An excited crowd is gathered together, watching the two smiling faces on the stage. A shiny raffle ticket drum spins and slowly comes to a stop. One of the announcers reaches in and pulls out a ticket. THE winning ticket. Whose name will they call?
To raffle ticket holders and everyone at the drawing event, a raffle’s success is in the winning ticket. However, behind the scenes, for the organization putting on the raffle, it is defined much differently.
A successful raffle fundraiser—
- Complies with state and local gambling regulations
- Meets the fundraising goal with the net ticket proceeds
Just two keys to a successful raffle? Yes, but of course the devil is in the details as they say!
To cover the first key, complying with state and local gambling regulations, first check with state raffle laws. There’s no one US federal law that applies the same regulations to the entire country. Raffle regulations, like other forms of gambling, are controlled by the states.
Raffle Secrets has an entire chapter on legal issues. It includes a checklist to use when contacting the state attorney general, how to write the raffle guidelines, and ideas for getting help with planning your raffle. Beyond contacting your governing authorities, many of the legal questions can be answered in step one in this book.
Beyond making sure that it’s legal, the most important aspect of having a successful raffle is that it meets the fundraising goal with the net ticket proceeds.
Five essential elements for a successful raffle fundraiser
While it may seem like selling tickets and selecting a winner are the obvious parts of a raffle fundraiser, there are other key aspects to consider. These five elements are critical to the success of a raffle fundraiser—
- Ticket sales. Your fundraising goal is the net proceeds from ticket sales. Balance your ticket price and the quantity of tickets to be sold with the costs of services, administrative costs, and advertising to make sure you can meet your goals.
- A desirable prize or prizes. Be sure to select a prize or prizes that your audience would be excited about winning. Whether large or small, stick to prizes with a universal appeal.
- An audience who is willing and able to buy tickets. Obviously, your raffle will be a failure if no one buys your tickets. Like with any other fundraiser, take a good look at your audience. Be sure your audience approves of this type of gambling, has money to spend, and can afford your ticket price.
- Staff and volunteers to sell the tickets. Ticket sales drive the raffle, so be sure you have enough willing people to sell the amount of tickets needed to meet your fundraising goal in time for the event.
- A location for the ticket draw event. A raffle ticket drawing can be its own event, but you can combine promotion efforts and venue expenses by making the drawing part of an annual gala or dinner, the county fair, or other regularly scheduled community event. Having these extra people in attendance may increase last minute ticket sales, and a public drawing held in front of a larger audience will diminish doubts that the winner was fairly drawn.
Each of these are absolutely essential to having a successful raffle.
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