The last instalment of the Guide to Running a Successful Raffle provided you with a Raffle Planner Guide that can help you organise your time and make sure your event runs as smoothly as possible. Within that plan is sourcing your raffle prizes, which is what Part 4 discusses in more detail; how to ask for prize donations, who to ask for donations and raffle prize ideas to inspire you.
Your raffle prizes are at the core of your raffle event and will determine the amount of tickets sold and the price at which you can sell them. Relevant, attractive prizes will obviously sway your supporters to buy more tickets and it will also allow you to charge a higher price for each ticket. A great ballpoint is to sell tickets at £1 and hope each individual buys a book of tickets (books of 5). This is more than achievable if your prizes are high quality and relevant to your audience.
A great tip is to source your raffle prizes as if you were buying a gift for a friend or family member. Think of things that will be useful to your audience but also something they wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves to make the prize more luxurious.
We have a great blog post detailing some great prize inspiration to help you at your next event. There are a few go-to prizes that will always be a success at a raffle, including hampers (usually themed around the event or season) alcohol, sweet treats, cash and vouchers. It’s always a good idea to think of services and experiences as well as products. For example, beauty treatments, sky diving experience, cooking lesson, chauffeur for the day or B&B vacation. One-off or bespoke products / services are always a winner and can help you charge a premium price for your raffle tickets. Think about potentially sourcing celebrity signed goods (sports personalities, musicians, presenters etc), a bespoke painting by a local artist or even a behind the scenes tour at a film, radio or TV set.
To keep costs low, raffle fundraisers rely heavily on donations, but it’s not always easy to ask. So we’ve listed a few top tips and advice to make the process easier.
You need to begin by thinking about who you’re going to contact. We believe that there are 4 areas of people you can ask and the first place to start is your existing supporters. People who already actively support your charity or cause that may be willing to donate products or services. This could be businesses who already donate money or regularly attend your events. This could be parents of pupils who could bring in unwanted gifts to raffle off at your fundraiser or it could be your volunteers or staff.
Then you should start to ask your own contacts, your friends and family. Send out a post on Facebook and people tend to know others with businesses or unwanted goods that can help towards your prizes.
The next point of call is local businesses. Local, independently run companies tend to have the time to listen and respond to your requests and often love to help out with local charities and events, especially because it’s free publicity for them. Don’t hesitate to try every businesses down the high street, local restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, clothing stores, cinemas, butchers, gift shops etc.
The last place to look is your big brands and chain stores. These prizes are usually the most sort after but they tend to be the most difficult to source because larger companies don’t have the time to respond to your emails. But try your local high street shops, pubs, restaurants, attractions etc.
Once you have your contact list of people, the next stage is to think about how you’re going to approach them.
The key thing here is to know exactly what you’re asking for. Be to the point and straight forward. They can only say yes or no, so everyone is worth asking. Be informative about your cause and purpose and be sure to ask a clear question.
Then you must decide whether you should email them, call them or go in to see them face-to-face. Asking for any sort of donation applies the same process so it worth taking a look at our blog post on whether sending a fundraising letters is a thing of the past. It discusses alternative ways in which you can contact people to grab their attention and persuade them to donate.
When asking for raffle prizes the process may be slightly simpler as your often looking for local help. This means you’re able to approach them face-to-face, which will allow you to communicate your message effectively giving that personal touch that an email wouldn’t have. Just remember to be clear, polite and thankful.
If you’ve have had no responses then don’t hesitate to follow up your request. If you called them the first time, send them an email. If you popped into see them, just drop them an email to remind them of what you discussed.
The most important follow up is a thank you note. Always show your appreciation for their time and gift. You may even want to include them on your social media channels, newsletter or notice board to thank your supporters for their kind donations, which could actually inspire your supporters to donate again.
The next instalment in our guide is Part 5 – is your raffle legal? Make sure you’re clear and up to date on all the legal requirements of running a raffle.