Jon Michael Cowart III essay

Breaking Clays with Raffle Tickets

Trapshooting is one of my favorite things to do.  I love to aim, fire, and break orange 4 ½ inch clay discs as they are thrown through the air at 42 mph.   All modesty aside, not only do I love the sport, but I am good at it.  However, competing in American Trapshooting Association (ATA) registered competitions is expensive.  The cost of the traveling long distances to competitions is also expensive.  Ammunition is expensive.  Purchasing correctly sized shotguns with all the necessary equipment is expensive.  Hence, my Breaking Clays team holds various fundraisers throughout the year to help keep down the financial burden.  My favorite fundraisers involve raffling off expensive prizes.

Over the years, Breaking Clays has tried various fundraisers.  We have tried everything from selling tickets to pancake breakfasts at local restaurants, to picking up and mulching Christmas trees for a donation.  However, our best fundraisers involve finding a few people who love trapshooting to donate a firearm they are no longer using, or something expensive related to trapshooting.  Shamrock Leather bags, shell pouches, trapshooting belts, etc. are all excellent donations.  Ideally it is best to have one expensive item that appeals to many people be the top prize.  Having a few less expensive, but equally appealing prizes as second and third place winners works best to attract more raffle ticket purchases.  Offering a few prizes means that people have a greater chance of winning something.

Last year a golf cart and trailer were donated as the top prize.  That prize appealed to thousands of people.  Golfers and trapshooters were our obvious target audience.  But we found that landscapers, farmers, pool cleaners, utility and maintenance workers, etc. were also very interested.  In addition to business people, people who camped a lot or had large properties were also interested in purchasing raffle tickets.  We had found a prize that interested small businesses as well as private families.  That was the key to our raffle ticket fundraisers success.

The best way to sell more tickets was to tow the trailer and golf cart to our competitions.  The club hosting the competition usually gave us permission to park in a prominent location, normally right up near the registration building.  Most clubs strive to promote trapshooting to young teams.  This club core value helped us in getting permission ahead of time to sell raffle tickets in great locations.  We set up a folding table, and manned it with at least two volunteers at a time.  People bought tickets and were able to put the entry part of the ticket right into a raffle ticket spinning drum.  They could even give the drum a spin.  Kids enjoyed spinning the drum, which motivated their parents to purchase a raffle ticket.

Whoever was not competing was expected to take a turn manning the table.  Motivating teammates to sell raffle tickets was easy since whoever sold tickets benefited from the proceeds.  The more raffle tickets sold, the more money would be put into the team member’s account to be used for competition entry fees and travel expenses.

Most people bought a raffle ticket so they had a chance at winning the prize.  However, other people bought raffle tickets to help encourage young people to have the resources needed to compete.  Regardless of why the raffle tickets were purchased, our team made sure to express our gratitude for their purchase.  We made sure to say, “Come back and visit us again soon” after each purchase.

We ended our raffle at a major competition.  All weekend long the hosting club allowed us to make sales announcements over the loud speaker so that we could sell more raffle tickets.  On the last day, we had a poster that counted down the hours until the drawing.  Right before the winning ticket was pulled, we did one more loudspeaker sales announcement.  It worked well to drive people to our sales table.

Breaking Clays is currently looking for our next expensive item to raffle.  Ideally it needs to be something with mass appeal that can be displayed well at competitions.  Viewing the item is important to many people so they can see the item tangibly.  Combine a good prize with a good cause, add some motivated teammates, and you have a winning recipe for a successful raffle ticket fundraiser.

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