Raffles and the Power of Passion
When I was 13 I became a part of a FIRST Robotics team, a non-profit organization called Vanden Robotics. The goal of the team is to build a robot from scratch over the course of six weeks that can compete in the game of the year. The cost of building, transporting and competing in FIRST can be astronomical without financial assistance. While our team did raise money through sponsors, car washes, and other more conventional methods, one of our most profitable fundraising events was always our annual raffle.
The key to planning a successful raffle is passion. The volunteers must be passionate about the cause they are fundraising for, the participants must be passionate about winning, and the planning staff must be passionate about the success of the raffle as a whole.
My team was fortunate in the sense that all of our volunteers were deeply tied to the cause we were fundraising for. We knew that all the money we raised would be used to help make our team more successful and competitive. This passion for our cause made us better salespeople, we were comfortable approaching our family, friends, and even strangers to share with them our love of FIRST in the hopes that they would love the idea and want to support it.
Regardless of who is fundraising or what they are raising money for, a sense of passion and a clear knowledge of their project is a major draw to those looking to participate. From my years selling raffle tickets, I can honestly say that for most people the major appeal in purchasing a ticket was in supporting the cause, the prize was just a bonus.
Most people who buy tickets recognize that the odds of winning are not always in their favor, but nothing catches a potential purchasers attention quite like the idea of winning a fantastic prize for the cost of one ticket.
The passion for the prize is what motivates people to purchase one ticket or even multiple tickets if your prize is particularly appealing. In this arena it is important to know to whom you are going to be selling to. In the case of my FIRST team we raffled an iPad, it is a prize that appeals to both the young and older crowds and doesn’t alienate those who are not tech savvy.
On a less glamorous level we appealed to people with a prize of tax deductions, as a 501 (c) 3 organization any donations to our cause (which the purchase of a raffle ticket is considered) are tax deductible.
The most important element of planning a raffle is having a team of planners who are passionate about the success of the project. If those who are responsible for planning the raffle take the appropriate steps to ensure that great prizes are purchased, that their volunteers are hyped about what they are doing, and that the location of ticket sales is appropriate both for their cause and for what they are raffling it is hard to go wrong.
Vanden Robotics was lucky to have a dedicated group of parents and teachers who worked hard to make sure that our raffle was successful, fun and professional. There are a lot of wonderful people out in the world who are just waiting for the right cause to contribute to, and with the right amount of hard work and a lot of passion it is possible to convince them that your raffle is it.