Archive for May, 2011

Raffle Prize Ideas Under $25

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Raffle prizes don’t have to be expensive. Yes, it’s fantastic if you can afford to raffle off a car, a house or a large amount of cash. But there are plenty of great prize ideas for every raffle budget. This is the first in a series of posts giving suggestions for raffle prizes for specific budgets. Here are some great suggestions for prizes under $25:

  • Movie Tickets–A pair of tickets to a nearby movie theater makes a great raffle prize. Offer tickets to a specific movie if you know your audience well enough or buy an open-ended pass that the winner can use to see a movie of his choice.
  • DVD–If you choose a DVD for a prize, the winner can continue to enjoy it year after year. To make the prize feel a little more substantial, throw in some candy or microwave popcorn.
  • Gift Certificates–You can raffle gift certificates to restaurants, stores or local attractions. When choosing among your options, make sure that the amount you put on the card will buy the winner something substantial. In other words, don’t raffle off a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant that charges $40 for an entree.
  • Toys–Toys are a particularly good prize if your raising money for anything having to do with kids. They’re also particularly attractive to ticket buyers around the holidays. Find out what the latest fads are (silly bands were popular recently) and tempt those parents!
  • Books–Books can be expensive these days, so if you buy new you may only be able to offer one and still keep the price under $25. However, you can often find second-hand books that look just like new at used book stores or online. Choose a theme and offer a few as a package.
  • Alcohol–Most adults would enjoy a good bottle of wine, beer or liquor as a prize. You can get a very nice bottle of domestic wine for under $25, almost any six pack of beer and many bottles of spirits.

Whatever prize you choose, don’t forget that frequently businesses are willing to donate to a good cause. It doesn’t hurt to ask before shelling out the cash. If someone does donate, don’t forget to give them credit on your raffle tickets!

Good Record Keeping: Key to Raffle Success

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

We can’t stress enough how important good record keeping is to running a successful raffle. This is especially important if you’re running a fairly sizable event and so have many tickets and many ticket sellers. If you don’t keep careful track of things, you can quickly find yourself in an awkward position with unpaid-for tickets, misplaced money and unhappy ticket holders. Here are a few tips on keeping things organized.

  1. Buy numbered raffle tickets. That way you can record which tickets you give to which sellers, and they can even keep track of who they sell to.
  2. Make sure you have a solid system for money collection in place. Even the most well-intentioned volunteer seller can forget to turn in money or lose an envelope if you don’t.
  3. Hold a kickoff meeting with your sellers to make sure they know all the rules and prices for the raffle. If they’re confused, your ticket buyers will be, too.
  4. Make sure sellers turn in all unsold raffle tickets when it comes time for the raffle drawing. Make sure that the money you’ve collected is in line with the number of tickets sold.

Taxes on Raffle Prizes

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

So that $5 raffle ticket really paid off and you’ve won a really valuable raffle prize—money, a car, a house. Congratulations! However, be aware that that raffle prize can bite you in the rear come tax time if you haven’t accounted for it. Believe it or not, raffle prizes are taxable, and when the prize is a big one, the amount you owe can come as quite a surprise.

Now we certainly don’t mean to rain on your parade. We want you to enjoy that prize to the fullest! But the best way to do that is by being fully aware of all the financial implications from the start. Otherwise that parade is likely to end in a thunderstorm come April. Money and prizes won through raffles count as gambling proceeds and must be reported on Form 1040. Of course, sometimes organizations will pay the taxes due as part of a prize, in which case, you’re in luck!

Why Do Raffles Work?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Raffles are a very simple thing, really. One person pays another person money to gain the possibility of obtaining a prize. But why does this work? Why would anyone ever give good money just for the CHANCE to receive something in return, when you’re guaranteed to obtain something for that same money if you take it to a store? There are at least two strong desires that motivate people to spend money on raffle tickets: a desire to beat the system and a desire for excitement.

First, almost everyone relishes the idea of beating the system. The possibility of getting more than you pay for is hugely attractive people and is the motivation behind many behaviors. People will stand in line overnight to win free food at a Chick-fil-A. Others will buy products that they have no use for just because they have a fantastic coupon in hand. The same motivation sometimes drives people to buy raffle tickets. They’ll gladly pay $10 for a one-in-a-million chance at winning a new house, even though they know they’ll probably never see a return on that money. Just the possibility of getting a house for $10 is overwhelmingly exciting.

And that brings us to reason number two for why raffles work: excitement. The truth is that a lot of people find life very mundane. There’s nothing exciting about going to the store and paying $100 for a vacuum cleaner. But turn that same vacuum cleaner into a raffle prize and add the suspense of having to win it, all of a sudden it’s a lot more interesting. Plus, when you do win, you feel special—like you’ve somehow beaten everyone else.