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The Raffle: A Fundraising Tradition Not to Overlook

Foundationally, at formal fundraising events you often see silent auctions, live auctions and the good ol’ paddle raise (or fund-a-need). These are widely understood as well as effective formats for generating revenue at your event. But don’t forget the tried-and-true opportunity drawing that can be a successful way to get a large portion of your audience to contribute while providing some excitement through the anticipation build-up.

Don’t let the fancy name Opportunity Drawing fool you! This is something you are likely familiar with…A Raffle! You will hear both terms used in modern fundraising depending on the legal requirements of your State (Check with your client or legal department for their recommendation.).

First step when outlining your opportunity drawing is to determine the prize format you will be doing. The most common formats we see are

1. Cash Split (IE a 50/50 drawing where the event takes 50% of the proceeds and one lucky winner takes the rest).

2. Grand Prize (IE trip to Mexico or luxury car rental for a week).

3. Multi Prize, Multi Winner - where you have a variety of prizes in a range of values that are distributed amongst multiple random winners.

Step two in your planning process is to determine when and how you will promote ticket sales. A few questions to ask to get you started in formulating this plan are:

· Do you want to sell tickets solely at the event or in advance?

· Who will be selling the tickets? Volunteers? Local Pageant winners? Youth associated with your cause? (Pro-Tip: make sure your sales team is charismatic and not afraid to talk to people. Prep your team with talking points and a pep talk!)

· How will payment be collected? Online platforms? Cash? Credit card transactions accepted?

· How is a purchaser’s “tickets” entered into the “pot”? Are you collecting all entrants in a digital database and using a randomizer to select winners? Are there physical tickets to distribute to the purchaser?

· How can you highlight purchasers in a way that encourages others to buy as well? For example, if you are selling tickets live at an event, provide every purchaser with a glow bracelet or in-theme funky glasses. As time goes by, it will be easy to spot those that haven’t yet purchased, and they will be driven to pull out their wallet and seek out your sales team.

For step three you will outline your process for announcing the winner or winners. Are you going old school and reading off ticket numbers as a crowd checks their corresponding tickets eager for a match? Or are you going to create a suspenseful moment within your program where a grand prize winner gets the glory of taking home the prize? Or are you going to announce the full batch of winners through signage, on-screen graphics or even personal text messages?

Get playful with your opportunity drawing and use it as a tool to get a large portion of your audience engaged and participating in your fundraising strategy. While not everyone who attends your event can take part in the Live Auction or be a jaw-dropping paddle raiser, most everyone should be able to throw their hat in the ring for a chance to win in your drawing. Your price point per ticket might not seem like a big impact but if you are strategic in your goals to get high participation, then your drawing can be an effective tool in bringing in additional dollars towards your goal.

Looking for more information on Silent Auctions, Live Auction, Mini-Live and Super Silents? Check out our post on the Types of Auction Formats.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson

Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!


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