Raffles have the potential to generate big bucks for your organization, and fast! They’re a fantastic fundraising tool appealing to people at multiple levels of engagement with your nonprofit, and don’t require the lengthy relationship building of other funding avenues. They can bring in new donors, rejuvenate old ones and raise awareness of your organization. It’s no wonder that so many organizations now use them as a regular part of their fundraising strategy.

But that doesn’t mean that every raffle will see impressive ticket sales. For a giveaway to have the greatest chance of making a significant impact for your organization, it needs three essential ingredients.

3 Ingredients of a Successful Raffle

1. Great raffle prizes

The majority of ticket-buyers are going to need an inspiring incentive to part with their hard-earned cash. Your prizes need to stand out from the crowd if you want to cut through the competition and secure someone’s support. Crucially, prizes should also represent excellent value for money, with an actual value that far exceeds the cost of a ticket. If you’re lacking inspiration, don’t worry! We’ve got a knock-out list of suggestions coming right up.

2. A wide fundraising reach

It’s simple: the more raffle tickets you sell, the more you raise. Unlike a silent auction, you’re not reliant on a network of super wealthy individuals for this fundraising event – your donors can be anyone with a few dollars to spare. And it’s easier than ever before to reach them. Forget printable advertising – with social media and email you can tell the world at little or no cost to your organization. Thanks to easy-to-use platforms like ours, you can leave the raffle ticket tech to us and focus your energy on creating an exciting list of prizes that will get tickets flying off the virtual shelves.

3. A worthy cause

We’ve all read the incredible success stories of nonprofits raising millions when their fundraising campaign goes viral. How do they do it? The truth is, the key to viral content is great storytelling. Whilst a dazzling prize might draw someone to your raffle, it’s the vision of the nonprofit that will often be the deciding factor. As a fundraiser it’s essential that you communicate the impact their money will have in an inspiring and motivating way. This will mean that everyone will feel good about their donation – which is a great prize in itself!

Great Raffle Prize Ideas

Your raffle prizes need to grab attention and offer potential ticket buyers something they’d be head over heels to win. Aim to offer a must-have grand prize as your headliner and a collection of incredibly desirable items for a handful of lucky runners up. Let your creative juices flow!

You’re probably already asking yourself: what do people want? But for a really compelling list of prizes, your next question should be: why do they want it? You’ll tap into a wider audience if you can cater for multiple donor motivations. And what might they be? The big three are right here…

Money-can’t-buy

Your fundraising event will take off if you can offer an exclusive experience that no amount of cash could secure. Donors want these prizes because they’re once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that they couldn’t get any other way. These prizes have the widest appeal, as they’re suitable for people of all financial circumstances and don’t run the risk of duplication. Here are just a few ideas that will make your raffle winner’s dreams come true…

Value: $$$

  • Spend time on set with a superstar. Know an actor who’s an advocate for your cause? Ask them to offer a tour or to run some lines with your winner.
  • Tear up the track with a race car driver. Car-enthusiasts and thrill-seekers can get the inside track on how to get the best from their vehicle.
  • Get a singing lesson from a popstar. Whether your winner is pitch-perfect or tone-deaf, this will be the experience of a lifetime.
  • Take a cooking class with a celebrity chef. Winners can learn how to wow in the kitchen from a high-profile cook.

Value: $$

  • Throw the best party. Negotiate free venue hire of an exclusive space for your winner to celebrate with friends.
  • Access all areas. From behind the scenes at the theater to chilling in the changing rooms at a big game, people love a sneak peek into areas usually unavailable to the public.
  • Wine tasting with the experts. Bold? Fruity? Earthy? Winemakers will help your winner recognize the qualities of their wine and show them around the vineyard.
  • A private screening. Your winner will get to watch their favorite movie with their friends, with the whole movie theatre to themselves.

Value: $

  • Get a personalized ringtone. With a bespoke jingle from a professional musician, your winner will let their phone ring and ring!
  • Have your portrait painted. Once upon a time, a portrait was the ultimate status symbol. Today, it’s a way to celebrate someone using incredible artistry.
  • Signed memorabilia. T-shirts, photos and notebooks suddenly become coveted when they’re signed by a star.

Something to Aspire To

These prizes are freely available to buy if you have the cash. But they’re beyond the means of your target ticket-buyer. Winning one of these prizes would therefore make a significant impact on their wellbeing, and the low ticket price is definitely worth the potential payoff.

Value: $$$

  • A house. Say goodbye to mortgages and hello to the house of your dreams. This top-billing prize has helped raise fortunes for nonprofits, as we saw in August 2020 when the offer of a cottage in Ireland raised over €800,000 to support healthcare workers.
  • A premium getaway. Rest and relaxation is even sweeter when it’s free.
  • A new car. Getting a vehicle upgrade would seriously improve that commute.

Value: $$

  • A cash prize. Offer a percentage of the total raised from your raffle – the more entrants the higher the prize!
  • A spending spree. Partner with a local business to offer store credit, and let your winner go wild.local business
  • Furniture. Think bespoke beds, designer deckchairs and oh-so-chic coffee tables.
  • A home makeover. For those fed up of DIY, this prize will tick all their boxes.
  • Extreme Sports. Try scuba diving or skydiving with an expert guide.

Value: $

  • Gift cards and vouchers. Fancy a pedicure? A meal at your local restaurant? A splurge on Amazon? Gift certificates are perfect for treating yourself.
  • Tickets. Get your hands on some hot tickets to a sell-out show.
  • Kitchen Appliances. Your winner can finally replace their old models.
  • Gadgets. From everyday items to weird and wonderful inventions, a new piece of technology will save your winner time and money.
  • Bills and services. Help your winner to make a saving on their regular services with a year’s free broadband, grocery shopping or train travel.
  • A lifetime supply of… Partner with a supplier to offer a bumper pack of something your target audience will appreciate, like chocolate, flowers or cosmetics.
  • A gift basket. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular raffle prizes, as treats and goodies are always welcome!

For the Philanthropists

These prizes appeal to those who really care about your cause. They’re your chance to show off the very best of your organization and make people feel good about their donation. Whilst you’d undoubtedly use the previous two categories to draw someone to your raffle page in the first place, the following prizes can be the most meaningful and are useful for bringing people closer to your organization or cause.

Value: $$$

  • Dinner with the Director. Whatever form your nonprofit takes, there’s usually someone who calls the shots. Offering their time and expertise shows supporters that they’re truly valued.
  • Unlimited access. If your organization runs events or services, unfettered access to these will help you stay connected to your winner.
  • See your name in lights. Offer the winner the opportunity to name something important to your organization, like a room, scholarship or piece of equipment.

Value: $$

  • A membership. If your organization offers memberships, they’re a simple and effective way to offer ready-made benefits.
  • Reserve the best seats. Whether you’re fundraising for a theatre, sporting event or eatery, if there’s somewhere to sit then you can offer winners their favorite spot for the coming year.

Value: $

  • Thank you card. Sometimes a simple thank you gets the best response! Use a photo to show off your nonprofit’s work with a handwritten thanks from those it’s impacted.
  • A branded t-shirt. Winners can sport your logo and details with custom printed clothing.
  • Branded stationery. You can offer the traditional pen or pencil, or get creative with stickers, phone cases, pin badges… the possibilities are endless!

Fundraising Tips for a Successful Strategy

So you’ve let your imagination run wild and cooked up an amazing list of ideas. But which raffle items should you include? Here’s how to ensure that your audience is going to jump at what you’ve got on offer…

Picture your Target Ticket-buyer

Who is most likely to get behind your cause? And who could be persuaded to support it with the incentive of a great prize? What’s their age? Their location? Their financial situation? Use these questions alongside your own to build a character profile of your target market. When you understand more about the people you want to sell raffle tickets to, you can choose the prizes that would appeal to them most, set an appropriate ticket prize for them, and increase your chances of success.

Consider your Current Resources

Securing and delivering your raffle prizes will be so much easier if you can take advantages of the resources already at your disposal. Who are the people with something to give, who also have a reason to support your cause? From board members to related businesses, it’s worth mapping out where you already have connections. Not only will securing prizes ‘in kind’ save your organization a fortune on delivering them, but utilizing existing connections will reduce the amount of time you need to spend making cold approaches.

Make Good on your Promises

Choose prizes that you feel confident and comfortable delivering. There’s nothing worse for a raffle than a non-existent prize. Make sure that everyone involved in the prizes understands when and how they’ll be needed so that there’s no confusion. Delivering prizes successfully makes it extremely likely that your winners will forge a lasting relationship with your nonprofit.

What next?

Now that you’ve got your perfect prizes lined up, all that’s left to do is promote them with Raffle Creator. Then sit back and watch the ticket sales soar!

No Sore Losers

And what about those who don’t win? Good news! Even they could continue to support your organization if they feel inspired and motivated. So it’s also important to think about how you will thank and engage everyone who donates to your fundraising raffle. With an effective stewardship plan, your prize draw needn’t be the end of the relationship, but just the beginning.

Cressida Peever
Author

Cressida Peever is a writer and fundraiser who has raised over £1m for some of the UK's most prestigious nonprofits, including The Royal National Theatre, King's College London and Durham University.