Archive for the ‘Non Profit Fundraising’ Category

Cow Chip Raffle

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Oh, in my posts on raffle twists, how could I have forgotten the time-honored cow chip raffle? Running across this article this weekend reminded me of this unique way of picking raffle winners. The middle school I attended used to hold one of these yearly. Basically, the raffle organization paints a grid on a big field, numbering each space in the grid and selling tickets with corresponding numbers. Then you simply let some well-fed cows loose on the field, and voila! They choose your raffle winners for you by their own natural processes.

This is just another example of how creative you can get with your process for choosing raffle winners. Come up with some innovative way of picking a winner, tying the method to the organization you’re raising funds for. If you’re an agricultural or animal rights organization, the cow chip raffle’s a great choice.

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.

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.

My Favorite Raffle Prize

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

The is this amazing raffle that goes on every year in the area where I live.  It is thrown by a hospital to raise money for their children cancer ward.  It is amazing how many people participate in this raffle and the prize is incredible.  They buy a dream house in a highly desirable neighborhood and raffle it off for $100 a ticket.  It is quite the hot ticket item around here.

My husband and I enter the raffle every year.  Not only are we happy to do it because it goes to a wonderful cause, it is also a fantastic prize to win.  I mean, who doesn’t want to win a dream house?!  It is much bigger than anyone would ever need, but it is extremely beautiful and desirable.

If any other organizations out there can afford to do a raffle like this, I would highly recommend it.  It will get a lot publicity for your organization and you will have no trouble selling raffle tickets.  People always want to support a good cause, especially when the money they donate is qualifying them to win a prize of a lifetime.

Be Responsible With Your Tickets

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

When you have sellers for your raffle tickets, it is important that they are trustworthy sellers.  I recently read a story where a seller of the Lion’s Club raffle tickets, which sell for $100 per ticket, left the $500 he had made so far along with $500 worth of raffle tickets in his car with his dog.  The dog decided to take the opportunity to eat both the the money and the raffle tickets.

Yes, this was your classic accidental situation.  The seller had no way of knowing that this would happen.  However, you do need to make sure that as a seller you are taking good care of your merchandise.  You can’t just leave your money and tickets laying around.  Keep them safely stowed away.  You also want to make sure that your fellow sellers are doing the same.

It is just important to remember that the tickets you are selling are not your tickets.  They technically belong to the organization you are selling them for and also the buyers you are selling them to.  It is your responsibility to make sure that the tickets not only get sold, but also don’t get lost.

Flyers for Your Raffle

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Flyers are a great way to advertise your raffle.  It’s really easy just to hang them up where ever you go, but it’s also important to hand them out to people that you are selling the raffle tickets to face to face.  Flyers are one of your greatest tools when selling raffle tickets door-to-door because they can explain all the information about the raffle.

When you are selling raffle tickets, one thing you don’t want to do is overwhelm the buyer with things that your saying.  Keep your pitch short and sweet, and let the flyer fill in all the blanks for you.  As soon as they greet you, hand them a flyer, give them your pitch, and ask them how many tickets they would like to buy.  It’s as simple as that.

Flyers also provide as reminders to buyers after you have already left.  Remember, the main goal of your fundraiser isn’t just to raise money.  It is also to get your cause, business, or organization’s name out there.  Giving people flyers helps to remind them what you are all about, and can possibly draw them in to help in the future.  Take the time to invest in getting flyers made for your raffle ticket selling, and you will not be sorry.

Where to Sell Your Raffle Tickets

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

A lot of people aren’t comfortable going door to door to fund raise.  For whatever reason, it intimidates them or they feel like they are intruding on people.  Nevertheless, it is so important to sell your raffle tickets in an proactive manner.  No one is going to come up to you asking you to sell them a raffle ticket.

The idea that most raffle ticket sellers seem to like is going up to a local store or shopping center and setting up a booth to sell tickets at.  This seems less intrusive in a way, and you get a lot of traffic.  You have to be sure to get permission from the store owners or managers to do this though.  The positive to this is that if they like your organization or cause that they may even sell tickets for you.

Another benefit to this type of raffle ticket selling is that you can do it alongside of a bake sale or a cook out.  It’s a great way to bring in some extra money.  Make sure that you have signs up for your organization or cause so people know what you are selling raffle tickets for.  Another good idea would be to have some flyers or pamphlets to hand out that explain your cause a little bit more in depth.  Have fun selling your tickets!