Posts Tagged ‘Non Profit Organizations’

State-by-State Raffle Laws

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Raffles, even for charity, are illegal in many states. Before you begin planning one for your organization, make sure you look into the relevant gaming laws. Here we’ve provided links to the most up-to-date information for all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. These laws are subject to change, so we’ve also provided the name of the government body on whose site we found the information.

Double Win for Police Association Raffle

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Loving this story today. The Centralia Police Officers Association recently raffled off a truck in hopes of raising a small amount of money. But guess what? The man who won the truck (a business owner from out of town) donated it right back! That’s right–not only did they get some money by selling their raffle tickets, but they got to keep the truck for their own use in the community. That’s some serious generosity on the part of the towing company owner who won the raffle.

I really love this idea. I like to buy raffle tickets from charities when I can afford it. They don’t usually cost any more than $20 at most, so I’m not really out much when I don’t win (and who ever expects to?). But say I did win a prize from an organization that I really cared about? It never would have occurred to me to donate the prize right back, but what a great thing it would be. Say the prize is worth something like $1000 (or even more like the truck in this story). That’s like being able to donate all of that money to a cause that I care about for only $20. It doesn’t hurt my budget, and could do so much for an NPO.

Instant Wine Cellar Raffle

Monday, December 13th, 2010

I just saw an article about a raffle going on in my hometown that I think is a fantastic idea: an instant wine cellar raffle. They’re raffling off two cases of premium wine to the lucky grand prize winner, plus a couple gift certificates to a local restaurant for runners up. As a wine-lover myself, I can’t think of a more fun prize to hop for for the holidays. One $5 raffle ticket, and I could create a wine cellar in one day.

And not only is this a fun idea for a prize, but it is totally customizable to your organization’s budget. If you have a good amount of money to lay out initially on prizes, you can either increase the number of bottles of wine included in the prize or buy better quality wines. Or, you could offer more prizes, so that more ticket holders have a chance at winning. If you’re lucky, you can even find individuals willing to donate a bottle of wine each toward the prize.

Attracting Sponsors

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Unlike with some other forms of fundraising, in order to host a raffle you need to have some money budgeted to begin with. If you really want people to buy your raffle tickets, you need to be able to offer attractive prizes which means spending some cash long before you see any return on your efforts. However, if you put some careful thought into your raffle beforehand, you can often find ways to reduce this initial outlay.

One significant way to save money on your prizes is to find sponsors for your raffle. Individuals or organizations willing to donate their time, money or products to your cause. Of course, the more worthy they consider the cause, the easier this will be. If you’re a non-profit organization, it’ll probably be a lot easier to find sponsors. But you can also create incentive for sponsors by giving them something more in return for their generosity than just your sincere thanks. One very easy way to do this is to include your sponsors’ names on the raffle tickets themselves. This shouldn’t cost you any extra, and it gives your sponsors free advertising. Their name will reach as many people as your fundraising does.

Attention Sports Fans!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Just in case there are any Lakers fans out there who haven’t heard yet (perhaps you were in a cave all weekend?), Ron Artest is raffling off his 2010 NBA Championship ring! Artest announced the raffle last Wednesday night on Larry King Live, and the raffle winner will be chosen on Christmas day, December 25. The announcement was followed by a record-breaking $120,000 of ticket sales in just 24 hours. You can buy tickets on Artest’s own site, www.ronartest.com, or an alternate site set up by CNN, www.netraffle.org. (The alternate site was apparently set up because Artest’s site crashed with the heavy inflow of traffic!)

Tickets for the Win My Bling raffle cost only $2.00 and the proceeds will fund mental health services for youths who can’t afford the care. Artest has been a celebrity supporter of making mental health services more easily available ever since apologizing for a fan/player brawl he was involved in in 2005. In that apology, he publicly thanked his psychiatrist for the help he’d received. This raffle therefore appears to be part PR, part personal. In any case, don’t miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance for a Lakers’ fan.

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.