Blog Archives

Mardi Gras offers the perfect venue for a spirited fundraiser

Mardi Gras partyFull of colorful costumes, masquerade balls and parades, delicious foods, and spirited music and dancing, the carnival known as Mardi Gras – held on the day before Ash Wednesday every year – offers lots of fun for everyone. A Mardi Gras party is a great way to say goodbye to the winter blahs and at the same time raise funds for your organization.

As you begin to plan your event, decide how elaborate a party your organization wants (or is able) to hold. The time to delegate responsibilities for what can be a complex event is right at the start. You’ll need volunteers to oversee the following areas: decorating; entertainment; food and drink planning/prep, especially if alcohol will be served; donations and sponsorships; publicity; photographer (for next year’s publicity and event); and the event itself – before, during and after – for setup and takedown.Mardi Gras themed dance

As the best-known Mardi Gras party is held in New Orleans, your menu would certainly be on the mark to include such classic regional foods as po’boys, jambalaya and crawfish in keeping with Big Easy culinary traditions. Keep in mind, however, that communities along the GulfCoast from Texas to Florida hold their own versions of Mardi Gras; so if crawfish aren’t locally available, you can still be true to the spirit of Mardi Gras by serving up surf and turf, shrimp cocktails or other dishes that include seafood. If a culinary school or college is nearby, ask them to volunteer their time in creating a menu.

To help simplify food prep and cleanup (and possibly comply with local codes), you’ll want to secure a venue that includes a kitchen. This would also enable your organization to hold Cajun cooking classes if desired. Potential places include churches, fire halls, restaurants, cafeterias or the meeting house of a civic organization such as the VFW or Lions Club. If you plan to serve alcohol (consider serving mint juleps, bloody marys and hurricanes), be sure that the venue allows it and then secure any necessary permits or licenses.

Decorate the venue with balloons in purple, gold and green, the traditional colors of Mardi Gras. Red light bulbs will add a note of mystery, particularly fun if your hold a masquerade ball or a costume contest during your event. Stock up on beads, which can be found online or in most costume shops, and hang them everywhere possible – including on guests! And don’t forget masks: whether feathered or as simple as the classic Comedy and Tragedy masks, they’ve become widely associated with the carnival.

Mardi Gras party fundraiserEntertainment is key to recreating the joyful spirit of Mardi Gras. Look for a local band that plays zydeco or New Orleans-style jazz or, barring that, blues, bluegrass and/or country. If such a band can’t be found in your area, hire a DJ to play these styles of music. Be sure your venue offers enough room for a live band or a DJ booth before making a commitment.

Find a local celebrity emcee – TV and radio personalities and civic leaders are prime candidates -to host the event. An emcee can keep the celebration lively and moving while playfully reminding your guests about the charity.

Admission tickets should not be overlooked. Mardi Gras is a feast for the senses, and your tickets can (and should) reflect the spirit of fun and revelry with whimsical artwork. Use sequentially numbered tickets not only to help you keep track of how many guests attend, but also to help make it simple to hold a silent auction or raffle during your event. Be sure to offer an exciting grand prize – a trip to New Orleans would be perfect, for example, or dinner at a Cajun restaurant. You could even auction off the title of “Mardi Gras King” (have a robe and scepter ready!) and offer him a small prize or give him the honor of announcing the auction or raffle winners.Mardi Gras fundraiser ticket

Sponsorships are an important part of making the magic happen. You may find that local businesses are willing to sponsor a table or help underwrite your expenses and donate items for a raffle drawing, silent auction or costume contest in exchange for recognition of their generosity.

Download the Mardi Gras Dinner Dance template today and have fun and enjoy a successful Mardi Gras fundraiser!

Share

“How to” video series guides you through expert ticket creation

Whether you’ve been using Raffle Ticket Software for years or if you’re just thinking about trying out the demo version, this “how-to” video series will show you how to make the most of the program.

Part one introduces you to the kinds of tickets you can make with this software and paper.How to video series

Part two is an overview of the software’s controls and explains what the different sections of the ticket are and where to go to make adjustments.

 

The Raffle Ticket Software has been the best thing we have ever purchased. It has worked great for not only raffle tickets but other tickets as well. Thank you for this program!

- Carole

 

Parts three, four and five go into detail about all of the different fonts, colors, and settings you can choose from. Part six shows you how to adjust your printer and the ticket size to make the printed version come out just the way you want it.

We’d appreciate it if you could give our videos a review and leave a quick comment. Please feel free to contact us at service@harvestamerican.com or call 800-944-9526 if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Share

Find out how to save $6 – $20 on ticket paper orders

Secret sale
Average savings on most orders – Offer good through May 31, 2013 only.

Share

Offer golden tickets as an incentive for purchasing extra tickets

Easter Egg Hunt FundraiserWe all know that the success or failure of raffles as fundraisers hinges on how many tickets you sell, how much you ask for them, how hard you have to work to sell them, and how much the prizes cost you.

It’s common practice to offer a discount to encourage people to purchase more than one ticket, such as $1 for 1 ticket and $2 for 3 tickets. This up-sell method is effective because it’s easy for the purchaser to see how their odds of winning improve exponentially.

Another great tactic to sell more tickets to each purchaser is to offer an added bonus such as a golden ticket. Marketing studies show a remarkable increase in sales when “something for nothing” bonuses are used.

Golden ticket

A golden ticket can be offered free of charge as an incentive to anyone who purchases a certain number of tickets. The golden ticket doesn’t increase their chance of winning, but if the drawing winner happens to have a golden ticket, their prize is automatically increased. Whether you offer a greater cash prize, an extra prize, or a combination, golden tickets are a great way to encourage supporters to spend more money on your raffle, saving your selling teams time and effort.

I don’t recommend that you number these tickets, because these tickets will not be placed in the drawing box. The contestant who purchases a required number of regular, numbered tickets will be given the golden ticket as a bonus. This ticket is not eligible to win anything in and of itself, but, if the winner holds one of these gems, their prize is increased by a determined amount.

Generally, you’ll only need to print a few sheets of golden tickets since a perception of scarcity can make them seem that much more valuable.

Make sure your regular ticket clearly states how many tickets must be purchased to qualify for a golden ticket. In this example, for each 6 tickets purchased entitle the purchaser to one golden ticket. If one of the golden ticket holders wins the drawing they will receive two Easter baskets. You can also print the regular tickets in stack order so that you can staple them into consequtively numbered booklets of 6 with one golden ticket each.

Easter basket giveaway

For a limited time, if you purchase any regular package of perforated ticket paper from us, we will include a few sheets of the goldenrod stock with your order for free. Just write “golden ticket” in the Comments section of the shopping cart and we’ll make sure you get some with your order.

You can download the template to make this ticket and matching golden ticket at our web site.

Share

How to make Raffle Ticket booklet covers

Raffle Ticket enthusiasts Ashley and Frances, from Australia, sent me a nice e-mail with a great idea about making covers for raffle ticket booklets that I wanted to share with you. See the steps outlined below:

In this example let’s assume we’re printing a total of 250 tickets and we’re going to staple them into booklets of 10 each, for a total of 25 booklets.

A) Print your tickets: 

St. Patrick's Day 50-50 Raffle Ticket

Sample St. Patrick’s Day 50-50 Raffle Ticket

1) Design your normal ticket and in the Numbering Specification tab, select  ”Numbering Style: Stack Order”, “Numbering Order: Descending”. “Starting Number” would then be 250 and “Total Ticket Quantity: 250″. This will print a total of 32 sheets.

2) Now, when you print the tickets, they will be stacked in consecutive order so you can cut them apart, put them together in stacks of 10, and they’ll be in order from lowest to highest number.

 

B. Make a cover:

Ticket booklet with cover

Sample ticket booklet with a numbered cover

1) In the Ticket Design Panel delete any extra information you don’t want on the cover.

2) In Stub Design you can un-check everything under enable, or you can leave in helpful information like “If found, please call 555-555-5555″.

3) In Numbering Specification, delete all from starting number, ticket quantity and no. of digits.  This will give you a blank stub and just allow the main words on the cover to appear.    This will only show one ticket with the information.  You will then have to put in the ticket quantity i.e. the number of covers you want.

4) If you don’t want to number the booklets, you can put zero in the “Number of Digits” area. If you want to number the booklets to make it easier to track who is selling which ones, just  change “”Numbering Style: Single Sheet Order”, “Numbering Order: Ascending”. “Starting Number” would then be 1 and “Total Ticket Quantity: 25″, “Number of Digits: 3″. This will print a total of 4 sheets.

5) You can use a different color paper if you want. Card stock makes nice, durable covers for booklets made on bond stock which is lighter and easier to staple through.

Share

Raffle Tickets as classroom rewards

There are times when a chance of winning a prize is as effective as the prize itself

Classroom reward tickets

Teachers can give raffle tickets to students as a reward for good behavior. The more tickets a child earns, the greater their chance of winning the reward.

A creative way to reward students in a classroom setting is through the use of raffle tickets. Tickets can used in a variety of ways to help kids maintain or improve their focus and behavior during class time and even encourage them to think outside the box.

Whenever you witness a desired behavior, reward that student with a raffle ticket (or more, if you like). It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly trivial that behavior is – if you’d likely see more of it, reward it with a ticket!

Announce that at the end of the day or the week, you will collect all the tickets that have been given out and will draw a single ticket from a box at random to select a winner. Kids will enjoy the feel-good factor of creating a cache of tickets, knowing that the more tickets they revive, the better their chances of winning the prize.

You can decide whether your students will need more than one ticket to enter the drawing. If a child has not received enough raffle tickets in the established timeframe, he or she is excluded from the current prize draw but can try again the following day or week.

Some examples of prizes include 10 minutes of free computer time, a one-day late homework pass, a candy bar … the possibilities are limitless.

Another idea is to give students 2 raffle tickets to start the day, but they can’t write their names on their tickets until the end of the day. Students can also earn tickets for staying on task or doing excellent work. If they break a classroom rule, take a ticket away. At the end of the day, collect all the tickets and do a drawing for a small prize, class money, or a treat.

The tickets can also be used as “bonus points.” A ticket is given as a reward for making a good decision in class, doing extra work, etc. If a student with bonus points finds that he or she didn’t receive quite as high a grade as desired on a homework assignment or quiz, the bonus points can be redeemed to help boost the grade by a point or two.

If you print the tickets yourself, you can create unique tickets that aren’t easily duplicated and are individualized to suit the type of reward. Include space for a checkmark or other indication that you’ve issued the ticket and that it’s authentic and ready for use.

Share

Important information to have on your tickets

Make a checklist of what a participant will need to knowTicket making checklist

Last time, we looked at the building blocks of raffle tickets that wow – quality perforated paper, brilliant ink and paper colors and raffle ticket software that offers a template so you can design and print your own tickets. Let’s not forget the nuts and bolts: the information you simply must have for a successful event.

Keep and refer to a checklist of what a participant will need to know about your event. A good raffle ticket will provide the drawing’s name, location and date; the cost of the ticket; and your organization name and contact information – especially if the entrant need not be present to win the prize. Consider including a brief (one- or two-line) description of the prize or prizes, as space allows.

Don’t forget to select the font or typeface for the information you will print on the ticket. This is an important step because different fonts can evoke different emotions – some whimsical and fun, others serious. Check your computer’s system to see what fonts you have installed and which are best suited to reflect the tone of your drawing.

Be sure to give some thought to the overall appearance of the ticket. An attractive design can be created by using your organization or event logo as a focal point of the ticket to add visual interest. Additional artwork can be used to complement a logo, but avoid creating a cluttered look that distracts from the drawing information.

If you’re working with a template from raffle ticket software, check to see whether you’re able to upload an image or logo from your computer onto the ticket and follow the instructions provided.

These guidelines also apply to the ticket stub. While the stub is, by definition, the smallest portion of the ticket, by no means does that make it any less important than the main part of the ticket. After all, it’s the part you retain for the drawing itself – without it, you can’t choose a winner! You’ll need the ticketholder’s name and contact information, including phone number and/or e-mail address, at a minimum.

Don’t forget to number the tickets! Good raffle ticket software will allow you to number the tickets forward or backward sequentially with the start number of your choice, so if you want to start with No. 123 and end with No. 3465, you can. Best of all is software that tells you exactly how many total pages of tickets you will be printing out based on how many tickets you need, and print them out in stack or single-sheet order. No more unpleasant surprises!

Have fun designing your raffle tickets, and may your next event be a great success!

Share

How to design great raffle tickets

Raffle ticket templates make ticket design a snap

We’ve all seen those cheap strips of raffle tickets you can get at the dollar store: skinny, numbered, plain gray tickets with no personality, no pizzazz. A personalized ticket, however, can do more than just help your organization raise money in a raffle or admit customers to a special event.

Creating raffle tickets that impress is easy and doesn’t require the expense and hassle of a print shop – no more submitting event information to the printer and no more waiting for the proofs to come in to see whether any errors were made. As long as you have a computer and a printer, you’ve got what it takes.

Well … almost.

You need paper. And not just any paper – you need good paper.

Designing great raffle tickets is easy when you use templates

 

A well-designed and well-thought-out ticket on quality paper can become memorabilia for the ticketholder and speak volumes on behalf of your organization itself. With the right paper, you have the ability to take your event to the next level.

Different weights of raffle ticket paper lend themselves to different uses. Durable paper like 67 lb. vellum card stock, for example, is a great choice for a drawing in which the winner need not be present to win, as the ticket is made of tough paper similar to that used for index cards and is likely to survive a trip home folded in a wallet or jammed into a pocket.

Forget the old-fashioned paper cutter of yore – insist on perforated raffle ticket paper. One hallmark of high-quality paper for raffle tickets is the use of perforations along the ticket edges to deliver clean, neat edges and easy separation. Another sign of quality is the availability of color options. Canary yellow, pink, sky blue … an eye-catching ticket design begins with rich paper color.

Speaking of color – black ink is tried and true, but to add pop to your tickets consider adding a splash of color. The trick is to know what print colors work well with what paper colors. How can you be sure you’ve chosen colors wisely?

The quick answer: Use a template. Good raffle ticket software offers a variety of templates that let you design the tickets yourself and let your creative juices flow. And having raffle ticket templates you can download and save directly onto your computer means your design is always right there at your fingertips when you need it. That inevitable nightmare – trying to make last-minute changes – becomes a thing of the past when you use a template that’s parked on your computer.

If you design and print a page of raffle tickets, only to decide that canary yellow paper and magenta text just weren’t meant to be together after all, you can go right into the document and choose a different color. And if you’re in the middle of the drawing and realize you need another 400 tickets, all you need to do is print out 400 more tickets – no panicked phone calls to a print shop that might not be open for business that day.

Next time, we’ll look at the nitty-gritty of raffle ticket design: the information you must have on your tickets for a successful event.

Share

Successful Fundraisers Hinge On Smart Goals

How did your last raffle go?  Were you happy with the amount of money you raised?  If not, you may think that raffles aren’t the best way for your organization to raise funds.

But hold on.  Ask yourself, what part of the fund raising went poorly?  Was it that not enough tickets were sold?  Were they priced too low, or too high?  Did you factor in the cost of the prizes, the cost of the ticket making and the cost of the drawing event itself?  Did you even have a dollar amount in mind when you started?

Many times, a disappointing result to a raffle fundraiser can be blamed squarely on a lack of planning from the outset.

Know How Much Money You Need to Raise:

Sure, that sounds straightforward, but it’s more than just the cost of the thing you are trying to raise money for.  You need to factor in the additional costs you’ll incur in the fund raising itself.

Here’s a list of costs to factor in:

  • Money needed for project = $10,275 roof repair estimate
  • Cost of the prizes = $1,348 for gift baskets, gift certificates, vacation package
  • Cost of the tickets = $120 for 7 packs of perforated bond paper
  • Cost of advertising = $827 for 10 radio commercials, 2 newspaper ads, 500 posters
  • Cost of selling the tickets = $75 for gas receipts, bag lunches
  • Cost of holding the drawing party = $175 for 8 pizzas, punch, cookies

Suddenly, you realize that you need to raise 25% more than you originally bargained for.  I can guarantee you’ll be disappointed in the results if a quarter of your profits disappear in overhead costs.

As intimidating as these numbers can look on paper, it’s very manageable so long as you plan for the extra costs in advance.

Find the Right Price for Each Ticket:

The face value of your tickets will have a huge influence on how many tickets you sell.  It’s also a big determiner of how and where you’ll have the best success selling them.

If you have high-value items to raffle off, you can obviously ask a higher face price for each ticket.  If you have a car or house as a prize, for example, you won’t have trouble asking $20 or even $100 for each ticket.

Mid-value prizes – like snowmobiles or guns – can still get high face values if you limit the number of tickets sold and make that a clear selling point.

More humble prizes, like gift certificates or baskets, limit the interest any given individual will have in winning – even if you have many prizes to raffle off, thereby increasing the odds of winning.  The odds of winning do come into play in a prospective purchaser’s mind, but usually as a secondary factor, so chances are that the individual will have made up their mind to purchase or not to purchase before they consider the odds.

Target Your Market:

You might have a tough time selling a $20 ticket from a table in front of a grocery store as shoppers hurry to their cars.  That same ticket would be much easier to sell at work, on payday, after you’ve told all your coworkers about the raffle days in advance and shown them photos of the prize.

Always keep in mind what kind of cash purchasers are likely to have on hand.  And save yourself headaches by choosing whole dollar amounts so you don’t have to lug around a bunch of change.

$1, $2, and $5 tickets usually sell without too much trouble.  If you get into larger face values, you should be prepared to either accept personal checks or wait until the prospect has a chance to go get cash (and possibly lose the sale).

And don’t overlook the chance to up-sell.  If your tickets are $2 each, or 3 or $5, many people jump at the chance to save a dollar.  Meanwhile, if you don’t offer the deal, you’ll have fewer customers buying two or more tickets.

Quality Depends on Price, or Visa Versa:

Now that you have an idea what face value you can ask for your raffle tickets, calculate how many tickets you’ll need to sell.

Let’s say you think you can sell a lot of tickets if you can keep the face value down to $2 each.  You estimate that you’ll need to raise at least $12,808.  $12,808/$2 = 6,404 tickets.  Right away, you’ll be able to set a sales goal of 6,500 tickets.

Harvest American’s perforated papers come in 1,000-ticket packs, so if you buy 7 packs, you’ll be able to print 7,000 tickets.  You’ll also save on shipping because you’re buying all of your paper at one time, plus your order will qualify for a 20% volume discount!  7,000 is a reasonable goal, and it gives you enough extra to cover the up-selling deals of 3 for $5.  (Remember, if you plan to sell more tickets,  you’ll need to cover the cost of the extra paper).

What if you decide that there’s no way you’ll be able to sell 7,000 tickets?  Could you sell 3,000?  If so, you’d need to ask $4.25 each.  But, that’s not a convenient round number, so maybe you should ask $5 each and try to sell at least 2,500. 

Once you break it down, the goals are less intimidating.  You’ll gain confidence as you see how sales are progressing and you’ll be able to make adjustments to your tactics if you see that sales are lagging.

With just that much forethought and preparation, you’re guaranteed to enjoy much more success.

Happy raffling!

View: Lucinda’s Google+ profile

 

Share

Printing tips from the “sadder but wiser” files

Frustrated at printerHas this ever happened to you?

You’ve spent a lot of time organizing your raffle information. You have the “who, what, where, when, and why’s” written down and ready to put on your ticket. You enter all that information into the Raffle Ticket design panel and you change the fonts dozens of times until you are happy with the effect.

You find a cute piece of clip art that goes really well with your ticket’s theme and you manage to squeeze it in without messing up your text. You even remember to double check the spelling and you catch a mistake that would have been seriously embarrassing if it had gotten printed.

You get the stubs designed just the way you want them and you are proud of yourself for figuring out how to make the numbers print in descending order so that the ticket with No. 00001 will come out on the top of the stack.

You send the job to your printer and get up to grab your keys – you’re off to treat yourself to a celebratory mocha latte – when you glance down at the first couple of pages coming off the printer. Everything comes to a screeching halt. Your jaw drops open in horror as you realize that part of the numbers are being cut off at the left side of the paper!

You leap back into your chair from halfway across the room, sending the cat scrambling up the drapes in a panic. You knock the mouse onto the floor and have to fish it back up by the cord. You frantically search for the nearly microscopic printer icon in the system tray in a vain effort to cancel the printing job. After long seconds, you finally manage to open the printer control panel and hit “cancel” 40 times in rapid succession, spraining your index finger in the process.

Time seems to come to a standstill as page after page keep coming out of the printer. You watch in growing despair as your limited supply of perforated paper is wasted. Finally, in an act of desperation, you yank the remaining paper out of the printer causing a hopeless paper jam and the generation of dozens of passive-aggressive messages from your printer.

You slowly come to the realization that you won’t have enough paper left to print your tickets, and there isn’t time to order more. You hang your head in shame…

OK, so this is all a bit melodramatic, but it has happened, and I have to admit that its happened to me. Embarrassing as it is, at least I walked away a little smarter.

The first thing I learned is to respect my printer’s margins. Every printer is a little different, but most printers are unable to print right up to the edge of the paper. Read your printer’s documentation and do a little experimenting before you start printing your tickets so that you know how much space you need to leave around all the sides. Realize, too, that the margins might be different for each side. It might be 1/4″ on the left and a full 1/2″ on the right. You might need to do a couple of tests to get the tickets centered nicely.

Secondly, the Printer Adjustment Panel is your friend! Located in the Ticket/Printer Adjustment menu, the Printer Adjustment Panel has two tabs which allow you to manipulate how the tickets will be placed on the paper. The Print Nudge tab allows you to move the tickets up and down and left to right. The Print Size tab allows you to scale the tickets from 80% to 104% horizontally and vertically.

 

Adjustment for Printer
It’s always good idea to take the time to check out the Print Preview and scroll through a few pages to make sure your numbers are behaving the way you expect them to.

Lastly, I make it a practice to print one test sheet before I send the whole job to the printer. It’s easy to do and you don’t even have to change your number setup. All you have to do is go to Print and change the Print Range from “All” to “Page” and type in “1 to 1″. If everything looks good, you can go to Print again and make the Page Range “2 to … however many pages are in the job.”

I hope my printing misfortunes will at least have one benefit – that of saving you from the same sad fate. If not, at least you can’t say you weren’t warned …

View Lucinda’s Google+ profile

Share