Top 10 Raffle Mistakes


Raffles are a tried and trusted fundraising method that have reportedly been in use since the widow of Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck raffled off her late husband’s artwork in 1446. But despite the longstanding dependable nature of the humble raffle, there are some pitfalls that are best avoided if you want to have a profitable and stress-free raffle experience. To help you on your way, here’s our top 10 list of raffle mistakes you should definitely avoid.


Mistake 1 – Crappy prizes  (even if they are donated)

Even if the hair straightener and weekend basket-weaving retreat were provided by some generous donors, rest assured you will sell more tickets with better prizes. Sure you will find some die-hard supporters that will buy a ticket even if first prize was a jar of fresh air. Unfortunately, not many others will. Donated prizes are great, so long as they are desirable to a larger audience. Getting great prizes donated is easy when you know how……check out our tips here.


Mistake 2 – Too many prizes

Research has shown that more people will buy tickets if there are fewer but better prizes. It’s nice that your chances are increased, but it’s tough to get your buyers excited about that 52nd placed lavender candle or $4 bottle of plonk.


Mistake 3 – Not having enough sellers

Newsflash… don’t sell themselves. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your crew for help selling tickets. Ask them to reach out to their family and friends, this is definitively a case of many hands making light work.


Mistake 4 – Having the wrong timeline

Don’t let your raffle drag on. Yes, you want to maximise ticket sales, but there is a point in time in which sales slow down to a trickle. Create urgency by calculating how many sellers you have and how many tickets they each need to sell with a firm end date.


Mistake 5  – Keeping it a secret

Posting once on Facebook and telling your neighbour you’re running a raffle will not exactly set the world on fire. Use multiple social media platforms and post regularly with updates on how the raffle is going. Make sure all of your sellers and organisation members like, share and comment. Maybe create your own TikTok dance and go viral.


Mistake 6 – Not linking the ticket to the cause

People are far more likely to buy a ticket when they know exactly what the money will be used for. Whether it’s new jerseys for the junior rugby team or a new leg for a military hero… specific and clear with your message. Support increases when people feel connected to the outcome.


Mistake 7 – Using the wrong messaging

The research is clear, people are more likely to respond to a cause with a positive message and uplifting photos. Resist the temptation of trying to shock with graphic images and brutal messaging. The reality is, people respond more favourably to a smiling person being helped out of hardship rather than images of people in hardship. Messaging that promotes strong outcomes will always trump messaging that generates guilt.


Mistake 8 – Assuming your crew will sell their tickets without encouragement

You may have the raffle front and centre in your mind, but trust me, many of your sellers won’t. Some of them would prefer a trip to the dentist rather than soliciting ticket sales. Make sure there is plenty of encouragement along the way.

  • Follow up and praise your sellers, especially those who have gone above and beyond.
  • Keep that ‘dinner for two’ aside for the best seller as a thank you.
  • Create a Messenger or WhatsApp group to keep your sellers informed with how the raffle is tracking.

A little bit of communication and encouragement will go a long way with ticket sales.


Mistake 9 – Not offering bonus tickets

Research has shown that people will spend more when bonus tickets are available. If McDonald’s sees the value of up-selling, then so should you. The simple rule of thumb is to offer 3 times the amount of tickets for double the cost then increase from there. 1 ticket for $5 / 3 tickets for $10 / 7 tickets for $20……


Mistake 10 – Not harnessing digital technology

Getting tickets printed and filling them out by hand is so 2019, and it’s a massive hassle to arrange ticket printing. Too many tickets and you waste money. Not enough, and you miss out on sales. Don’t be nostalgic, move to the cutting edge of raffle tech by Googling ‘online raffles’ and bask in the amazingness of digital fundraising. There are some pretty cool offerings out there, but of course BOLSTA RAFFLES (coming soon) is the go to digital raffle solution.


We wish you all the very best in your fundraising efforts.


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