Buying TicketsWhen it’s time to explore your organization’s fundraising options, holding a raffle may be one of the first options that come to mind. And why not! Drawings can be a fun way to get your organization’s message out to the community and network with a new audience that perhaps wouldn’t have been reached otherwise.  However, make sure you do your homework for your fundraiser planning to increase your chances of success.

Once the decision is made to hold a raffle, it’s time to take a hard look at the logistics. Are raffles or other drawings – sometimes referred to as “games of chance” – legally permitted in your state and community? If you’re not certain what the rules are in your area, contact your state attorney general’s office or look online for your state’s statutes, being sure to read everything thoroughly. If there is any aspect of the law that isn’t clear to you, or you have questions, do not hesitate to ask your state attorney general.

Assuming your organization is able to operate a raffle, the next question is which type, and how to run it. 50-50 raffles, Queen of Hearts, Chinese auction … there are many different types of drawings, each with their own rules. A bit of research will be needed to determine whether your organization will be able to hold a given game.

Some factors that you will need to take into account include the number of people in your organization who are willing to be part of a raffle committee. You will need a certain number of people to work together to make the magic happen! Since this group will be representing the entire organization to the community, directly or indirectly, you’ll want people who have the available time and talent to dedicate to the drawing. Some may enjoy working behind the scenes to choose a drawing and help the process move smoothly, while others will have more fun serving as an operator – someone who meets players face to face and runs the game. Try to match each person’s talents and interests to the task.

There are a number of details to be considered: Does everyone involved understand the rules of the drawing? If the raffle requires equipment, can the equipment be obtained? What will the prizes be? Where will the raffle be held? How many people will be needed on-site to ensure everything goes smoothly? Who will take care of applying for any required permits or licenses? Some states require applications be received at least two months in advance of the date on which the raffle is to be held, so planning for a raffle should begin well ahead of time.

Of course, publicity is critical for your raffle’s success. No one will come if they don’t know about it! It may be helpful to prepare tickets and flyers ahead of time for members of the committee, and members of the organization itself, to sell as permitted by law.

Social media is a great way to get the word out about your raffle, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Harvest American has a Facebook page dedicated to all things raffle related, and we invite you to come and post to share your thoughts with our community experienced fundraisers.

Don’t forget about your personal page on the web site where you can post all of the information about your upcoming raffle. Give us a call if you’ve misplaced your log in information and we’ll get you set up right away.

Utilize company newsletters where you work for advertising. Make sure you give a flyer to the person who builds the newsletter and ask them to print it in the newsletter, put it online, and post the flyer in the break room.

Depending on your budget and the intended audience for the raffle, you may want to purchase newspaper ads or radio spots.

As the big day approaches, be sure to meet with everyone one last time to ensure that the details have been followed through on and any lingering issues are resolved. Make sure the site is prepared, all necessary licenses and prizes have been obtained, the equipment is set up and working, and everyone who is part at the raffle is ready to go. Have emergency contacts prepared to run errands in case a last-minute situation comes up.

With a bit of leg work, your organization can enjoy a successful raffle. Good luck with your fundraiser planning, and have fun!

Lucinda Rowlands
Lucinda Rowlands

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