Three Cheers For Raffles by Morgan Marissa Jones

Three Cheers For Raffles by Morgan Marissa Jones

Growing up I participated in many different organizations and most used  raffles to raise funds, as well as to raise awareness for various causes. For example, I participated in competitive all-star cheerleader for 13 years.  For the last six years I cheered at Maryland Twisters which actively supports the special needs community by providing all-star cheer opportunities for this very important and vital population. Every year each Twisters teams raise $1000 each to financially support the organization’s  special needs teams.  For the last three years my team raised funds by creating two Christmas gift card wreathes worth $200 each.  Every member of the team donated two $20 gift cards for gas, food, etc. to add to the wreath.  The team members then sold raffle tickets for award of the Christmas wreaths. When I first heard the idea, I was less than enthused.  Honestly, I thought it was silly and  my thoughts were, “Who would buy a raffle ticket for this?” and “Who even buys raffle tickets for anything except at crab feasts?”  Slowly, however, I began to see those were just uninformed assumptions. The more I talked to coworkers and classmates about the raffle, I discovered people not only thought it was great to pay $10 for a $200 wreath, but they became more aware of the special needs community and Twisters’ support and engagement. Feedback I received included, “This is great that Maryland Twisters does something like this.” and  “This is great they help these kids live their dreams.” While part of the idea was to raise money for the special needs teams, the other part was to raise awareness about this underserved community.   In addition to giving special needs children and adults the all-star cheer experience, including national travel and numerous first place awards, the raffle brought more people to Maryland Twisters because they noticed the good work the organizations was doing outside of great performances on the mat.

People are more likely to purchase raffle tickets when they see the opportunity of receiving something they could really use. When people heard about a Christmas wreath of gift cards, often their first thought was, “Well I am helping out kids and I get some free dinners and free gas, so why not!” People like knowing they are helping a cause and are being rewarded for it.  Even knowing they may not win, people still know they have helped others and  are helping make a change in someone’s life. Given my experience, the way to maximize the sales of raffle tickets is by explaining to potential customers how their purchase is helping someone in need and how their contribution is notice. This will make the customers feel appreciated, feel what they’re doing helps those in need and is the right thing to do.

In today’s society, despite how much someone may be helping others, people still want to receive a chance at compensation for their help. In an article named “Selfish’ Giving: Does It Count If You Get in Return?” by Tovia Smith, Smith quotes Carol Cone, the chairwoman and founder of Cone Inc., in saying companies have to be seen as giving in order to succeed.  Moreover, Cone says, “Businesses must show their humanity”. “It’s no longer a ‘nice to do’- it’s a ‘have to do.’” (Cone).  Additionally, she speaks of high school kids signing up for community service opportunities before college applications are due.  The assumption is these students would not care about community service if they didn’t think it would increase their chances of getting accepted to their dream schools. Harvard professor and psychologist, Richard Weissbound states, “I do feel like, as a country, we have lost a sense of morality for its own sake.  You should just be generous to be generous. You should do what’s right because it’s right, not because of what you get back”.  Experts refer to this mindset as “Selfish Giving”. I have personally seen this first hand with a cause near and dear to my heart, Diabetes; I was diagnosed as Type 1 prior to age 2  For example, consider a situation in which there are two stands set up to raise money for finding a cure for Diabetes and one stand is a bake sale with little information about what diabetes is and how it affects society and the other stand is an information stand providing facts about the diabetes and the effects on society without offering anything in return for a donation. While the second stand provides more in depth information, the first stand offers a “reward” for donating. More people tend to go to the bake sale because they believe their helping, but they’re also getting a treat for their good deed. This is our society now. As demonstrated in my examples above, I believe the best prize to encourage sales of raffle tickets is offering something someone wants or needs, such as a guilty pleasure, cookies/brownies/etc. or a need such as a gas/food/etc. gift cards.

The best way to motivate people to sell raffle tickets is by pulling in people who can relate to the issue and feel passionate about it. After engaging people who can relate to the issue, it is important to explain to the seller how their sales will benefit the cause and how appreciated they are. As previously stated my team at Maryland Twisters sold raffle tickets to raise money for our special needs teams.  When I first started the team I did not see the true value in selling tickets. I didn’t care because I did not see how it benefited me, but when I was educated on how selling the tickets helped these very special kids to accomplish their goals, goals that I also have, but without the same barriers in my way, I knew what I was doing was good and I knew many people would benefit from it. Not only would the kids on the team benefit from it, but the families would also.

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Contributed by Morgan Marissa Jones

December 7, 2015

 

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