If you want guaranteed cash for your cause, a 50/50 raffle is the place to start when considering fundraising ideas. They’re fun and easy for both fundraisers and donors, and a no-nonsense way to generate income – fast. So we’ve put together everything you need to know about 50/50 raffle fundraising in one comprehensive guide that will help you succeed, whether this raffle is your first or your fiftieth!

What is a 50/50 Raffle?

The clue is in the name! A 50/50 raffle splits the income from raffle ticket sales 50/50 with the winner or winners. That means that for every $1 spent on a ticket, $0.50 is retained by your nonprofit and $0.50 is offered as prize money. The jackpot incentivises individuals to make a donation to your nonprofit organization in exchange for the chance to win a portion of the proceeds.

Raffle tickets are sold for a fixed fee and the winner is drawn either after a specified time period has elapsed, or when a certain number of tickets has sold. The more tickets you sell, the bigger the pay-off for the lucky winner – and your organization.

Why run a 50/50 raffle?

Regarded as one of the easiest fundraisers available, there are so many benefits for your organization to take advantage of with a 50/50 raffle. It’s no wonder that they’re a tool that fundraisers and nonprofit groups return to time and again as part of a long-term fundraising strategy as well as for more spontaneous projects. Here are just some of the reasons we love them:

Excellent Return on Investment (ROI)

A 50/50 raffle requires minimal up-front investment of time and money. It’s simple and quick to set up, manage and deliver, so you don’t need to be an experienced fundraiser to see success. As a result it offers an almost unrivaled return on investment that allows your charitable organization to focus its energy where it’s needed most.

Appealing to Donors

The simple concept and potential raffle prize make 50/50 raffles an attractive prospect to a broad audience. They’re accessible to anyone with a dollar or two to spare, and it takes just a moment to enter, so offer the potential to secure donations from existing supporters as well as brand new ones. You may even identify some entrants who you go on to have a longer fundraising journey with. It’s even easier when you host a raffle online, as buyers can pay with a credit card and the winning ticket number stays safely in an email inbox.

You Direct the Funds

Raising money for equipment? Travel expenses? Staff costs? Whereas other fundraising streams may have strict criteria for their donations, 50/50 raffles offer unrestricted funding for you to use where it will have the biggest impact.

The Sky’s the Limit

Whether you hope to raise $100 or $100,000, anything is possible with a 50/50 raffle thanks to the power of crowdfunding. All those small donations can add up to a major lump sum, and with an online raffle your potential donor pool is growing every day.

Safe and Secure

Running an online raffle poses far fewer risks than face-to-face fundraising. You won’t need to worry about cancellations, complications or conventions – just a few clicks and you’re good to go.

Add On Any Time

Wherever you’re at in your fundraising journey, a 50/50 raffle complements existing activity without distracting from it. You can run a raffle alongside a membership scheme, bid for corporate sponsorship, and approaches to foundations. It shows these donors that you’re leaving no stone unturned when it comes to achieving your goals.

Get Ready to Raise

Before you start spreading the word about your 50/50 raffle, there are a few things you’ll need to consider to ensure you set your organization up for success. Great fundraising campaigns are underpinned by great planning, and you’ll want to know the following things before you launch:

Money or Time?

Two things we always seem to need more of! You need to decide whether to close your raffle based on either:

  1. the number of tickets sold
  2. the amount of time elapsed

If the total amount raised is the most important thing to your organisation, then Number 1 is for you. This will allow you to keep your raffle running until you hit that figure. But when time is of the essence, it might be more important to you to get whatever cash you can within a certain timeframe. If this is you, pick Number 2.

How many winners?

You already know that half of the net proceeds will be redistributed as prize money. Now, it’s up to you to choose whether the total jackpot will go to one lucky raffle winner, or whether you’ll want to pick several winners for smaller slices of the pie. Both have their advantages: a big prize can attract those motivated by a life-changing sum, whereas multiple prizes will increase the chances of winning for each person. If you can’t decide which option is right for you, consider the values of your organization and the type of person you think will enter.

How much are the tickets?

Tickets for 50/50 raffles are typically sold for $1, $5 or $10. The lower the ticket price, the larger your pool of prospective donors; the higher the ticket price, the more money you get from each person. There’s a delicate balance to be struck between the two. If you’re unsure where to place your raffle, imagine your target audience member and consider how much of their expendable income they would be comfortable parting with for your cause.

Do you offer discounts?

You can encourage buyers to buy more than a single ticket by offering a discount when they buy multiple tickets. Typically this is a reduced price for an ‘arm’s length’ of tickets (a phrase coined when we used physical tickets), which might be 5 or 10. Alternatively you could offer an extra entry when someone refers a friend, or shares details of your raffle on social media.

How will you use the money?

Whilst it’s not essential to tell participants how your organization will be spending the money, a donor is more likely to give generously if they’re inspired and motivated by your nonprofit and its cause. Help them to understand what their donation will achieve, whether or not they’re a winner. Do this well, and you may even find that winners choose to donate their share of the prize money!

What is the law in my area?

Due to the element of financial risk to the entrant, a fundraising raffle is considered gambling and is therefore bound by legislation specific to your state or province. You should always check the local laws with your area legislator to ensure you understand and comply with the official rules and regulations.

How to Sell Well

When your raffle is up and running, you need to ensure that you keep your audience engaged and connected to your success. Why? Because the more invested they are, the more likely they are to support – be that once, twice and even after your raffle has ended. So use these 3 top tips to keep the tickets flying:

1. Spread the Word

You’ll only sell tickets if people know about your raffle, and you’ll need sustained promotion to ensure the news reaches plenty of people. Don’t assume that one post on social media means that your key audience is now aware. You’ll need to use all of your communications channels in a strategic way to find that sweet spot of effective, respectful promotion.

2. Provide Regular Updates

Let your audience know how close you are to your target or time limit at regular intervals. Tell them what the money raised so far could achieve for them – and for you. Giving tangible examples is a great way to motivate individuals to give and give again, because it allows them to visualise the result: a romantic meal for them, and a new uniform for your sports team; a hotel stay for them, and a new piece of equipment for your local school. Sounds good, right?

3. Make it an event

Even if you’re running your raffle online, you can still take advantage of the excitement and anticipation of a live fundraising event. Many of the things you’d see at live events are transferrable to an online format with a little creative thinking, from a virtual kiosk to a countdown clock and live draw.

Let’s Get Started!

With these top tips you’re ready to run a professional 50/50 raffle and raise funds for your nonprofit.

Looking to make it easy to raise money online with your raffle? Raffle Creator makes it easy. Sign up now and give us a try!

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.