A raffle can be a nice boost to the bottom line for your non-profit fundraising event. Raffles make particular sense at silent auctions because people come with money to spend, and often wait around until the raffle winner is announced, meaning they will have more time to view and bid on items. They can also be used at low and mid-level fundraising events and dinners, but normally are not appropriate for high-dollar balls and galas.
Before adding a raffle to your event, double check that raffles are legal for non-profits in your area. If they are, choose attractive items that get donated for the event to use in the raffle, or purchase them at a reasonable price. I have found it works best to have at least two raffle prizes (a grand prize and a first prize) or, better yet, three prizes (grand prize, first prize, second prize).
Try to find items for the raffle that are large enough that you can sell raffle tickets for at least $5 / ea. I like to be able to offer tickets for either $5 each / 3 for $12, or $10 each / 3 for $25. Some high-end raffles may feature tickets in the $25 – $100 range.
Here are four tips for increasing the revenue you bring in with your raffle add-on:
#1: Accept Cash, Checks and Credit Cards
I suggest that your non-profit be prepared to accept cash, checks and credit cards as payment for raffle tickets. In my personal experience, raffles that accept major credit cards sell 10-20% more raffle tickets as people who left their cash at home can easily take a chance on winning. Make sure to advertise the fact that you are accepting credit cards at the raffle table through signage and announcements from the podium.
#2: Display the Items, When Possible
Nothing gets people salivating over the possibility of winning an item more than being able to see the item right in front of them as they purchase chances. Whenever possible, create a nice display with the items that may be won so that event attendees can easily see them.
#3: Be Visible
I’ve seen far too many non-profits that hold fundraising events, add a raffle, tuck the raffle table out of the way in a corner of the event venue and then wonder why they didn’t sell as many chances as they thought they would. Don’t make this mistake. If you’re going to be holding a raffle, you might as well try to sell as many tickets as possible. Place your raffle table front and center as people are coming in to the event hall. Have huge signs printed up touting the raffle and noting the prizes. Be sure people can find your raffle table easily.
This goes hand in hand with being visible. In order to raise as much as possible, train your staff and volunteers to really sell the tickets. This means encouraging guests who are only buying one ticket to buy two or three, sending staff members roving from table to table selling tickets, and ensuring that the emcee makes several announcements about the raffle from the podium. Don’t be pushy, but do sell.
As with all things in fundraising, if you’re going to take the time and energy to hold a raffle, you might as well do it right. Be sure to make your raffle a priority, and get people excited about buying tickets and finding out who won.
Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz