by Talena Barker, Mission Limelight – January 30, 2018
Let’s talk raffles! We know that not every guest at your special event will purchase a live auction package, so offering strategic, fun and compelling avenues for these guests to participate in your fundraising is important. Raffles are one simple approach to get everyone in on the action!
Typically low-cost and low-risk, raffles can bring in thousands of dollars for your important mission – if they’re structured carefully. Note: Raffles are considered gambling games and are subject to state laws. Please consult your state’s Department of Justice to ensure you’re adhering to all the rules and regulations about non-profit fundraising raffles or other games of chance. For instance, some states don’t allow ticket sales online, or by mail.
Here are 4 ways to create a successful raffle, and raise more money.
1) High Demand = High Profit
To bring in the most revenue, your offerings must have broad appeal. If your raffle centerpiece speaks only to a narrow audience, you’re not giving everyone a reason to play. For instance, while I would LOVE a weekend spa retreat, my spouse is going to walk right on by. So how can you structure your raffle accordingly? Here are a few approaches to consider:
One Package – Broad Appeal
If you know your audience well, select ONE compelling package that speaks to most everyone in the room. If you’re a school or a hospital, a reserved parking space for a year is likely something everyone would vie to win. If your audience is comprised of parents of school-aged children, a trip to an amusement park or a city with zoos and children’s museums will inspire sales. How about a wine refrigerator stocked full of high-quality wines donated by board members, wineries or local retailers?
One easy approach is a fabulous trip to somewhere new for your audience. If you’re in the sun belt, consider a trip to a mountain town. If you’re located near a ski slope, offer your bidders a trip to a warm locale.
Here’s where Mission Limelight can help! You likely have access to lodging and fun experiences in your own city/area, but nobody wants to spend big money to stay and play in their hometown. Reach out to Mission Limelight, and we can help you TRADE your local package for a sweet trip in a region where your guests will compete to visit!
“We exchanged a local package that wouldn’t have mass appeal to our audience, for one in an area our guests love to visit. Mission Limelight made it easy, and our audience loved it!” Mallory P., Executive Director
Multiple Packages – Pick Your Favorite!
Choose three diverse prizes for your raffle, and let the winner choose their favorite. This is a super fun way to get guests talking about your raffle with others, and drum up sales.
It could be three weekend getaways to very different locations. Or three very unique experiences. Maybe a cooking and wine pairing class and dinner with a top local chef, a guided fishing trip with gear and lunch, and an all inclusive children’s birthday party at a special location. Right there, you have appeal to your foodies, your outdoor enthusiasts and your families.
You can execute this in two different ways:
– Have guests place their raffle stubs in a container near the display for the package they most want to win. They can split up their tickets any way they like. Draw a winner from each container and send home three happy guests!
– If you have a live auction, draw one winner, and call them up to select their package. Then, turn around and auction off the remaining two packages on the spot. You’ve already gotten your guests excited and educated about these packages ahead of time, so the bidding will be fast and furious!
2) Promote BEFORE the Event
Leverage all opportunities to promote your raffle BEFORE the event, and even sell in advance.
When you sell event tickets, whether online or in person, be sure to offer raffle tickets as an add-on to admission. Guests will start the night with tickets in hand, and likely be inspired to purchase more once they’re on site.
Provide a link for staff and board members to promote your raffle on social media, and directly to friends and associates.
Someone wants to play and can’t attend the event? No problem – be sure your raffle doesn’t require ticket holders to be present to win, and go ahead and sell raffle tickets to anyone and everyone. If you’re offering multiple prizes, just ask the purchaser at the point of sale which of the prizes they’d choose if they win. This can seriously boost your raffle revenue!
3) $ell, Baby, $ell!
Your raffle sales team should be engaging, enthusiastic and stand out from the crowd. Have volunteers wear identifying hats, fun masks, a similar bright outfit, or go wild and dress up according to your event theme.
Each team member must understand the details of your raffle package(s) and how the winner(s) will be selected.
It’s best to have raffle sales volunteers work in teams of two. One can focus on being the salesperson, while the other handles the transaction and distribution of the raffle tickets. The best way to sell tickets at the event is by capturing bid numbers to save time. Just have a clipboard for each of the transactional volunteers to capture bid numbers and quantity of tickets sold – super easy! If your event does not offer bid numbers, provide each transactional volunteer with a waist apron to hold cash and change.
One team of two is stationed at the raffle display table, while several other teams of two “work the crowd,” depending on the size of your event.
Have your emcee or auctioneer draw attention to your raffle at regular intervals.
If you’re having a seated program, dinner or live auction, ask your emcee to offer one final chance to purchase raffle tickets, once everyone is seated. Your energetic volunteers can race about the room capturing these last sales.
Ideally, have images of your raffle items or destinations up on your presentation screen to show off your fabulous options!
One last note: It’s helpful to give a small, visual token to each person that purchases raffle tickets. This helps identify those who’ve already purchased tickets so your volunteers don’t drive them crazy with sales. It also builds visual community and excitement around your raffle. Successful tokens include blinky light pins, glow bracelets, stickers and the like. You can also find tokens that align with your mission! For instance, a river conservancy could glue fly fishing ties to safety pins. An educational charity might use a blinking apple pin.
4) The Price is Right
If your tickets aren’t priced correctly, you’re missing out on money. Consider your event, your prizes and your guests’ financial capacity when pricing tickets. Also consider if you want to limit the number of tickets sold to to encourage more sales because of better odds. Here are a few scenarios:
Let’s say you have a school fundraiser with a low entry price, and multiple moderately valued prizes to win. Here, price the tickets low enough that everyone can participate, but offer incentives for more purchases. Maybe the tickets are $10 each, but you’ll get 6 tickets for $50 and 14 tickets for $100!
Gala Auction Bash
At a dressy gala, with a high-end raffle item or items, price your tickets higher ($50 or $100 each), and limit the number sold to 100 or 200, depending on the number of guests. This creates a sense of urgency to commit to purchasing tickets before they sell out, and better odds of winning.
If you have a huge number of guests (say, over 500), don’t limit the number of tickets sold. Find a price point that fits your audience and your prize profile and sell, sell, sell!
Here at Mission Limelight, we love to help you make more money from your auction and raffle efforts. Email or call us at 541-550-3164 to explore how we can work together to support your mission.
~The Mission Limelight Team