TABLE OF CONTENTS
Are you looking for a straightforward, easy to put together, and effective way to raise funds for your nonprofit?
*drum rolls please*
May we present to you…raffles!
Raffles can be a great nonprofit funding source, especially for smaller nonprofit organizations that don't get much in grant money or might not always have the capacity to run sophisticated digital fundraising campaigns.
Raffles are fun and engaging. They are also an opportunity for participants to gain valuable prizes in exchange for a comparatively small investment. A raffle can be organized virtually, as a stand-alone event, or as an addendum to another event, such as a gala dinner.
In order to host a successful raffle, it’s essential to procure an appealing raffle prize. Promotion matters too! In terms of raffle prizes, you can procure either a grand raffle prize or otherwise opt for offering multiple raffle prizes.
You should ideally procure the raffle prize ahead of time. Whatever the prize, it needs to be attractive so that people will pay for a chance to win it.
Everyone loves a good raffle, especially when the prizes are desirable. The better the prize, the more people will purchase tickets, and the more funds you will raise to further your cause.
This is why selecting good raffle prizes matters.
However, it’s important to remember that “exciting” and “good” don’t mean the same thing to everyone. It’s key that you know your audience. What will they like? What will they find useful?
Raffle prizes that typically receive the most attention appeal to your audiences’ needs or interests, are well-priced and are unique or special in some way.
If you’re struggling to think of the right prizes for your nonprofit raffle, here are some questions to get you started:
- What are your donors’ interests and hobbies?
- What is the average age of your donors? How about their income and education level?
- What are your donors’ go-to entertainment venues?
- What sporting/music/cultural events are going on in your area at the time of your raffle?
- What else do you know about your donors that could help inform the selection of the raffle prize?
Big Ticket Raffle Prizes ($2000 & Up)
There aren’t that many things that will quite draw an audience in like these big-ticket items. They are shiny and attractive and will likely get many people purchasing your raffle tickets! Just make sure the effort to procure these and organize the raffle is a worthwhile investment.
1. Big tropical vacation
Most people love to travel. After all, any kind of vacation is good! Yet, tropical getaways hold almost a universal appeal. From Hawaii to Bora Bora or the Maldives, there are plenty of stunning destinations to choose from for your raffle prize.
2. New house
While a house is a bit difficult to procure, with the paperwork and all, it’s an incredibly attractive prize that’s sure to catch the eye.
Almost everyone wants or needs a car, so your raffle is almost guaranteed to succeed with this raffle prize. To reduce costs, look at second-hand cars. Alternatives include other vehicles, such as motorbikes, electric scooters, or even bikes. Consider electric cars if you’re an environmental nonprofit or even a car-sharing or car-renting subscription!
4. Gas for a year
Everyone who has a car needs gas for it too. An eternal source of complaint and frustration, procure this raffle prize and watch the ticket sales go up!
What’s more to say? If the cash flow isn’t all that great at the moment, you can set the raffle prize to be a percentage of the raffle ticket sales.
6. Designer items
Designer items, such as clothes or jewelry, can be an attractive raffle prize. Even those that can afford these items are often reluctant to splurge money on designer items. Potentially getting a $3000 Prada bag for $30? Few would resist! Even those not into fashion could sell it later.
7. Airline tickets to a distant location
There’s nothing that quite excites our imagination as airline tickets to a distant location! Somewhere like Nepal, India, Argentina (depending on what counts as a distant location for where you are) will get the imagination juices flowing.
Medium Budget Raffle Prize ($500 to $2000)
8. Consultation with an interior designer
Whether we’re buying a house, just moved in, or simply wish to revamp our space — getting help from a professional interior designer is the dream. Yet, it’s often a dream out of reach for many!
9. Consultation with a professional organizer
Like with interior design, consulting with a professional organizer is a luxury for many. This raffle prize will be particularly attractive if you organize your raffle at the start of the year when many people naturally want to declutter, cleanse, and organize their space.
10. New appliances
Fridges, washing machines, espresso machines, high-end blenders, and other appliances usually attract a lot of attention as everyone needs them or at least knows someone who does! That Vitamix can be as much of a luxury as a designer bag.
11. Gift cards
Like cash, gift cards have a universal appeal. This is especially true if you procure gift cards to shops and places where a wide variety of products is sold. Gift cards can also be for restaurants, spas, resorts, and more.
12. Free rental car for X days
If your organization operates locally or nationally, a free rental car for X amount of days can be a great raffle prize. This gives the winner the flexibility to go wherever they want, reducing the cost of any trip they take!
Tablets, phones, computers, smartwatches, and other gadgets are exciting to almost any demographic!
Low to Medium Budget Raffle Prizes ($100-$500)
14. (Virtual) consultation with a personal stylist
This is another prize that many would deem too frivolous to pay for, but would love to experience anyway! The prize can be an hour-long (or a few hours long) consultation with a personal stylist.
15. Luxury dining experience for two
Who wouldn’t want a luxury break from cooking and takeaways? Young couples, parents wishing some time away from their children, and even friends — all of these are likely to be your raffle participants!
16. Yearly subscription for the gym
This is another raffle prize most likely to be successful right at the start of the year! A yearly gym subscription can cost hundreds of dollars (or even over $1000 depending on the gym), so the opportunity to win it for $10 or $20 can be very appealing.
17. A day at the spa for two
A day of pampering in the sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, alongside getting a massage is a sure success when it comes to raffle prizes.
18. Weekend getaway
Everyone needs a small break! For this raffle prize, put together travel tickets, book accommodation, and include sightseeing or local attraction tickets.
19. Concert tickets
Going for the big names and good seats is key here. Even if your own personal music choice is less mainstream, you’re more likely to sell raffle tickets if the raffle prize tickets are for a concert of someone who’s more widely popular.
20. Adventure experiences
Depending on your audience, bungee jumping, skydiving, sailing, and other adventure experiences can be a very attractive raffle prize. Brainstorm adventure experiences that are easily available in your surroundings.
21. Indulgent gift baskets
Gift baskets can be very indulgent — depending on what’s in them. For this low-medium raffle prize idea, procure some more luxury items, such as expensive wines, cheeses, beauty products, and chocolates.
Small Raffle Prizes (Below $100)
Your nonprofit raffle can be successful even if you don’t include very expensive raffle prizes. An interesting class, a meal at a good restaurant, or a thoughtfully curated gift basket can go a long way.
Plus, choosing more inexpensive items might enable you to provide more raffle prizes, allowing more participants to win something. This in itself can be a huge value proposition!
22. Private cooking or baking class
A cooking class is a useful and interesting raffle prize. Make it thematic (e.g. soups, desserts, raw cakes, appetizers) and start promoting! Baking classes are also a very appealing prize and you can time them and theme them with upcoming holidays (e.g. Easter or Christmas).
23. Private painting or drawing class
Many of us would love to try new creative hobbies but struggle to start! This is a good raffle prize for those creatively-inclined in your audience. Even those that paint or draw regularly will appreciate the opportunity for a private learning experience!
24. Private dance class or yoga class
Like with the painting and drawing class, many will appreciate an opportunity to be guided by a professional in a 1-on-1 setting.
You can also opt for private language classes!
25. Gift baskets
Gift baskets are endlessly customizable and generate a lot of attention! Choose those themes that you know would appeal to your audience the most. Maybe you can put together a ‘local goods’ basket filled with items procured from local businesses. You can put together holiday-themed baskets, pet-themed baskets, outdoor-themed baskets — anything really. The options here are endless!
26. Movie tickets
Choose tickets for a premiere or best seats to watch the new blockbuster. Add in a voucher for popcorn or soft drinks. Depending on what your audience would like, you can also go for theatre tickets, museum tickets, or tickets to other cultural events.
27. A meal at a restaurant
It’s hard to go wrong with a meal at a nice restaurant. Make it a romantic meal for two or, alternatively, a family meal.
Think freshly roasted coffee delivered right to the door every month or a selection of local beers and cheeses. Even a yearly Netflix or Spotify subscription can do the trick!
29. Signed memorabilia
Basketball and baseball balls, jerseys, books — or anything else signed or pre-owned by celebrities is a great raffle prize. If you’re able to get to well-known individuals through your network, use that chance to procure these raffle prizes.
30. Home services
Who wouldn’t want someone to clean their home or mow their lawn? Many will jump at the opportunity to get these coveted services for just a few dollars.
Quick Tips for Organizing Successful Raffles
- Check what it would take to run a raffle where you are. Do an analysis first to make sure the efforts will be worth it. For example, you can run a cost analysis to see if you can actually make a profit after you procure the raffle prize and pay for promotion.
- Try to get a sponsor, someone who will donate the raffle prize to your nonprofit. This will ensure that most of the money made will go straight to your nonprofit.
- Reflect on who in your network might have access to special experiences. Reach out to them and see if they’d be willing to help you out.
- The prize value and the raffle ticket price should match the scope of the raffle. For example, if the prize is a consultation with a professional designer, you might set the ticket price at $10. But if the prize is a car, the ticket price might need to go up to $50.
- Some of these raffle prizes can be made virtual (e.g. virtual classes or music lessons). Always check the local COVID-19 regulations to choose appropriate raffle prizes.
- Get promoting! If you’re organizing a virtual raffle, social media promotion. If you’re organizing a physical promotion of the raffle (for example, during another event such as gala dinner), make sure you talk about it and that the ticketing desk is visible.
- Consider having multiple prizes (the big prize alongside several smaller ones) to help your participants feel like they have a bigger chance of winning something.
- Collect the names, emails, and addresses of those who purchase raffle tickets.
- Don’t leave it at the raffle. Nurture these relationships and make use of the opportunity to turn these raffle participants into long-term donors.
Note that there are many laws, IRS regulations, and accounting hoops to go through. In some places, raffles are illegal. In others, only registered nonprofit organizations can legally conduct raffles and before holding a raffle, they must file a raffle registration form. Some laws declare that nonprofits must also file an annual raffle report form that reports on the raffles your organization conducts in any given year. There are other regulations too, for example, how much of what the raffle makes needs to be given to the nonprofit and how much can be paid out in prizes.
Small Steps Towards a Big Mission
It’s relatively simple to make money with a raffle if a few key principles mentioned above are taken into consideration.
Take the time to think about what would excite your audience and give yourself sufficient time to procure the right prizes and promote your raffle.
Remember to also take the opportunity to nurture a relationship with the raffle participants. With the right approach, these participants can turn into long-term donors and even donate to your nonprofit on a recurring basis.
Knowing what your audience really wants will radically boost ticket sales, which will, in turn, boosts your fundraising efforts.
And don’t forget about online fundraising!
GiveForms lets you create a seamless donation experience for your donors, starting off this relationship on the right foot. Use GiveForms to embed a donation form on your website, allowing visitors to donate using a credit card, PayPal, Google Pay, or bank transfers. With a focus on intuitive, human-centered design, our goal is to help you increase your online donations.