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Kaitlin Hatch

One of the best ways to raise money for a non-profit organization is to run a raffle. A raffle gives people an opportunity to win prizes by giving whichever organization is running the event money to raise their chances of winning.  Sure, while the selection of the winner is completely at random, that factor is not what really matters in this situation.  What matters is that the organization is making money from the amount of raffle tickets sold.  However, to get people to participate in the raffle anyway, the selling point needs to be more than “this is for a good cause”.  Anyone can offer random prizes to raffle, sell tickets for it at a reasonable price, and have a decent amount of success. In order to rake in as much money as possible from a raffle, the organization needs to have ways to sell more raffle tickets.

In order to sell more tickets, while people might donate anyway in spite of what the prizes are, an organization is likely to sell more tickets if they offer prizes that people want spend tickets (money) on.  This does not necessarily mean that a non-profit organization needs to spend a mountain of money on something like an iPod or a large mansion that a raffle participant will probably only spend ten to twenty dollars in raffle tickets on. However, offering items that people will actually spend money on (especially if the prize has something to do with organization that’s holding the raffle) will boost ticket sales phenomenally. Gift baskets or coupons tend to work nicely.  For example, at Sprout Fest, owned by Finding Shelter (a pet rescue organization), their raffle offered either gift baskets filled with items such as dog treats or pet themed art/jewelry. If one was there, chances are they had a pet of some sort who was rescued.  Either that or they worked with animals. Either way, anyone participating in this entire event cared about the cause and wanted these insanely impressive gifts they can give their pet or at memorialize their love for animals. Thus, keeping the main audience in mind while selecting raffle prizes is highly important when trying to find a method for raising funds.

While it is important to keep in mind the actual prizes an organization is offering at a raffle, the price of the tickets also determine sales.  A typical strand of tickets, say five or seven tickets, will cost maybe five dollars, which is reasonable.  However, there is a method that can be incredibly useful in selling any product ever.  Say an organization is selling tickets at certain rates, such as five for five dollars, ten for eight, and so forth. Obviously this organization wants to sell as many tickets as possible. Well, what tends to boost sales is to have a red herring price. Say there is a price gap of three dollars for five tickets and an arm’s length of tickets for ten dollars.  When people see that, all they think is “ten dollars is just too much, I’ll just spend three dollars and call it a day”. So how can an organization bridge the gap to convince people to spend more on raffle tickets? Add another price in between, say ten tickets for eight dollars.  When a participant sees this middle price and then the larger price, they’ll think “well, it’s only two more dollars if I just get an arm’s length.”  They’re still paying ten dollars for the arm’s length of tickets, but now they don’t feel like they’ve made such a large loss. In the end, everyone wins.  The organization makes money, and the person feels good about having a slightly larger chance of winning the raffle.

Another aspect to keep in mind when selling raffle tickets is making the volunteers at the event motivated to raise money.  While they aren’t exactly profiting themselves, the volunteers still have an obligation to help boost ticket sales on their own. But how?  For one, if they are volunteering for this event anyway, then they honestly shouldn’t even need to be “motivated” to do something that they are already passionate about.  However, there are cases where either the volunteer was “volun-told” to help out or is not generally charismatic or confident enough to become a ticket salesperson overnight.  While it would still be a smarter decision to just have the already charismatic volunteers working the ticket booth anyway, it is sometimes necessary to use what or who is available to sell the tickets.  A big pep talk before the event starts would be a good way to get everyone generally motivated. However, some people need more of a push to sell something they aren’t going to profit off of anyway. Perhaps talking individually to volunteers and help them play on their personal strengths to sell tickets.  For example, say a volunteer is really bored and doesn’t want to be there anyway.  Their performance as a salesperson is sloppy and as a result, people are reluctant to buy tickets from this individual. A person running the event should then talk to the person.  They should ask the bored volunteer why they are in such a state. The person running the event then needs to find a strength the volunteer could use to help them be less bored or more motivated.