Raffles are one of the most popular and cost effective ways to raise money for a non profit organization. However, it would not be a raffle if you had nothing to give away!
So what kind of prizes should you have? First of all, put yourself in your potential supporter’s shoes - What if someone comes up to you and says they are selling raffle tickets? What prize would you like to win?
Here are some prizes that attract many people’s attention:
Cars - Sports cars, Luxury cars, SUV’s in this years model. Another great alternative is a completely restored classic / collector’s car. You may or may not be able to get this donated. If not, consider other types of prizes, since your profit will be higher if all items are donated.
Travel - Always a winner. Roundtrip Airfare, a package deal, a cruise, hotel stays, even airline miles all make great prizes. Most people love to travel and the biggest obstacle is usually cost. Now if they win this raffle, they’ll just have to take some vacation time and go.
The larger trips such as week-long cruises or packages with airfare and hotel may draw more ticket buyers. However, travel doesn’t have to be exotic to make a great prize. Even a weekend getaway within driving distance could be a great prize. As long as it’s a place people in your area would want to go to for a vacation. A one night stay at a local hotel is not usually as appealing.
Electronic Equipment - Big screen TVs, DVDs, and stereos. These are big incentives, especially for the guys.
Gift Certificates - For stores like Home Depot, Best Buy, and local or chain restaurants. These make great secondary prizes.
These are just a few examples. As mentioned earlier, it is important to offer a prize that your potential sellers will place a high value on. A Barbecue Grill, a Handmade Quilt, a Gourmet Dinner, all of these could be great prizes for the right audience.
Okay, okay. So I know what you are thinking. How do I go about getting these prizes?
The absolute best way is to survey the members of your organization. Every member could possibly have something of value to contribute to the prize pool. And if not, they may know somebody who can. Go for your biggest prize first, though. You need to secure that “hook” in order to have a viable raffle.
One of the raffle fundraisers that I organized raised over $1000, with just 5 ticket sellers! In case you are wondering, our prize was a big screen TV. The company I worked for at the time had a point system incentive program. I pooled my points with some of my co-workers to get the big prize.
I also sent out an email asking my friends and the other ticket sellers for donations. I quickly got several more donations including some nice watches. Finally I went to area restaurants and got several gift certificates for third prizes.
It's usually easy to get prizes from restaurants and some retailers such as beauty salons and video stores. Type a letter of request on your organization's letterhead. Visit businesses in your area during the afternoon when they're not as busy. Give them a copy of your letter and ask if they would be able to donate a gift certificate or other prize. Be sure to start canvassing your city about a month before your deadline, because some managers need to get approval or they may have a limited number of prizes per month they can distribute.
With a little creativity and persistence, you'll be able to get some great prizes for your raffle!
Sandra Sims has been fundraising for various charities for over 10 years. She is the publisher of Step By Step Fundraising website, which helps non profit organizations get maximum results from fundraising campaigns. Visit her website to find out more about raffle fundraisers and raffle ticket printing .