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You may think you’ll need to offer a new car, a vacation or other valuable prizes for your raffle fundraiser, but you can have a successful raffle even with smaller prizes. In fact, once you’ll have some success with smaller raffles you may automatically attract donors who are willing to donate an expensive item because they’ll know you’ll be able to turn the item into substantial donations and also make it worthwhile for them. The basics of a raffle fundraiser are the same no matter what you raffle off:

1. Get attractive prizes.
2. Sell tickets.
3. Hold the raffle drawing.
4. Thank donors and volunteers.

raffle ticket

This looks simple enough, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re holding a raffle for the first time. (Even more fundraising ideas!)

Start Small

Companies and organizations may be hesitant to donate to your cause if it’s the first time. That’s OK. Be persistent in asking for donations to raffle off; work with what’s given; and do the best job you can with what you have. Once local community leaders see that you are a success waiting to happen, the donations will start to flow in. In fact, the very same ones who say “no” this year will be the first ones to hop on the bandwagon next year – if you do it right.

Also read: How To Run A Reverse Raffle Fundraiser

Get as Many Donations as Possible

You may have to fork out some money for one top “draw” prize that will be advertised as “You could win a _____!” But if you put in the time and hard work to secure donations for several prizes to be raffled off, you’ll have that much more profit. Start by meeting with members of your organization and see what the group can come up with in-house for prizes.

Don’t Believe the Hype

There’s a fine line between dealing with objections in advance and giving people a reason not to give. Be sure to not cross it. Sure, a bad economy may be giving some people a hard time, but the amount of wealth in the U.S. is astounding, regardless of any economic crisis. Besides, who wouldn’t spend $5 on a raffle ticket to help their favorite charity and get a chance to win something cool at the same time?

Don’t Get Arrested

As of 2010, in the U.S., the laws governing raffles are determined state-by-state. Some states, have deemed them illegal as part of gambling, while other states allow a raffle fundraiser for just about anything. (For a list of each state’s raffle rules, visit RaffleFAQ.com).

In addition, some cities and even counties in the U.S. require a separate application for a charity raffle. Be sure to find out well in advance what’s required to hold a raffle, and get any applications submitted in time. In fact, because rules can be pretty complicated, it’s probably best to get legal advice before starting a raffle of any kind.

Promote and Thank Your Donors

Don’t forget to thank your donors for their donations on your website, social media channels and in print publications. Not only will your donors feel appreciated, but other potential donors will see that they will get appropriate publicity if they participate and may also be donating prizes for your next raffle.

Even if you find yourself having to go with the bare-bones budget plan (read: no money for prizes at all), don’t despair. Use whatever prizes are donated, set ticket prices low enough that everyone can buy at least one, and set aside some of the proceeds to start next year’s fundraiser.

And don’t forget to do something to thank the volunteers and ticket sellers. Throw an appreciation party and give out awards to the highest sellers. Come next year’s raffle, you’ll have some folks you can count on to help!

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