Bailey Simon essay
Shake, Raffle, and Roll
My motto for the campaign was “shake, raffle and roll”! I was able to execute a great fund-raiser for my high-school tennis team when I was captain of the tennis team at my school. Our school had recently built great new courts but gee, ran out of money to add the much needed windscreens that wrap the courts and help reduce the effects of wind during matches. And here is a good one for you, I live in Oklahoma – it is windy here 364 days a year. This was highly important to our team’s success and to me because it was my last season to play at my school.
My idea was to get local businesses or family members of the tennis team to donate gift cards in any denomination for our raffle that would be an actual MONEY TREE. We decorated a fake tree and hung gift cards from the branches. We had cards for Best Buy, Walmart, Sonic, Aldi, Kohl’s, Target – you name it – we had it! The total value of the MONEY TREE was over $1000. We made some great posters and banners and hung them at all the local participating retailers and did a ton of social media posts for the tennis team to get the word out. We sold raffle tickets (we use the kind that you keep half and send the other half with the person) at lunch, after practice and even went door to door! The football team even let us set up a table at the home games to sell the tickets. We also got the school to kick in some fun prizes like t-shirts and blankets so we could do second and third prize drawings. We did have some rules to follow based on the local raffle/lottery laws but we were sure to keep everything legal and made sure that anyone had a chance to enter. We sold the tickets for $2 each or three for $5, which proved to be very popular.
The windscreens cost about $5000 for our courts and we raised over $7,000! We ran the contest for about 6 weeks and were able to get announcements made at school and at the home football games as there were many parents present that had no problem supporting the cause. Parents of the tennis team players also sold tickets at work and to friends and family. To keep my teammates motivated, my mom’s company even offered to donate gift cards for the top two ticket sellers. This kept everyone motivated and we keep a Google doc to list sales so that you could see what others were selling and how your competition looked. It was competitive and fun at the same time.
To make things fair, we got the school athletic director to draw the winning raffle ticket during halftime the football homecoming game from a ticket turner. We all made sure every ticket sold was put in the hopper! It was super exciting because the winner was actually present in the audience that night. It was a mother of a football player. She was very grateful as it was nearing the holidays and she cried because she said she did not know how she was going to afford presents that year.
My advice when planning a fundraiser involving a raffle is to include all costs such as the raffle tickets (very inexpensive for the return), the gift cards (we got them donated which allowed for a bigger return.) and any marketing such as flyers and banners (a parent of a teammate did this for a living and donated all of the printing for us.) Also, keep everyone informed, set goals and have good tracking measures in place. Since this was my idea what I learned most was how to implement and complete a task of this measure from start to finish. I learned that I was good at selling and really good at fundraising as I was able to get over 20 businesses to donate items in exchange for advertising mentions on the marketing. I also learned that follow-through is the key. I had to make sure to pick up the items promised and show them the posters and get them to display them. I also had to constantly get the team to promote the event and keep the momentum going for the six weeks. I am glad I undertook this large project and I will be able to drive by those courts for a very long time knowing I helped the players and my team when they needed it.
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