Winning With a Raffle Fundraiser
One buys a ticket, perhaps two or more, the precise amount being proportional to the strength of one’s conscience, of one’s desire for a prize, of a volunteer’s badgering, or a combination thereof, and one later waits in eager anticipation whilst the tickets are drawn, earnestly hoping that the numbers selected will match those of the ticket(s) bought so that one can be a lucky winner of one of the lovely incentives X organization has decided to offer in order to raise funds for its charitable services.
On one level, one wins or one loses, but either way, the organization wins in gaining money for its various needs, and the customer of the raffle ticket(s) wins the privilege of going home with the moral satisfaction that he or she gave to a noble cause, possibly also with the satisfaction of winning a prize that draws the envy of the neighbors. The organization raises hundreds of dollars, and everyone is happy. That’s how a raffle works… So goes the ideal, at least. Unfortunately, in reality, raffles often suffer certain shortcomings that detract from their functioning smoothly and effectively.
One very common mistake that groups like youth organizations make in holding raffles is not giving them enough visibility. The ability of a raffle to attract attention is key — successful raffles are advertised well and boldly; they should be at the forefront of attention. Booths should not be placed in an inaccessible corner of a room, and more active advertising (i.e. having volunteers post fliers around town) is also definitely a good idea. As one might easily intuit, people need to be aware of the raffle if even the possibility of raising money is to exist.
By extension, the more people are aware of the raffle, the more potential there is for funds to be raised. Further, the significance of visibility also applies to prizes. Buyers should be made clearly aware of raffle prizes. If the raffle has a physical booth, then having prizes displayed attractively near it may be a good idea, if feasible. People are more likely to enter a raffle if they are well enticed.
However, in informing potential customers about the raffle, it is also important to emphasize and remind them of the benevolence of the cause to which they are contributing.
In fact, it is important to remind buyers of the fact that they are contributing to a worthy cause at all. Raffles that make the frequent mistake of placing emphasis only on their prizes don’t reach their full potential. Remember that people who buy raffle tickets generally are not buying them only to win a prize — that is only part of the picture. They realize their ticket only gives them a chance at winning material incentives. If the prize was really all they wanted, they would simply go and purchase the item on their own. People typically buy raffle tickets, at least in part, to support organizations; thus, it is important not to neglect underscoring this aspect when marketing raffle tickets to potential buyers.
To motivate volunteers to do a good job at advertising and selling raffle tickets in the first place, though, it is helpful to offer them incentives of their own. Many catalog-based fundraisers offer participants prizes in exchange for their selling certain amounts of merchandise. Such prizes range from candy to toys. This principle could easily be adapted for volunteers of raffle fundraisers.
Certainly, the age of the volunteers should be a factor to consider for this, as well as the budget of the organization in question. Nonetheless, it is helpful to award volunteers in some way for their work and motivate them to work even harder. Incentives for volunteers can even encompass gift cards, special parties, and raises in rank, if there is a hierarchy in place. It is also important, more generally, to foster a sense of community and personal involvement amongst volunteers. This can be done through frequent communication. The opinions of volunteers should honestly be considered, and their feedback should be taken seriously. This all owes to the simple rule that volunteers who are personally invested in their work are bound to put more into their efforts than volunteers who work halfheartedly.
As far as prizes go, another tip that helps in creating a successful raffle is to keep incentives appealing to as many people possible in the target audience. For instance, if customers of raffle tickets are likely to be of any gender, as they usually are, find prizes that make gender irrelevant. Items like a basket of toiletries would therefore probably not be optimal for such a demographic. Age is also another consideration — if targeting the raffle towards people who are or have children, it is a good idea to include prizes like children’s art supplies or stuffed animals. Simply stated, the key is to match prizes to customers of raffle tickets. People often avoid buying tickets for raffles in which prizes are useless or unappealing to them, which makes sense — who would want to win such a raffle and have to hoard something, whether it was basically free or not, only to see it collect dust and re-gift it to an unfortunate friend or family member?
Nevertheless, there are certain prizes that are a safe bet for any group. Electronics like music players, laptops, and tablets appeal to a wide range of people. They are utilitarian and can find a place in almost anyone’s life, so they are likely to draw in more participation. Another widely appealing prize is an automobile, if the budget of the organization allows. A new, better means of transport is a welcome thing for many families and individuals. A less expensive yet also popular prize is food. Homemade desserts, well-cooked main dishes, even a basket of snack foods are all choices that appeal to many people, as there is, of course, not a single person who does not eat. Specifics aside, however, the simple key is to increase appeal.