Archive for September, 2010

Earning Raffle Tickets

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The political raffle I wrote about back in August got me thinking about other ways for people to earn raffle tickets rather than buying them. No one ever said that a raffle ticket needs to be given in exchange for cash. For that political raffle, people earned raffle tickets by handing in names of prospective voters. What other types of effort or information might be worth offering raffle tickets for?

It occurred to me that sometimes more than money, non-profits and other organizations need man-hours. For example, do you have a community garden project that you’re trying to get going, but just don’t have enough people working on it to get underway? Offer raffle tickets in exchange for a certain amount of work. The prize could be garden tools, produce from the garden, seeds, or something completely unrelated. Or does your company need market research information? Offer raffle tickets to people who fill out surveys for you.

Fertility Raffle

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Just read this article about a couple who won a round of fertility treatments through a raffle. Not only that, but they conceived and now have a beautiful baby boy. Can you imagine the story they’ll have to tell that kid of his birth? Or better yet, how he as a small child will translate that story to friends? “Yeah, my mommy and daddy actually won me in a raffle.”

Raffling medical treatments strikes me a little funny. Just imagine the concept in another situation. A charity raffles off the money to pay for chemo treatments. Seems a bit cruel, doesn’t it? Great for the person who wins, but raffles have a lot of losers…. Of course, I don’t think raffling IVF treatments is likely to prove a forerunner to anything like that. But it does make me think about the fact that when choosing creative raffle prizes, one must always consider the implications.

Raffling Off the President

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Well, not strictly speaking. As far as I’m aware, the President will be staying snugly ensconced in his current domicile. But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) are raffling off a chance to meet President Barack Obama. I’d say this one-ups the calf-roping lesson with the lieutenant governor I wrote about last month. Also included in the prize ticket is the opportunity to watch a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. All you have to do is donate to the campaign before midnight tonight.

By this maneuver, the campaign gets not only your money, but also your contact information. I’d be curious to see how this tactic works for the DSCC. Will they get more small donors than usual? I can hardly think this raffle would tempt anyone into a large donation they did not otherwise intend to make. But again it does help them get contact info. A perfect time for another reminder that it’s always important to know your goals when throwing a raffle. It can be much more than a fundraiser. It’s a great three-in-one device for getting money, phone numbers and raising awareness for a cause. Keep that in mind when designing both your raffle tickets and your publicity campaign.

Get Creative with Raffle Prizes

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

When planning your raffle, don’t be afraid to get creative with the prizes. Many small organizations limit themselves to the small prizes that everyone expects–gift certificates, gourmet baskets, electronics, power tools and other such items. However, the more creatively you can think for your prizes, the more interest, hype and money your raffle will draw. Selecting the prizes for your raffle is a great opportunity to think outside the box. Ask yourself a series of questions as you think up your raffle prizes: What unique services do people involved have to offer? What kind of interesting packages could we put together? Who do I know that might be willing to make a donation of time? What kind of open-ended prizes could we offer?

Such questions will lead your thinking away from more traditional, tangible prizes that ticket buyers could simply purchase for themselves. If you’re having trouble getting started with this type of creative thinking, run a Google search to see what types of prizes other organizations have offered. If you do a news search, you’ll come across some of the more intriguing ideas that have come up recently. While many of the prizes that make the news may be too expensive for your organization to offer, think about how you might scale them down. For instance, I just saw a news article talking about a raffle that’s offering an all-expense-paid trip to Oktoberfest in Munich. This is a grand prize indeed, but a smaller organization could offer something more local. How about a trip to a nearby state park, with transportation, meals and a guided tour included?

In the end, any kind of value-added prize will prove much more of a draw than something you’ve simply bought at the store. The more unique a raffle prize is, the more attractive it will be. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Guided tours
  • All-expenses-paid outings
  • Service-oriented prizes (a day of housecleaning or landscaping)
  • Customizable prizes (the opportunity to commission artwork or a gift certificate to the restaurant of the winner’s choosing)
  • Unique opportunities (a day with a local celebrity or the chance to fly a plane)