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Raffles Are a Helpful Tool for Business and Nonprofits by Ysabel Trujillo

Raffles Are a Helpful Tool for Business and Nonprofits by Ysabel Trujillo


Very few people wake up each day and reflect on the benefits of utilizing raffles as an effective business strategy, but in reality, almost everyone can think of a time when he or she has entered a raffle and won something. By targeting the proper audience for their product or service, a business or non-profit can increase ticket sales exponentially. For example, if the targeted audience is younger, platforms such as Twitter or Facebook could be used to spread information about ticket sales. Depending on the audience, prizes of individual raffles will vary but across the board prizes should be an item or service that someone would regularly pay for, that way if the winner is satisfied with his or her prize, he or she will be more likely to become a returning customer. In addition to using social media to promote ticket sales, there is no substitute for face to face raffle promotion. Volunteers that are dedicated to the non-profit’s cause or are enthusiastic employees would probably be the best choice for raffle ticket sales. These components, plus a little creativity, are the keys to creating a successful raffle.

My own experiences with raffles are sporadic, yet oddly enough, almost every time I have entered one, I have won something. The fact that I remember each prize and where I won it from is testament to the power of a raffle as a successful business approach.  My first raffle prize came from Vacation Bible School (which I was forced to go to, but that’s another essay) and happened to be a radio with a CD player. In order to be entered into the raffle, we had to memorize a Bible verse and then correctly recite it the next day. Of the people who correctly recited the verse, two or three were chosen to win prizes. I think this raffle was particularly effective because there was no cost to enter; we just had to memorize a few lines. A business or a non-profit could benefit from using such a tactic by marketing their raffle toward younger consumers who are more apt to memorizing slogans or taglines.

The second raffle-related memory I have is when I won tickets to see Wicked at the Civic Center in San Diego. On the day of the show the theater would take down participant’s names and choose five or six people to win tickets to the show playing that night. Instead of going myself, I passed the tickets along to my mom and her friend and they had such a great time that they went back to the theater another time. A for-profit business could greatly benefit from this style of raffle because if the winner has a positive experience with the prize, they may be more likely to return and even bring additional customers. For example, a local hardware store or restaurant could enter customers into a raffle to win a prize such as free installation or free dinner. A prize that leaves a lasting positive impression of the business ultimately benefits the company itself.

My most recent experience with winning a raffle was at my high school health fair. At first, I was just going to glance at each of the different stalls, take whatever free swag bags I could, and leave. But then I saw that each stand had a sign-up sheet which put the participant in the running for prizes ranging from an Oral B Care Kit to first aid kits to pencil cases. The only caveat was that in order to sign your name, you had to ask the person at the stall about their respective health topic. Although I only won a lowly pencil case, the raffle was a win-win because the people in each stall shared their information and visitors won prizes.

While I’ve only given three examples of the types of raffles that I’ve experienced, these examples demonstrate the versatility and usefulness of raffles. With the proper adjustments a non-profit or business could obtain their desired results whether that is greater exposure, higher revenue, or increased community involvement. Although raffles are not always considered as a primary fundraising technique, they stand out as a consistent manner through which a business or non-profit can generate funds in a fun and involved way.

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Contributed by Ysabel Trujillo

July 10, 2015