- Entertain: Make giving fun
- Engage: Hold the audience’s attention
- Extract Funds: Keep the focus on fundraising
Raffles and games address all three. These smaller revenue enhancers keep your program interesting and fresh, allow just about everybody to participate, and can raise tens of thousands of dollars for your cause—as long as you keep your main focus on fundraising heavy-hitters, the live auction and fund-a-need.
Today on the blog, get details on how to run 5 popular in-event games:
- 50/50 Raffle
- Jar Reveal
- Champagne & Diamonds
- Strip for a Trip
- Run Around
If you like what you see, download our brand-new Raffles & Games Handbook. We share the nuts and bolts of these plus 18 more ideas, all in a printable and shareable PDF.
Please Note: Raffles, draws, and other games of chance are regulated in many jurisdictions, and illegal in some. Check with your local gaming authority to see if you need a raffle license or permit.
1. 50/50 Raffle 💰
This idea is easy to try out because you don't need to procure a big-ticket prize—the incentive is cash. In a nutshell, you sell raffle tickets at the event. 50 percent of the pot goes to the winner, and 50 percent goes to your organization.
Try coming up with a goal for the prize pot and letting people know how much they could win. For example, you might share at the event, "We're aiming to sell 100 tickets tonight at $20 a ticket, which means you could win $1,000! The more we sell, the more you could win."
Here's a tip from benefit auctioneer Stephen Kilbreath:
“A good auctioneer will get that 50% back from the winner in the live auction. The donor won what feels like free money and is often willing to amp up the bidding on a great item. This turns ‘50/50’ into 100 percent for your cause!"
2. Jar Reveal 🏺
Decorate mason jars according to your event theme or cause; you can use paper, spray paint, knit cozies and more. Inside each jar is a small, folded piece of paper.
After all the jars have been sold, and following a countdown from the emcee, guests open up the jars. On one piece of paper are the words, “Congratulations, you've won the grand prize!” The other pieces of paper may announce smaller prizes or simply say, “Thanks for your support.”
Experiment with other creative holders that fit the theme or your mission, such as planters, pots, lunch boxes, drums, jewelry boxes and wine tumblers.
Here's how benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper found success with this raffle.
“One hundred jars were sold at an event. A local jeweler sponsored the raffle by donating a lovely diamond necklace as the grand prize, plus $100 gift certificates to his store for each of the other ninety-nine jars. One would imagine only a small percentage of the gift certificates were redeemed. Nonetheless, it was a great promotion for this generous business owner.
The hundred jars sold out at $100 each, netting a windfall of $10,000 for this non-profit organization. This can be an entertaining, engaging addition to your event with a high extraction rate.”
This idea combines the momentum of a live auction with the surprise of a raffle.
Ten strips of double-strip tickets are auctioned individually for the chance to win a trip. As soon as the first strip sells, the auctioneer gives the bidder the opportunity to purchase as many of the remaining strips as they want, each at the same price. If there are any strips left, the auction resumes. The process is repeated until all ticket strips are sold. The raffle portion of the ticket strips are deposited into a draw barrel, from which a single ticket is drawn. The person holding the corresponding ticket wins the trip!
Why a strip versus single tickets? Not only does it make the name rhyme - it’s psychological: The more tickets people have in the draw barrel, the higher they perceive their chances of winning.
This raffle works best when there is a great travel package to be won, such as a travel package to New York or Las Vegas. The auction portion is exciting because people can buy a 1-in-10 (or greater) chance of winning this premium prize.
4. Run Around 👟
The Fund-a-Need or special appeal is already an exciting, emotionally charged point of the event. Adding a ‘Run Around’ prize can encourage lower spending capacities to bump up their pledges in hopes of winning the prize.
To do: Offer an incentive prize for the last person that gives at a certain level.
To make a big splash, offering premium prizes—like a ski getaway for 2 to Whistler for the last donor at the $500 level—can generate tens of thousands of dollars in minutes.
5. Champagne & Diamonds 🥂💎
To enter the raffle, guests purchase a glass of champagne for around $100. (Try having champagne glasses engraved with your organization's logo for a beautiful keepsake.)
Attached to each glass is a small pouch, and inside one of the pouches is a real diamond; all others contain a cubic zirconia. At a predetermined time (i.e. when all the glasses have been sold, or at the end of the evening), guests return to the point of purchase where a gemologist is waiting to examine their stone. One lucky winner has the diamond!
Alternatively, you can number each of the champagne glasses and hold a draw to pick the lucky number. In this format, the actual diamond remains on display, eliminating the risk that it could be lost. At the end, guests get to keep the champagne glasses.
Want to try this game for free? Jewelers often like to sponsor this raffle.
Free Download: Raffles & Games Handbook (PDF)
For even more ideas, download our latest resource, the Raffles & Games Handbook. View details on 23 exciting revenue enhancers sure to entertain guests and raise more for your cause.
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