Whether you run a raffle in conjunction with a fundraising event, or as a stand-alone effort, the key to successful ticket sales is quality prizes. Of course, you can always offer cash prizes, but you should be able to secure in-kind donations for your prizes so the money from ticket sales can go entirely to mission. To do this, be sure to give yourself plenty of time (3-6 months) to submit donation requests and secure your prizes before you want to start promoting the drawing.
For a Chinese raffle, it’s nice to have an array of items available and they should range in size/price. Approach local businesses; many will donate gift cards or other items that can be combined to create attractive baskets. Think about what will be appealing to your audience and then seek out business that might be willing to donate components of the basket. Don’t be afraid to ask for specific items. And be sure to promote the businesses that support you by recognizing them in the basket description and promoting their logos or business names on your website or in other materials. Follow up with a thank you note and let them know how much you raised.
Here are some easy and popular basket ideas for your next raffle. Don’t forget to assign fun/clever names as part of your packaging.
- Gourmet popcorn + movie tickets + restaurant gift card
- Fruit, wine & cheese in an attractive picnic basket with a blanket
- Golf accessories and passes for a round of golf at a local course
- Tickets to a baseball game, a glove, a hat, a bag of peanuts
Gift Cards & Merchandise
If you’ve tapped out local resources, think nationally. A lot of brands honor requests for in-kind donations through a corporate responsibility program. Here are just a few:
Brooks Brothers: https://brooksbrotherscorporate.requestitem.com/
Lbrands (Limited, Victoria’s Secret, etc.): http://www.lb.com/responsibility/community/request_support/request_donation.aspx
Running a traditional raffle calls for fewer donations, but they should be much higher value so you can demand higher ticket prices. Travel is always a good grand prize.
You can ask your board or other constituents to donate a week at a time share or vacation home. Often people are happy to donate access for the sake of your cause. If they have questions about the tax deductibility of this donation, be sure to have them consult an accountant and/or review IRS rules regarding charitable contribution of partial interest in property.
There is also a wide range of corporations that routinely accept donation requests, so explore all available options. The number of requests fulfilled is limited, so submit as many donation requests as you can. Be sure to review the terms before submitting a request to be sure your organization falls within the guidelines prescribed by the company.
Hotels / Resorts
Intercontinental Hotels Group: http://www.ihgplc.com/index.asp?pageid=826
PGA Resorts: http://www.pgaresort.com/donations
Carnival Cruise Lines: http://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/carnival-foundation/apply.aspx
Airlines & Car Rental
Hawaiian Airlines: https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/employee/pages/giving/index.aspx
Alaska Airlines: https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/employee/pages/giving/index.aspx
Depending upon your audience, sports memorabilia can be an enticing prize. Many teams support nonprofit organizations in their general geographic region, so look for teams that are near you.
If you have professional sports teams in your area, ask them for autographed merchandise. They all have rooms full of autographed items for just this purpose. Typically, you need to ask at least 6 weeks in advance of your event will need to provide some proof of your charitable status and the intended use of the requested item(s). Most have online forms that you can use to submit your request.
Universities – If there is a university near you, it may supply branded promotional giveaways or other items in response to donation requests. Typically, they accept a limited number of requests of the course of a fiscal year, so submitting your request as close as possible to the start of a new fiscal year is a good idea. (Fiscal year starts July 1st)
Hey Buckeyes – every year, OSU football fulfills a limited number of requests for balls signed by the head coach: http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/community/donations.html
Once you have secured and packaged an attractive prize, the next step is to develop a strategy for pricing and selling raffle tickets. Increasingly, organizations are selling raffle tickets online to reach a broader audience and reduce the administration. Do you ask board members, volunteers, staff and others to sell tickets on your behalf? Do you manually track the number of tickets each person has sold? Do you find yourself struggling to keep track of checks and cash? Even if you continue your offline sales, it might be time to consider promoting your raffle online as well.
Read a short CASE STUDY to learn how Saint Ignatius High School dramatically increased raffle revenue and reduced administration.
CONTACT US to set up a private demo and learn more about how Big River can support your raffle.