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Everyone Wins With a Raffle by Thomas Hess

Everyone Wins With a Raffle by Thomas Hess


Most everyone loves a chance to win a prize, as evidenced by the success of midway barkers at thousands of county fairs across the country.  With this in mind, it is not surprising that raffles are popular with many organizations looking to increase revenues while engaging their clientele in a fun activity.

Raffles are wonderful vehicles to entice patrons to painlessly contribute money to an organization or association.  Several non-profit organizations of which I am aware complete raffles yearly to complement fundraising efforts.  One group sells raffle tickets for chances to win wine or cigars.  Two winners are drawn at an annual gala, with the first winner choosing between 50 bottles of wine or 3 boxes of fine cigars.

Raffle tickets are sold by board members of the organization, and this approach has resulted in a significant enhancement in fundraising yearly.  Another group solicits donations of marquee gifts such as college football memorabilia, condo stays at attractive vacation spots and rifles or shotguns for their yearly raffle.  With little or no cost in the attractive raffle items, profits from the raffle are maximized.

Timing, price-point costing of tickets and other issues may determine whether it is possible to provide an attractive monetary return on a raffle and make it as easy as possible for patrons to enjoy participating.  Suggestions on how to complete a successful raffle would include allowing sufficient time for ticket sales prior to the ultimate raffle drawing.  Most board members and rank and file members of non-profit organizations are volunteers and have busy careers beyond their organization duties.

Allowing several months to sell raffle tickets after ticket printing and distribution will allow volunteers time to work their local clientele.  Depending on the target clientele group, ticket price may be an issue.  For most groups, $5.00 per ticket is a commonly-used price point, with five tickets for $20.00 allowing patrons to purchase multiple tickets while keeping cost within a range that most are willing to invest.

Ticket prices less than five dollars per ticket require the sale of too many tickets to make a reasonable return on volunteer effort while higher prices may drastically reduce the number of patrons willing to take a chance unless the clientele base includes primarily high income families or corporations.  Lastly, having a few marquee gifts appears more attractive to clientele that a host of smaller items.  Normally, several marquee items are offered rather than one item so that patrons do have the feeling that they have more than one chance to win.

Incentive programs for those selling raffle tickets for an organization can figure prominently in the success of the endeavor.  Small cash prizes combined with recognition for the individual or group in front of the entire organization can go a long way toward motivating volunteers to beat the bushes in selling tickets.  Most volunteers are willing to work for the good of an organization if they are committed to the cause involved, but an extra cash prize and/or pat on the back often is enough to motivate volunteers to put in extra effort in ticket sales.

In conclusion, including a raffle in an organization’s plan for yearly fundraising provides a fun way for patrons to contribute to the financial wellbeing of an organization while enjoying the anticipation associated with the thrill of winning a prize.


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Contributed by Thomas Hess