Has Technology Really Enhanced the Humble Raffle?


I get it, we’re in the digital age, but some things become diminished when transformed to a purely digital product. In my opinion, the humble raffle is a shining example of this.

This time-honoured institution of fundraising has been trusted ever since the widow of Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck raffled off his paintings in 1446. It has been a go-to fundraising method for countless not-for-profit groups, and for centuries remained unchanged.

The equation was always simple. Print enough raffle books to hand out to your crew. The number of tickets in the book represented the target and number of tickets they were expected to sell.

With the recent arrival of the internet combined with the ability to promote on social media giants like Facebook, the raffle has jumped into the 21st century.


But at what cost?

Digital raffle sharing is quick and requires less effort than selling tickets the traditional way – but it’s also less personal, easier for people to decline, disregard or put off until later.

Once seen as a novel cry for help. Online requests for support have now become a common occurrence. Creating apathy towards digital fundraising, making it harder to engage and connect people to your cause.

Truthfully, how many digital fundraising requests have you deleted or simply ignored?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a technophobe. In fact, I’m the opposite, I welcome technology. But despite the efforts, this giant of fundraising is still short of reaching its digital potential.


So what’s missing?

Traditionally, you started a raffle by printing ticket books and handing them out to your crew. Players for a sporting group, parents of school children or volunteers for charities, all were invited to do their part and fundraise towards the desired goal.

This was the way the raffle economy worked, and it worked very well for many years. Handing out raffle books with a sincere request to help sell them represented a physical transaction and an expectation to ‘do your part’.

This simple but powerful process connects others to your cause. Each volunteer then connects with their circles, enabling the raffle to reach far and wide. It also gave you a way to engage with people you may not know, sharing books with partners to sell in their workplace or doing a few loops of your local footy game always supercharged the raffle. 


The power of face to face selling

Fundraising is a heart based activity which can be very difficult to express through digital means. Much of our communication is done nonverbally and subconsciously. According to Albert Mehrabian, our emotions and feelings are interpreted through these three elements:

  • 7% is the actual words used
  • 38% is tone of voice
  • 55% is facial expression

The shift from face-to face to online raffles has diminished our ability to make powerful connections impacting ticket sales.

According to the ‘Harvard Business Review’ research states a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than an email.

To put that in perspective, you would need to blast out more than 200 emails to match 6 face-to-face requests.

This is the power of a traditional raffle run to its highest potential. A committed crew with a book of raffle tickets was 34 times more effective than the digital alternative.

These are remarkable statistics and they increase significantly when selling to family or friends, which is usually the case when a person sells raffle tickets.


So where does that leave us?

Do we go back to using traditional paper based raffles?

I don’t think so. As I said earlier, I’m all for digital raffles. Instead, the solution is one that incorporates both the efficiency of digital raffles and the effectiveness of the traditional raffle. Harnessing the power of sharing through social media while enabling face-to-face selling……


We’ve put our money where our mouths are and have built a raffle platform like no other…..


Why go through the hassle of organising a raffle, when you can simply join one?

"Bolsta Raffles helped us raise $33,590 and we didn't have to outlay a cent"
- Rikki P (Junior Illawarriors)

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