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Raffle Prize Ideas for Fundraisers

2014 April 10
by Raffle Tickets

A well-run raffle with the right grand prize can raise incredible amounts of money for your school, church, or charity. Most groups underestimate how much money a raffle can raise.

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You can easily raise ten thousand with a simple raffle, tens of thousands with a desirable prize such as a new car, and hundreds of thousands of dollars with a truly deluxe prize such as a new home.

Cash prizes

From the late-1700s to the early 1900s, many public buildings and university expansions were funded by raffles. The raffle prize was always cash and the raffles always sold out all their chances.

Cash prizes allow people to dream of what they’d do with the cash if they won. Cash awards work best when ticket prices are fairly low and the grand prize is a significant multiple of ticket cost.

For instance, when you have a $10 ticket price, a $10,000 cash prize is a huge draw. Having lots of additional chances to win smaller cash prizes is another great raffle ticket sales incentive.

The most popular cash raffles combine low-priced tickets with a significant cash prize and several tiers of smaller cash prizes. Total cash awards should always be less than 50% of total ticket revenue.

Luxury prizes

Physical prizes that match the ticket buyers “wants” also do well. Vacation getaways, restaurant gift certificates, spa treatments, and other items with a luxury feel also work well as prizes.

And don’t forget prizes aimed at men such as sporting event tickets, sports memorabilia, golf-related gifts, and anything that goes fast or makes lots of noise are also good draws for ticket buyers.

You can combine luxury prizes with cash prizes or you can do raffle where all prizes consist of luxury items. Because some people will not want the luxury prize, you should always promote your raffle as offering an alternate cash value prize for any item offered.

Another option instead of offering a $10,000 first prize plus five $1,000 cash prizes, would be to switch the secondary cash prizes for things like a big screen TV, vacation packages, stereo system, Omaha steaks, etc. This type of combo raffle has widespread appeal.

Dream prizes

And the lure of “dream” prizes such as a new car or even a new house can’t be underestimated. It is a powerful emotional draw that really creates an urge to buy a ticket on the spot, and that emotional trigger is what you want in a big prize.

With dream prizes, more tickets will need to be sold with ticket prices correspondingly higher. A new car raffle might have tickets priced anywhere from $20 to $100, depending on how many tickets were being sold and the value of the vehicle.

A good rule of thumb is to keep ticket prices low enough to have widespread appeal without having to sell so many tickets that your volunteers run out of energy and prospects.

Prize costs

Obviously, you would love to have a dream prize such as a house or a car donated to your group, but that’s neither realistic or necessary. Obtaining a good discount is all you need to focus on since any discount directly translates into extra profits.

As with a cash raffle, keep your prize costs under 50% of total ticket sales. The larger the grand prize, the smaller the percentage can be.

For example, a car being raffled can have it’s MSRP pegged at 40% of total ticket revenue. With a good discount, your profit could end up at 67% of total revenue. A house being raffled can be positioned with it’s appraised value at 33% of total ticket sales.

How much can you raise?

Raffle profits vary wildly across the different prize categories. You can easily raise $10,000 with a cash raffle or one offering luxury prizes. When cash raffles are tied to well-publicized events like a golf ball drop, profits can easily exceed $25,000.

Car raffles will raise that much and more, depending on the desirability of the car being raffled, the ticket pricing and the overall ticket sales volume.

Raffling a new home can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve even seen a group make several million dollars by raffling a luxury beach home. They sold 32,000 tickets at $150 each, grossing $4.8 million for a house appraised at $1.8 million.

Now that’s a raffle!


There is no single best raffle prize. Your choice of prize or prizes will vary depending on your financial goal, the size of your potential market, and how many volunteers you have to sell tickets.

Bigger prizes mean more tickets must be sold to turn a profit, but they also mean substantially higher profits. Design your raffle prize offerings to match your community’s tastes and always offer alternate cash awards in lieu of any physical prize.

Kimberly Reynolds writes for national publications about non-profit fundraisers, fundraising raffle prizes, and church fundraiser events. Find more school fundraiser tips on her website,

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