Hosting a Raffle: One Step at a Time
There is a sense of childlike excitement that comes along with some experiences: watching an eclipse, popping bubble wrap, playing with Play Dough. One experience that we unfortunately seem to get less of as we age is that sense of fun anticipation when you hold a raffle ticket in your hand and listen as the winner is announced. A good raffle is one of the few occurrences that can completely silence a rowdy crowd and draw everyone’s eyes to one spot. That bated breath, intense repetition of your own number, and that wave of pure joy as every number is announced, discovering that you have not yet been eliminated from the competition. Groups tend to overlook this option in favor of other types of fundraisers. There is a common misunderstanding that raffles are too difficult to organize. However, I have learned through my own experience that with a bit of perseverance and a willingness to socialize, this can be one of the best ways to draw in crowds and keep the audience excited throughout the entire event.
There are two primary approaches to running a raffle: the quantity approach or the quality approach. When both overlap, everything is golden’ however, they do not have to. Of course, having two amazing prizes will get people buying tickets, but part of the joy is not the prize, but the process of the raffle itself. Even if the raffle includes a trip to Tahiti or a free miniature pony, organizations should look into getting an assortment of smaller prizes. These can be services such as a massage or physical goods. These work especially well when they relate to the organization, such as having a box of chew toys donated from the local PetCo for a shelter’s benefit or a painting of a mother and child for a children’s nonprofit. People should be attending the event for a reason. Alongside good people and a wonderful cause, prizes associated with the organization are a good way to get people interested. If the event has additional entertainment or is something like a gala, fewer prizes may be useful so that it does not disturb the flow of the event; however, picnics, parties, and other general get-togethers could benefit from having a raffle, or even multiple raffles throughout the event. Having a few raffles with different priced tickets depending on the quality of the prizes would increase ticket sales because people would want to put a few tickets in each raffle. The first could be goods from local companies, such as homemade soaps or other donated goods; the raffle later in the day could include luxuries such as massages or little stay-cation excursions. The last would be the grand prize. This could lead to greater event participation, people staying the course of the entire event, and even more excitement as people hold their breath listening for one of their tickets to be announced.
Those who are volunteering will hopefully already feel driven to sell tickets, but this is not always the case because it sometimes feels uncomfortable soliciting friends and family to spend money. This is why the content of the raffle is so important. It should never feel the money put in is going to waste. Rather, it should be a win-win situation: the prizes are good enough that winning will feel like a victory, but the organization is additionally good enough that losing the raffle will still yield positive results. Motivation can also come through marketing a phenomenal event. By making it seem fun using flyers and social media, volunteers will be excited to show that they are associated with the event. If word is already spreading, then all the volunteers will naturally compete to seem like they are the cool kid on the block, doing the most to help. Motivation can also come in the form of incentive. This could be having an additional massage for the winner or even something cute and small like putting them in a newsletter or having the president bake them a batch of cookies. Every person – from CEO to volunteer – should feel important, so having a small gift for those who work to spread the word and sell raffle tickets can be extraordinarily beneficial for overall morale.
Hosting a raffle is not an impossible goal; rather, it must be taken on one step at a time. With some patience, community support, and a drive to create a fun event, a raffle can be created and can draw in anyone with an interest in the organization as well as anyone eager to win those awesome prizes! Not only can a raffle significantly increase attendance and funds at an event, but it brings childlike excitement to everyone who attends. Nonprofits are already working to make the world a better place; this is a way to help these groups while also spreading the joy to everyone who helps along the way.