Archive for August, 2010

Advertising Your Raffle

Monday, August 30th, 2010

When planning a raffle intended to be a significant fundraiser, it’s very important to advertise it properly. This is one aspect of running a raffle that many organizers forget or neglect. But if you don’t advertise well, you won’t enjoy the highest level of success. Think about it–if nobody knows about your raffle, how can they buy tickets? Many organizations don’t go beyond word-of-mouth advertising to promote their raffle. This is a great way to get the word out, but you really need to explore some more avenues to earn the most money for your enterprise.

Of course, the methods you use to advertise your raffle will depend on the cause you’re raising money for. For instance, if you’re running a school raffle you’ll probably focus on local channels, whereas for a national non-profit organization, you’d want to use channels that had a much wider audience. So start by thinking of that audience. Who are they, and how do they get their news? Where do they shop? What websites are they likely to visit? By asking yourself these questions, you can get a fairly good idea of where you ought to advertise. Some ideas include:

  • School and community message boards
  • Grocery stores and other local retailers
  • Local radio stations
  • Local television channels
  • Newspapers, local or national
  • Your website
  • Enthusiast websites (e.g. environmental websites if you’re an environmental NPO)
  • Flyers and bumper stickers
  • Email lists

Conducting a Home Raffle

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of news articles about organizations raffling off homes–everything from Brazilian castles to typical suburban single family homes. Now, in the case of a raffle being run by a huge organization or wealthy personality, I have no problem imagining where they got the funds to do such a thing. But I’ve seen a ton of references popping up to smaller non-profits raffling off houses. This peaked my interest, so I started to look into it.

Apparently, in some states individual home owners can work with non-profit organizations to raffle off their houses. The idea is that, if you can’t sell your house on the regular market (presumably because your buyers can’t get mortgages and not because the house is a disaster), rather than selling it off for way less than market value and not being able to pay off your own mortgage you can sell raffle tickets so that both you and the NPO get a good deal.

If you’re interested, you’ll have to look up the laws in your own state. But in general the way it works is that you draw up an agreement with an NPO under which they agree to buy your home from you at appraised value once they have sold a predetermined number of raffle tickets. If they don’t sell enough tickets, the house stays in your hands. But if they do, they buy the house and get to keep an raffle proceeds that exceed that price to fund their organization.

It sounds like a pretty sweet deal, if you can pull it off. Especially in this real estate market. Do you know anyone who’s done it successfully?

Raffles and the Law

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Before you go ahead and start planning your raffle, make sure to look into your state’s gambling laws. I just read an article about a Utah community that was planning to raise money for a new police dog by selling raffle tickets. Unfortunately, they failed to take into account that the state’s strict gambling laws forbade raffles. Now, these folks had the best of intentions. Their county needed a new drug-sniffing dog and this seemed like a harmless way to raise the necessary funds. But the law is the law.

So do a little research before you launch your raffle. In many states, raffles for charities are legally allowed, considered on the same level as state lotteries. In other places, like Utah apparently, they’re a no-go no matter what the cause. The relevant laws are legislated by the state. Simply Google your state and raffle laws. The information is often on the website of the state attorney general, though in some states, like Kentucky, a separate government department may exist to handle charitable gaming laws.

Political Raffle

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Here’s a new one to me. I just read a news article out of Austin Texas about a political candidate who’s trying to use a raffle to glean information about likely Republican voters. The campaign is offering raffle tickets to supporters who submit contact information for voters who might support the campaign. The idea is an innovative one.

Of course, it’s not far off from all of those raffles for cars you see in malls that are run for the sole purpose of getting consumer contact information. An interesting twist is that the campaign is tailoring the prizes to their constituency, hoping to narrow down the type of information that is submitted and weed out random submissions in that way. The prizes include meals with prominent Republicans, a lesson in marksmanship and a calf-roping lesson with a lieutenant-governor.

This could be turned into a good strategy for many organizations hoping to raise money through a raffle. Take a lead from this campaign and customize your prizes to your audience. Say you’re environmental group trying to get the word out about buying locally. Offer prizes like a membership to a CSA, a personal tour of a local farm or a year’s supply of locally-raised, grass fed beef. Not only could you sell more tickets to those who are already interested in your cause, prize winners who are not as familiar with locally grown food will get a first hand experience.