A Raffle is a Great Way to Raise Funds for a Good Cause
A raffle is a great way to raise funds for a good cause. They require less manpower than other fundraising methods, have a high potential for returns, and can be done at relatively low cost, especially if you get a sponsor or donation. A non-profit can benefit even further by using employing a Chinese auction, a variant of the traditional raffle. With many small giveaways instead of one large prize, it encourages more ticket sales and provides the opportunity for more sponsors to give their support. With some understanding of human nature, you can motivate ticket sales even further.
If you’ve been to the northeast, you may have taken part in a Chinese auction. It operates like a silent auction, where multiple prizes set out, each with their own hat. Unlike a silent auction, participants buy a bundle of tickets, and bid by casting their tickets. Speaking from firsthand experience of hosting these, they tend to capitalize on a normal raffle’s best aspects. A raffle’s ability to generate revenue hinges on the willingness of multiple people to enter. With a chance of just one out of many tickets to be drawn, participants will be motivated to increase that chance by buying as many tickets as they can. In a Chinese auction, the multiple prizes will encourage participants buy even more. The prizes may be more suited to someone’s personal preference, and they may want it enough they’ll spend more on tickets towards it than towards one big item. They may also feel they have less competition for a single item, and put more towards it. If numerous prizes catch someone’s eye, they may go back for tickets so that they aren’t too spread out between multiple hats. Unlike silent auctions, you receive sales from everyone not just the winner, so it is imperative you get as many participants as possible.
To reach a wider audience, you may consider holding your raffle along with another event, such as a benefit dinner. Anyone at the event who may not have considered participating might be influenced to at the last minute. Finally, you could take a page from casinos and set up your venue to subtly influence people to spend more. They use environmental factors to their advantage; studies of casinos found “people will gamble and stake money more under red light”; pleasant aromas attract people to slot machines; making the layout maze-like makes people walk through the entire area and increases play. While you may not go so far, you can apply some of these principles. Layout your prizes so that participants browse through all of them; make sure to draw as much attention to prizes as you can; while casinos give constant reminders to have fun and keep playing, you should have constant reminders of the cause you’re supporting.
Instead of having to ask sponsors for a larger donation, Chinese auctions allow you to procure small, inexpensive prizes. It might take a few more phone calls to get many sponsorships from various companies, but it saves the trouble of finding one who will give a large sponsorship. Business are more likely to give a small gift card or basket, for example, than a new car. Even if you have to supplement some prizes out-of-pocket, you will incur much lower costs. You could also get donations from individual members of the community. You could take unwanted antiques, collectibles, and furniture in good condition, or even use home-baked goods as a prize. Your options are much wider with a Chinese auction. The additional sponsors will also bring extra exposure to your cause. You could build a rapport from the raffle, and attain their support for future events.
An effective way to motivate volunteers to sell tickets is simply to remind them the purpose of the event. Find people in the community who are passionate about your cause. Show them what the money is going towards (this, of course, also applies to buying tickets). Another good way to increase motivation of sellers and buyers is to hype your event up. Advertise at least a month before, through every medium you can. An inexpensive way to do this is to take to social media. Get volunteers to speak excitedly about the event to their friends. According to psychology, if they act excited, they will become excited, and believe more fervently in supporting the cause. To make them want to sell more, you could have a few hats reserved for volunteers, and award them tickets based on the amount they sold. For example, they would get a ticket for each 10 they sell. Overall, make it fun. Play music. Set a goal and draw your progress on a ridiculously oversized meter. Make your raffle a party. For inspiration, look to the volunteers who dressed as superheroes and danced to draw crowds. If you make it fun, not only will people give more at this event, they will remember your organization and look forward to future fundraisers.