Raffles – When and How Do I Do It?

By T.J. Reid

tj sketchAs retailers do more and more to sponsor and take part in charitable causes and help raise funds for different organizations, one of most profitable and easiest option to consider is a raffle.

These are very simple to do when having an out-of-store fashion show or other community event. You will need to order some 2-part tickets with stubs that are easy-tear with accurate sequential numbers, depending on how you plan to disperse the gifts. I found these available through many sources, just by using Google. Most are sold in rolls of 2,000 for as low as $6.79 a roll or $67.90 for 10.  Who would ever need more than 20,000 ticket (although they can last forever!)? Oddly enough, I found Amazon the most expensive of all vendors shown.

You can raffle just one item or several, whichever you think is best to increase fund-raising and create excitement.  I personally like to have 10 to 15 items which are displayed on tables.  In front of each prize, is a bowl or box or some type of container where tickets are dropped.  The ticket buyer then can choose which items they hope to win, and drop their ticket into that box.  Most will buy multiple tickets and try to win several items, or on occasion someone may drop all their tickets in on one item.

Tickets are usually sold $2 each or 3 for $5 or 8 for $10 or 20 for $20.  Again, the price is up to you, but multiples sell better, because it is easy to grab one bill out of a wallet, and need no change in return.  The average attendee has probably paid for her admittance ticket long before the evening and this additional money is just part of the event fun. They are happy to buy.

When a ticket is purchased, the buyer takes the two part ticket and splits in half, keeping one for themselves and putting the other in the box for whatever item they are trying to win.

Later when the drawing is held, it is the buyer’s responsibility to be in attendance when their number is called and to have their numbered stub as proof of their win.  This can be a delightful time to see people calling out excitedly, “That’s me! I won!”

I recommend this raffle announcement takes place during an intermission or refreshment break of your show to give time for winners to pick up their items at the end of the event.  It also assures that attendees will remain for the entire event, just in case they are a winner.

This is a win/win situation for everyone involved.  Those who do win prizes are thrilled and the charity group is rewarded greatly with extra money, in addition to their basic event profits.  It is not uncommon to raise at least $1,000 extra at any event with an attendance of 100. People feel generous when attending an outing that is pleasant and they know is worthwhile and beneficial to the community or a certain cause.

And where do you get these free prizes?  Note the word FREE is most important.  Local merchants are asked to donate items or gift certificates.  $25 is an average value of prizes, although if some are priced more, make sure they are given extra attention and more prominent placement in the table display.  Always show the actual value of the item when listing the name of the business who donated it. These names should always be printed in any program handout.  Don’t just solicit from the usual retailers.  Go to grocers for certificate, car washes for passes, movie theaters, hairdressers, pedicure/manicure salons, restaurants, florists, and the list goes on and on.  The only thing they can say is yes or no, and ignore the no’s and praise the yes’s by rewarding them with your future business!

If you are a co-sponsor or very involved in this function, your prize should be valued at least $100.  You may find your vendors are happy to assist in your generosity.

At this time of Breast Cancer Awareness and Thanksgiving when Local Food Banks are so in need, take the time to plan an event to show that you care enough to help a worthy cause.

T.J. Reid is editor of FASHION ADVANTAGE magazine and will be speaking at AmericasMart on Saturday, October 18th at 10:00 AM during the October Atlanta Apparel Market. Her seminar is on the 8th floor and all buyers are invited to attend.  There will be door prizes, and you don’t even have to buy a ticket!

2 thoughts on “Raffles – When and How Do I Do It?

  1. I appreciate the step by step instructions of this article about organizing a raffle for a charitable event, I would however like to comment on the sentence about “ignore the no’s and praise the yes’s by rewarding them with your future business”. Most all small and/or independent businesses receive multiple requests a month all year long from individuals and organizations asking for donations for different causes. There are various reasons why business owners say yes or no to these many donation requests. I would suggest that becoming a customer and supporting that business would give the person asking a much better chance to receive a yes to a raffle request in the future.
    Please don’t ignore the no’s, do business with them and get to know them instead. Who knows, next year that business that declined “the invitation” to donate might become one of the events major sponsors?

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