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Combine a Raffle With an Event for Success by Velma Ragsdale

Combine a Raffle With an Event for Success by Velma Ragsdale


Non-profit organizations can best derive benefit from a raffle fundraiser via combining it with an event.  For example, a non-profit organization can combine their raffle fundraiser with their volunteer appreciation event.  Other possible events include another fundraiser, a luncheon, a dinner, and a wine and cheese social.  They can hold a volunteer appreciation event in which they honor a volunteer of the year in multiple categories (egg. board member, committee member, philanthropist, supportive elected official, etc.).  This will guarantee maximum participation, particularly from individuals with the means to support a raffle fundraiser.  Rather than raffle one key item, they can hold a showcase featuring multiple raffle items prior to the ceremonial portion of their volunteer appreciation event.  The showcase can also include hors d’ oeuvres and wine secured via donations from caterers and restaurants as well as gratis musical entertainment from an ensemble or a soloist.  The hors d’ oeuvres, wine, and musical entertainment will aid significantly with creating the tone for the event – a high-end raffle fundraiser for a worthy cause.  The tone will attract the audience – philanthropic individuals with the means to support a raffle fundraiser.

*Note: Non-alcoholic beverages should also be served.

The non-profit organization can form a committee (one year in advance), which works to secure raffle items.  To guarantee maximum success, the committee should be tasked with securing a variety of raffle items such as apparel, art, gift baskets, home décor, packages (egg. a one year country club membership, a weekend vacation for a family of four at a local theme park, etc.), and services.  Offering a variety of raffle items will aid with attracting the interests of a diverse group of patrons.  The committee can also secure a grand raffle item such as a vacation package to Rome, Italy.  I recommend that the raffle for the grand item be held during a specified period of time (egg. three months) prior to the event at which the winning raffle ticket should be drawn.

Once the event has been coordinated, the non-profit organization can promote it via invitation distribution sites (egg. businesses, prominent places of worship, etc.), news channels, newspaper advertisements/articles, posters, public service channels, radio announcements, social media, targeted mailings to elected officials, proprietors, etc., websites, and yard signage.

On the day of the event, the raffle items can be showcased via displays, laptops featuring the websites of the various vacation package destinations, models for apparel, handbags, and jewelry, and rotating pictures of items on televisions.  The non-profit organization can also solicit a prominent, respected member of the community to serve as the Master/Mistress of Ceremony for the Showcase.  This is also a key marketing and promotional aspect of the event, which should be advertised on their invitation.  All items should be accompanied by business cards from the businesses and individuals who donated them.  Volunteers can be recruited to sell raffle tickets.  I recommend recruiting volunteers to sell raffle tickets who have benefited from the resources and services offered by the non-profit organization.  They have an intrinsic reason to sell raffle tickets and are very likely to sell the most raffle tickets.

Volunteers can also serve as hosts/hostesses who greet guests and serve food.

The businesses and individuals who donate to/sponsor the event should be featured in the programme as well as listed on a sponsor recognition poster.  It is also highly recommended that the non-profit organization invite the media to cover the event.  Donors and sponsors LOVE to contribute to events at which there will be media coverage.

The executive director can sponsor incentives for the volunteers who agree to sell raffle tickets.  Incentives typically enjoyed by organizational volunteers include group experiences such as a course-by-course dinner at a restaurant or a course-by-course dinner prepared by and served at the house of the executive director.  Other incentives include tickets to a popular cruise, theater production, or train excursion.  Experiential incentives like these will aid the non-profit organization with recruiting high caliber volunteers who will assist with the raffle fundraiser year after year.

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Contributed by Velma Ragsdale