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Tips for Hosting a Successful Raffle

You can incorporate various creative revenue streams into your nonprofit fundraiser, and one of our favorite ones is a raffle. Raffles are often great money makers at events, because they create excitement  and engage your guests. Here are our tips for hosting a successful raffle at your next event.

A Raffle License: A Necessary First Step

Are you expecting to raise more than $5,000 through your raffle? Then you might need a raffle license, depending on your state. Visit your state’s gambling commission website to determine if you need a license and to apply for one if you do. In Washington State, if your raffle proceeds exceed $5000 or if you are holding more than one raffle per year, then you do need a raffle license. In addition, if you are planning to offer a discount on multiple raffle tickets, you must have a raffle license. In other words, you can’t offer one ticket for $25 or five for $100 unless you have a raffle license in Washington State. Finally, if you do have a license, you must report to the state quarterly and you must keep the actual winning ticket from your raffle until the year is over. 

Once you receive your license, you are ready to start selling raffle tickets. 

Cocktail Hour Raffle 

Assign volunteers to sell raffle tickets to guests during the cocktail hour. Volunteers should be mobile and outgoing, as they will be walking around and approaching people. It takes an enthusiastic volunteer to sell tickets!  Provide your volunteers with a clipboard and raffle bid sheets so they can keep track of sales. We recommend attaching a photo and description of the raffle item to the back of the clipboard so your volunteers can share a picture or details of the awesome raffle prize with guests. Finally, to make your raffle volunteers stand out, tie balloons to their clipboards.

We recommend not providing guests with a raffle ticket. Instead, raffle ticket sellers should record the guest’s name and bid number on the raffle recording sheets. Once the tickets are sold, have your event volunteers or staff write the bid numbers on tickets and place them into a bowl for the drawing during the program. By not giving out actual raffle tickets, guests do not have to worry about losing their ticket or trying to find it at the end of the night.

A raffle prize should be something that is universal and something that the majority of the people in the room would pay for a chance to win. Your cocktail raffle prize should be between $1000 to $5000 for a successful raffle which raises a significant amount of money. 

Raffle Indicators

When guests purchase raffle tickets, they should get something in return, such as a blinky ring, colorful beads, or a blinking lapel pin. This not only allows the volunteers to know who has already purchased tickets, but it also creates a bit of “FOMO” for your guests: “What is that awesome blinking item, and why am I missing out!”

Bid card raffle  

A newer approach to generating revenue is to conduct a bid card raffle. The prize should be about ten times the value of the raffle cost. For example, if the bid card raffle costs $25 to participate, then the prize should be at least $250 or more. 

At the end of the program, when guests don’t need their bid cards anymore, ask them to raise their cards if they want to be included in the raffle.  Then have your volunteers do a sweep of the room and collect the cards to draw the winner. Everyone who hands in their bid card is charged the raffle fee to participate. To showcase their participation at the event, have your board or event chair draw the winning raffle ticket on stage.

If you want to learn more about how to incorporate a successful raffle into your next fundraiser, click on the link below to set up a 30 minute consultation call!


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