a niche area. A fitness organization called CHAARG I was part of held a raffle at their formal and it was unsuccessful due to two reasons: one being that they didn’t advertise the fact that there would be a raffle so people didn’t come prepared with loose change, and two being that while it was a fitness organization, most of the items in the basket were unfamiliar and thus useless to me as well as hard to determine the value of. Yoga what? Gift card to what studio? It’s better to just keep it to things that everyone understands immediately. Offer a table with variety, but not too much variety that it gets overwhelming, meaning that there should be one majority over all. Like have a dozen raffles set out on the table that are gift cards to places like Target, Starbucks, Apple Store, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Chipotle, Coldstone, etc. Places where every dollar counts – you can buy tons of cheap items at Target, get a good meal out of $10-$15 at Chipotle, and use Amazon money towards college textbooks. If the gift card won’t get them anything, it won’t be useful, so while you could do a $10 gift card to Coldstone to get someone two ice-creams, it’d be best to do at least $20 if you’re doing Barnes and Noble so someone could buy at least one hardcover book for sure. Along with all the gift cards, which in this example are the majority, offer a few tickets to Blackhawk or Cubs games and maybe a pair of headphones. Things that everyone has a rough estimate at the top of their head of how much it’d cost them if they paid full price for it and has an idea of how they’d use it if they won it today.

Make sure to advertise on your festival or event flyer the raffle ticket prices and a list including just a few things available to raffle so that people are aware of this and know to bring cash on them or to grab their loose change or to participate if they see something they like. It’ll send a thrill of adrenaline through them to know that they might win those Beats headphones they’d been admiring or get $25 to Starbucks, their favorite place to get coffee every morning. Make it clear that raffle ticket prices are cheap and that there will be many raffles which means there will be many winners. Make the odds sound good to consumers. Convince them they have a good chance of winning. And don’t lie – be ethical and make it so that there do end up being a lot of winners. Do this by asking big brands and local businesses alike to donate gift cards and valuable prizes in exchange for advertising them in your leaflet, program guide, or brochure.

The last key to a successful fundraising raffle event is to have enthusiastic volunteers. Set volunteers in charge of a couple different raffles (assign 2-3 to each volunteer) and make it so that the top five volunteers get to choose a gift of their choice. Make them gifts that are donated by companies or that your company buys yourself, but that your volunteer demographic will be sure to love. It’s not the lottery, but that might make it better – because with a raffle you’ll still be getting an amazing prize, and you won’t have to wait an entire lifetime to do so.

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