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Event Spotlight: How a Special "Trip of a Lifetime" Raffle Raised $32,000 for Ohio Nonprofit LifeAct

Posted by Summy Lau


LifeAct, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention education, partnered with Winspire to reserve once-in-a-lifetime Experiences for their annual raffle.

  • $32,000 raised from raffle
  • Over 300 tickets sold
  • Proceeds contribute to 1,354 students coming forward to seek help last year

Since 1992, LifeAct’s mission has been to prevent suicide by educating young people to recognize the symptoms of depression and seek professional help. They send trained, credentialed instructors into middle and high schools throughout Northeast Ohio to teach their program, Recognizing Teen Depression and Preventing Suicide, at no cost to schools.

With 24 years of experience working in and leading nonprofits, Mary McKenna joined LifeAct as a Development Director in 2014. One of her first tasks: helping to revamp the popular Links for Life Golf Tournament, one of LifeAct's two biggest annual fundraisers. Though the tournament frequently sold out for the past 17 years, Mary sought fresh ideas to make the event even more successful.

Winner's Choice Fundraising Raffle

Mary and the development team considered complementing the golf tournament with a raffle. When they looked into big-ticket prizes that would interest the most people, travel seemed like a great option.

LifeAct_Social_Media_fb_post-1.png“One of the challenges I find when planning charity events is making sure people truly enjoy themselves,” Mary explains. “So when I learned about consignment travel, I thought it was such a cool thing. People are free to have fun during the event. You save a ton of time not having to get those items yourself. Plus, the raffle allowed people who couldn't attend to still support our cause.”

With help from Winspire, Mary set up a "Trip of a Lifetime" Winner's Choice raffle. She reserved several vacation packages she knew would entice many donors: Scotland Championship Golf Experience, Opulent Escape to Paris, Fairmont Barbados Luxury Getaway and NASCAR Driver for a Day.

The LifeAct team spread the word about the raffle on their website and Facebook page, and soon enough, ticket sales were booming.

"Sometimes in development, you feel like you’re asking people for more, more, more," Mary says. "This time, the raffle tickets sold themselves."

The team decided to limit ticket sales to just 350 and select two winners, which generated more buzz about the trips and ended up raising an unprecedented $32,000 for the organization on top of funds generated from the tournament itself. Even better, generous raffle sponsorships (businesses underwriting the cost of the trips) allowed more of the proceeds to go directly to the organization.

“The winners ended up choosing Paris and Scotland,” recalls Mary. “Personally, I would be in Barbados!”


Student volunteers, participants and instructors at LifeAct's annual Into the Light Walk at Cleveland Metropolitan Zoo

An added bonus of partnering with Winspire was the level of service received by both Mary and the winning ticket holders. “My event consultant, Corrine, was fabulous," Mary says. "She answered every question I had and was always very kind and helpful. Now I feel like I could do this in my sleep."

She noted that winners returned home from their trips saying the service, amenities and overall trip experience were "absolutely first-class," leaving these major donors with a great impression of both the event and organization.

“That’s a really good sign. It seems like people have come to expect Winspire at our events.”

The funds raised by the raffle helped LifeAct's suicide prevention program reach over 20,000 students last year alone, and encouraged 1,354 students to come forward seeking help after the program.

For more information on LifeAct, visit


For more information on reserving no-risk Winspire Experiences for your upcoming fundraising raffle, plus a free easy-to-use raffle guide and templates, click here.

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Summy Lau
Summy Lau
As Fundraising Editor, Summy brings hands-on experience in nonprofit development, event fundraising, publishing, copywriting and design to Winspire News. She creates blog content, infographics, templates, eBooks and other resources to help fundraising professionals and volunteers exceed their fundraising goals. Her two favorite perks of working at Winspire: hearing nonprofit success stories and dreaming of new bucket list destinations.

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