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Raffles With Substantial Prizes Offer the Best Chance of Success by Alexis Markavage

I believe that raffles with substantial prizes more often than not stand the best chance of successfully gaining ticket sales, and therefore raising money for the sponsoring organization. I’ve volunteered with a number of non-profits in the past, and I currently work with an elementary school that has a tight budget. I know that it’s hard sell for non-profit organizations to promote a large-ticket item for a raffle, but I would argue that prizes of substantial value tend to attract much more interest, therefore ticket-buyers, and they are easier to advertise than numerous lesser-value raffles.

 One of the most clever raffle-prizes I’ve seen lately in the San Francisco Bay Area is real estate, large or small. For years, in my community, many non-profits have advertised raffles for million-dollar homes with ticket prices ranging from $100 to $200 each. In the Bay Area, a home of any value is hard to come by, but the kind of homes that have been offered as a part of these raffles have created tremendous buzz due to the extravagant nature of a home. A home offers a lot appeal as well as many features that can be described in advertising, such as views, location, and number of bedrooms.

Recently at the Marin County Fair, a non-profit ingeniously picked up on the appeal of a “house raffle” by offering a tiny-home. It was designed, built and ultimately offered as a raffle prize. Like the larger real estate prizes, it gained media attention due to how unique and environmentally conscious it was. The home was a significant value, but it also offered the flexibility to locate it wherever the winner would like. It could be a primary residence or a vacation home, and tickets sold for a more nominal $10 price tag. I think owning anything of substantial value such as this is particularly intriguing for a potential a ticket-buyer. Sure, the raffle could be for a cash prize, but offering something as life changing as a tiny-home is exciting and ultimately generates more revenue. The more a person thinks about the prize, the more likely he or she is to buy a ticket.

 By offering a substantial prize, a non-profit need only promote one raffle to meet its fundraising goals for the year. Therefore, volunteers can put all of their efforts into promoting one event to support the raffle. Think about how much more productive this is than to attempt to raise money all year through smaller efforts such as fundraising letters, selling candy, and smaller auctions. If they offer a big prize, it in-and-of itself becomes newsworthy, which takes care of much of the promotion. In addition, by working through other civic organizations such as a realtors association for real estate or a builders association for a tiny home, the work of selling tickets becomes a team-effort.

Considering the public interest in gambling in general, a raffle combines the best of all possible outcomes. It generates excitement on the part of the ticket-buyer, satisfaction for the non-profit volunteer by maximizing his or her efforts, and most importantly, revenue for the organization. A raffle with a substantial prize does all of this most efficiently.


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Contributed by: Alexis Markavage