I recently had the chance to work with a non-profit that holds a major fundraising event each year. This organization raises a significant amount from this event (well over 6 figures annually). Like many non-profits, this organization focuses on sponsorships and ticket revenue to raise money from the event, but also includes a silent auction and raffle to round out the event income.
My goal in working with this organization was to help them dramatically increase their event revenue for this annual gala by maximizing the amount they raised from each of the four event revenue streams (sponsorships, ticket sales, silent auction and raffle). We were successful in supercharging each area of the event.
Today, I want to share with you the three things we did that allowed us to double the revenue from just one small portion of the event: the raffle. Here’s what we did to double the amount the raffle raised this past year… my experience tells me that these three things would probably work for your non-profit’s next raffle as well.
#1 – Sell Raffle Tickets as an “Add-On” On the Event Invitation
The first thing we did was to add a small check off box on the event invitation that allowed people to buy raffle tickets as they were buying their event tickets. After people wrote down the number of people who were attending the event, they could fill in a small line that simply said:
I want to purchase ___ tickets for this year’s Super-Technology Raffle ($25 per ticket, 5 for $100)- Your raffle tickets will be sent to you via e-mail, along with your event tickets.
We did not offer any discount for purchasing raffle tickets early, but many non-profits have had success offering a small discount for early purchase. (For example, we could have offered raffle tickets for $20 per ticket when purchased with event tickets, instead of the regular price of $25).
A significant number of our supporters purchased raffle tickets along with their event tickets. Many of these donors also purchased raffle tickets at the event, in addition to those they purchased through the event invitations.
#2 – Accept Credit Cards at the Raffle Table
Lots of non-profits are set up the accept credit cards at the event registration table and at the silent auction check out table, but don’t accept credit cards at the raffle table, or make donors wishing to purchase raffle tickets with plastic go over to the registration table to do so. This is a huge mistake. If you don’t accept credit cards right at the raffle table, you’re leaving money on the table.
The non-profit I was working with ordered an extra credit card swipe machine, and used it to accept credit cards at the raffle table. This was the first time they had done so, and dozens of patrons used credit cards to purchase raffle tickets at the event – many of these were “impulse buyers” who would not have had the cash on hand to buy 1,2, or 5 raffle tickets at the event, had we not accepted plastic.
#3 – Introduce a Fun “Brand” for the Raffle
Our theme for this raffle was “Super-Technology,” and the raffle offered some high end tech items like iPads, Kindles and Roombas. Each year, the event raffle had a theme, but this year, we went all out with the raffle brand to make it stand out at the event.
To complement our high-tech brand, the group of young staffers who were manning the raffle table dressed like the “Geek Squad,” in black pants, white dress shirts, black skinny ties and fake thick-rimmed black glasses. The Geek Squad took some of the high tech items out onto the event floor to let people see the items and to encourage people to come over and buy raffle tickets.
The Squad visited every table at the event and played up the geek angle, having a ton of fun in the process and really building buzz around the raffle.
The results were astounding, to say the least. Using these three tactics, the organization’s annual event raffle, which was already a big hit and raised a significant amount each year, doubled in revenue this year, helping to make this year’s event the best fundraising gala in the organization’s history.
How can your non-profit use these strategies to double raffle revenue at your next fundraising event?
Photo Credit: Alyson Hurt