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Keeping an Eye on the Prize by Kerrigan Stern

Keeping an Eye on the Prize by Kerrigan Stern

Life, at times is a game of chance, and the life of non-profit organizations can be maximized by games of chance as well. A raffle fundraiser is an exciting and advantageous method of acquiring extra funds for an organization to pursue its goals. Of course, not all fundraisers are created equally, and by tweaking a few aspects of a fundraiser, an organization can significantly increase their profits to move forward with their endeavors.


Perhaps the most imperative aspect of a raffle fundraiser is efeectively generating interest amongst the public. Not everyone is willing to donate to a non-profit, and without incentives that the public would deem valuable, the fundraiser cannot be a success. Although this may differ depending on the event the fundraiser is held at, prizes should appeal to ALL audiences, meaning partticularly exclusive items should be avoided. This criteria should especially pertain to the biggest ticket item(s). After all, the big prize is what everybody is shooting for. Prizes that don't appeal to all ages, genders, and races should be excluded, as they will deter potential participants.


However, non-profits should be careful not to advertise a grand prize so luxurious that the price of it will create a significant dent in the profits they'll receive from the fundraiser. It is important for these organizations to reach out to sponsors ahead of time as well and ask them for monetary or gift donations from their company to give to the fundraiser in exchange for promotion of the company at the fundraising event. Additionally, it would be strategic to have one grand prize, followed by a few top-tier prizes, and then several other smaller prizes.


With only one thing to aim for, participants may feel discouraged due to the slim odds, but having the appearance that chances of winning something are high, more people will be likely to participate.


Organizations should also make sure that their prizes aren't out-dated. It’s unlikely that participants will seek to purchase additional raffle tickets when the prize is, for example, an iPhone 3 when the latest iPhone 6 has been released. A grand prize that is both enticing and has the ability to be sustained by donations is a gift-card tree with gift cards to local theaters, restaurants, etc.


Equally as important as the prizes to maximizing profits is the location of the fundraiser. To maximize the funds, you have to maximize the participants. Organizations should hold their fundraisers in a very public and populated setting that matches the fun and light-hearted mood of a raffle fundraiser. Ideal locations are fairs, carnivals, etc. Organizations should find it beneficial to choose a venue or event that is aimed towards a charitable cause, or a goal that coincides with the goals of the non-profit. People will be more likely to contribute if they're by an atmosphere promoting charitable outreach. They will have the ambivalent mindset to help support a good cause as many non-profit organizations promote.


Besides taking the prizes and venue into consideration, another important factor to maximize sales is to focus on the fundraiser's appearance. A person's first impression of an organization and their fundraiser could determine their willingness to purchase raffle tickets. Creating a booth or other sort of structure to hold the fundraiser in should draw a person's eye as they pass. If their presentation is dull or unexciting, it is unlikely that the person passing by will take a second glace and stop to buy a raffle ticket.  This means that bright colors, large lettering, and other bold features should be used. Certain props should also be considered to get the attention of possible participants.


The grand prize(s) should be proudly on display to the public; drawing their eye to the possible benefits they could receive by buying tickets. If the prize is not big enough to be seen from far away while on display, a poster of some sort should draw attention to what the grand prize is. Additionally, the prices for the tickets should be made widely visible. An incentive to get participants to buy more tickets is to add a discount for buying more tickets. For example, you can buy each ticket for 50 cents, and five for two dollars (a fifty cent discount.)


While the structure and logistics of raffles are very important to its' success, internal aspects are imperative as well. This means that volunteers of the non-profit should be doing everything they can to maximize ticket sales by being friendly, promoting the raffle, approaching possible donors, etc. While grand prizes for the participants are essential, prizes for the volunteers should not be overlooked.


By taking these factors into consideration when planning a raffle fundraiser, a non-profit organization will not only find success in their fundraiser, but also have a precedent for future fundraisers to expand off of. While holding a raffle fundraiser may take more planning and effort than it may seem, it is a creative way to obtain much-needed funds to pursue the organization's goals.

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Contributed by Kerrigan Stern