Category Archives: Raffle ideas

Experience raffles are worth more than money

When it comes to fundraisers, it’s fun to offer something different. If your organization is looking for an unusual drawing, think about experience raffles.

At first glance, this drawing looks much like many others: you print out your customized raffle tickets and sell them throughout the community. What makes this type of event unique is that the prizes aren’t tangible. Instead, entrants enter to win the chance to do or participate in something they’ll never forget.

Fire Truck ride reward

Experience raffle prizes don’t have to have a dollar value. A ride on a fire truck or other once-in-a-lifetime experience can be just as rewarding.

Some examples of popular experience raffles include being in your local school’s homecoming parade – imagine how much fun it would be to ride on one of the floats! A grand prize winner could be given the opportunity to punt the football at the big game or wear the school mascot costume during a heated match against a rival team.

Another idea is to coordinate with your local fire department and raffle off a chance to ride in a fire truck – the winner might even be given a tour of the firehouse and a chance to eat with the firefighters. If your town’s mayor, town supervisor or other governmental administrator is popular, lunch with a local dignitary could be a prize as well.

An experience prize could even be something a little more practical. For example, you could raffle off the opportunity to have members of your organization mow the winner’s lawn or perform other yard work, help pack up for moving day, etc.

Experience raffles are an excellent way to help organizations raise funds without requiring a large investment in cash or prizes prior to the drawing. It also offers members of the community the chance to have fun doing something they never thought they’d be able to do. So have fun and give an experience raffle a try!

Fundraising opportunities abound at summertime cookouts

outdoor grillFather’s Day gatherings make for perfect fundraising opportunities

With the month of June come Father’s Day and the first official days of summer – warm, sunny days that are perfect for cookouts and outdoor fun. Your organization can host a barbecue and serve up delicious food and games for the whole family.

Consider how many volunteers will be needed to take care of setup, breakdown, cooking and cleanup. You’ll also need a small team of volunteers to arrange advertising for the event. It’s a good idea to work with your local police or constabulary to help direct traffic in and out of parking areas during the barbecue and coordinate with firefighters and emergency services personnel as a precaution. And be sure to comply with all local health department requirements and to obtain any necessary permits in advance of the barbecue.

community cookout

Community-wide cookouts can be a great fundraising opportunity for your organization this summer.

In return for free advertising in your event’s promotional materials and advertising, local businesses such as grocery stores and event planners may donate the use of items such as large tents, tables, silverware, and commercial-style grills and coolers that are sufficient to keep perishable foods fresh and ready to cook. Tailor the menu to local tastes and your budget; consider offering cold salads, snacks, beverages and desserts as well as the grilled meats.

Food is the main event at a barbecue, but family-friendly games such as bocce, badminton and volleyball and other activities such as door prizes and raffle drawings will help round out the day with fun for everyone. You can print out your own customized raffle tickets and sell them prior to your event at key locations in your community as well as at the entry point on the day of the barbecue.

Music is another big draw for events. Seek out local musical acts to provide entertainment during the barbecue, or arrange for a radio station DJ to set up a booth and deliver a live broadcast during the day. Or, to add yet more fundraising opportunities, reserve the musical entertainment for after traditional dinner hours and create an evening of tunes with a separate, ticketed entry fee.

Event Ticket Template

Get a head start on your fundraising with our outdoor cookout event ticket template.

There’s no better way to welcome summer than with a barbecue. Celebrate its return with the community and enjoy a successful event!

Memorial Day fundraisers herald the beginning of the summer season

For many people, Memorial Day fundraisers over the long weekend mark the unofficial first days of summer.  One great way to generate interest in your organization’s fundraising raffle is to offer irresistible summertime necessities as prizes.

Inner tube floating gift basketA day at the beach is a classic way to enjoy a sunny summer’s day, so items like suntan lotion or sunscreen, beach towels/blankets, sunglasses, disposable cameras, bug spray, flip flops, sudoku or crossword puzzle books, and a beach ball would fit the bill. Pack items into a large plastic bucket with a child’s shovel to compete the theme, and some lucky family will be all set to go.

Other summer-themed prize ideas include an ice cream maker, portable barbecue grill, a volleyball or badminton set, or a picnic basket with place settings included.

Memorial Day is, above all, a time set aside to remember all Americans who have died in military service for the United States. In keeping with the meaning of Memorial Day, you could offer a gift basket with a twist: a “one for you, one for them” raffle.

To do this, offer a basket prize of goodies for a lucky winner – but also prepare a “basket” of needed and requested items for troops overseas. Organizations such as provide lists of possibilities, including lip balms, travel-size bug sprays, air pumps and needles for sports balls, iTunes gift cards and much more, accept donations and send donations to the troops. They also provide instructions on how to properly mail items.

Getting green at a lawn and garden show and sale

With the arrival of spring, gardeners’ thoughts and dreams turn to the promise of another growing season. It’s time to plan the lush landscapes of vibrant, colorful flowers and the rows of veggies and herbs, whether grown at home from seed or purchased as a young, healthy plant. Your organization can be part of the action by hosting a lawn and garden show and sale that brings together those who love plants and local growers.

lawn and garden showWhile the great outdoors would be the ideal location for your event, a social hall, school cafeteria or other venue with ample floor space that’s easy to clean would make a suitable second choice (be sure to secure a team to help clean up afterward!). If your event is held outdoors, it’s a good idea to have a rain date and alternate location.

Look to local conditions as a guide to when to hold your event. If the last danger of frost usually passes in late April, then that is a great time; if the last frost date tends to be early May, try to schedule it for then. (Numerous websites provide average last frost date information based on ZIP code, city, etc., to help you plan.) Generally speaking, late spring to very early summer is the height of garden prep season and interest will be high.

Local greenhouses can bring seeds, seedlings, live and cut herbs and flowers, soil amendments and garden equipment; hardware stores and lawn and garden maintenance companies in your community may also be interested in setting up tables and promoting their services. Extend an invitation to a representative of your local cooperative extension to give 15-minute presentations on topics of interest to gardeners, such as soil testing, pest management and more.

A lawn and garden show is a natural for raffles. You can customize and print out your own tickets, using open-source images to complement the green-thumb spirit of your home and garden show. There are so many possibilities for prizes – here are some ideas for drawings you can offer in conjunction with area businesses to keep excitement high:

  •  A tool kit that includes a gardening tote bag with plenty of pockets, hand tools such as a garden totetrowel, a cultivator and a weeder, knee pads, gloves, hand lotion and a straw hat
  • A package of seed packets
  • A bug zapper or organic/environmentally friendly insect repellent
  • A pair of Adirondack chairs
  • A patio set: table, chairs and umbrella with base
  • Gas or charcoal grill
  • Gift certificates to local nurseries, greenhouses and hardware stores
  • Free delivery of 2 cubic yards of organic compost
  • Books on flower or vegetable gardening

Have fun and good luck!


Easter and springtime raffle ideas

Easter Egg HuntWith many parts of the country seeing record-shattering cold and snowfall totals, it can be difficult to remember that the calendar says Easter and springtime is right around the corner. But it really is, and your organization can play a part in fostering the hopeful excitement of warmer weather by sponsoring an Easter-themed fundraiser.

Colorful eggs brought by the Easter bunny are synonymous with Easter, so consider holding an Easter party hosted by the bunny himself (rent or invest in purchasing a bunny costume). Breakfast or lunch with the bunny can be held at a hall in the area and catered by a restaurant, or members of your team can do the job themselves to put a personal touch on the event.

An Easter-egg hunt is a classic activity for little ones, and the eggs don’t have to be real – they can be wrapped chocolate or candy eggs. You could hide an egg or two of a particular color and offer a small prize to the egg hunter who finds those specially colored eggs. Young and old can participate in a decorated egg competition – who can create the most beautiful/artistic egg? Or the funniest? Or hold an Easter egg toss, where two people toss an egg to each other and gradually increase the distance between the tossers until finally the egg is dropped or broken.

Easter egg hunt

Check out our selection of Easter-themed ticket downloads

A gardeners’ raffle is another great way to channel some of the excitement of spring toward your cause. A basket of essential gardening items – and some fun stuff, too – donated by local nurseries and garden centers is an early-season favorite. Instead of a traditional basket, consider stuffing a gardening tote full of hand tools like a trowel, cultivator and weeder, a pair of plush kneepads, gardening gloves, a wide-brimmed straw hat, gardening books and some soothing hand cream that’s designed for gardeners. Gift certificates to the businesses that supply the tools are a plus.

You can really kick your celebration of springtime up a notch by offering some higher-end raffle prizes that can kickstart the outdoor season. A bug zapper, Adirondack chairs, a patio set or even a grill can really add excitement to your fundraising efforts.

Have fun and good luck with your fundraising!

Fund raise while helping your community celebrate Christmas

With the holidays upon us, there are plenty of creative ways your organization can help the community celebrate … and raise funds at the same time.

For many families, Christmas dinner is a central part of their holiday celebration. You could raffle off a certain number of turkeys and/or hams (or both!), using festively colored raffle tickets with customized artwork. Work with local supermarkets or butchers to put together a package of prizes that could include a meal with all the fixings.

ugly Christmas sweaterIt seems as though just about everyone has that one blindingly ugly sweater … why not celebrate it? Consider holding an Ugly Sweater or Ugly Tie contest, charging a nominal entry fee for entrants. Or you can keep it positive and hold a Hot Hat contest for best-looking hat. Guests at the event can serve as judges, as can local officials such as the city mayor or school superintendent.

‘Tis the season to go shopping, right? Your group can lend a big hand to harried shoppers by offering a gift-wrap service at the local department store or mall for a couple of dollars per item wrapped. Not everyone has a knack for wrapping, and the convenience of having someone else neatly wrap a gift and put ribbon and a bow on it will surely be well worth the modest fee.

Christmas ticket templates

Make arrangements with management at the store or the mall and be clear on whether a table and a couple of chairs can be supplied or if you’ll need to bring your own. It’s possible the tape, wrapping paper, ribbons and other supplies can be donated by the store. Not feeling too confident in your gift-wrapping skills? Brush up by watching YouTube videos online and get some practice in.

Presents go under the tree – so why not offer Christmas trees as a fundraiser? Partner with a local tree farmer who has set up a stand in a prominent corner of a parking lot, preferably on a busy street or at the mall for maximum exposure. Some or all of the proceeds can go to your organization, whether on a certain day only or the entire tree-selling season.

Have fun and good luck with your fundraising efforts this holiday season!

Pumpkin smashing fundraisers make the most of Halloween leftovers

Not sure what to do with your jack o’ lantern after Halloween night? If your answer is yes, chances are good you’re not alone. There are probably many people in your community who are left wondering what to do with that grinning orange face once the candle within has burned out and the shell’s begun to wither. Hold a smashing pumpkin fundraiser in the week or so after Halloween, and help make disposal easy.pumpkin destruction

This type of event is a fun (and messy!) way to be done with that aging jack o’ lantern once and for all while raising money for your charitable organization. You’ll need access to an open space (preferably outdoors, such as a large field or an open section at a local apple orchard or pumpkin farm), a large, rugged tarp, a table or two and some chairs, and some instruments of pumpkin destruction – a regular metal claw hammer or a sledgehammer. Ask a local contractor if they’d be willing to donate the use of a cherry picker or a bucket truck. Be sure to have buckets, scoops and shovels handy for cleanup afterward. Don’t wear your best clothes to this event!

Prior to the event, make arrangements with your local or regional yard waste or composting facility to accept the pumpkin remains – this will let you dispose of the remains responsibly and help to make more compost available to future gardeners.

Advertise your event throughout the community, inviting people to bring their jack o’ lanterns. If your location is a pumpkin farm or an apple orchard that also grows and sells pumpkins, you could set up additional tables for on-the-spot pumpkin decorating (don’t forget to bring the markers!) for a nominal added fee – chances are good that the farm will still have some unsellable pumpkins still on the ground.

Spread out the tarp and secure it as best you can with heavy weights such as rocks, bricks or blocks, etc. If you were able to obtain the use of a cherry picker or bucket truck, be sure to get the equipment in place over the tarp.

Arrange for guests to stop first at the table as they arrive with their pumpkins, and station volunteers there to examine each pumpkin and remove any wax candle stumps or pieces, non-organic decorations, and lingering pumpkin seeds. Make sure the table is far enough away from the tarp to avoid being part of the mess! The registration table is a good place to collect entry fees.

You can add to the fun atmosphere as well as your fundraising ability with a Chinese auction. Guests who arrive early can put their ugliest, best-looking or most creative jack o’ lanterns on display. Have raffle tickets with detachable stubs available for purchase at the registration table, and be sure to set up bowls, coffee cans or buckets in front of the competing pumpkins and offer a small prize for the winner(s).

Be sure to establish a cleanup crew ahead of time to collect the smashed pumpkin pieces (large, sturdy plastic tote bins and shovels are key here) and transport the remains to the composting facility as soon as possible if representatives from the facility were unable to join you.

Fall fundraising ideas to warm your heart and clean your yard

Ahhh, autumn. The season of hot cocoa, bright colors on trees, lengthening shadows and the first crisp, frosty mornings. It’s a great season to celebrate with a fall fundraiser!

raking leaves and yard workWith harvest season fast approaching, your organization could team up with a local pumpkin or apple farm (sometimes one and the same) to help you raise money for your cause. Larger farms often hold a festival on their grounds to showcase the bounty of their harvest, with fun rides and events for little ones – they may be willing to donate a percentage of their profits on a given day to your group.

Many people in cooler climates look forward to warming up with a steaming hot bowl of soup after a brisk day – so why not hold an elegant soup sampling event? Ask local restaurants to participate by bringing their favorite soups to share with the community, either as samples or as part of a cook-off compePumpkin farm free offertition. Your local VFW, American Legion or school may be able to provide kitchen and dining facilities at a discount or even for fee. A pottery business in your area could donate bowls in which the soup will be served, and the bowls could be raffled off or sold outright as a way to raise additional funds.

Even as the leaves are turning colors, they’re also dropping from the trees and piling up in the yard. By holding a yardwork-a-thon, your group can help eliminate the hassle for folks while giving them an opportunity to support your cause. Collect pledge donations in advance of the event by posting fliers around the neighborhood and in post offices, supermarkets and other public areas, sending out an e-mail or postal mail blast and through word of mouth. Be sure to include such details as the date and times available for the cleanups, what services will be offered (raking leaves, bringing outdoor toys or sensitive plants in, etc.). Each household in whose yard you work could be entered into a raffle for practical, related yardwork tools such as a lawn mower, a new hedge trimmer, and so on – be sure to have plenty of tickets handy!

Keep in mind the fact that fall weather is notoriously unpredictable. When holding an outdoor event, remind everyone working at the event to dress for changing conditions and to bring a knit hat, a light jacket, gloves and boots. In addition, the hours of available daylight are decreasing, so you’ll want to be aware of what time sunset takes place in your area and be sure to finish your event before darkness falls.

Good luck and enjoy your fall fundraising!

May offers two chances for holiday fundraising

With the month of May come not one, but two big holidays for fundraising: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

Flowers and chocolates are both widely associated with Mother’s Day. Carnations and daisies are particularly popular, as are roses, lilies, tulips, irises and gladioli. If selling flowers, decide whether to sell pre-orders of bouquets for delivery or pickup just before the holiday or to sell individual flowers on Mother’s Day itself. Work with a florist in your community who is willing to help you put together some lovely flowers or stunning bouquets at a discount in exchange for recognition at your event.

chocolates and flowers

Not very many mothers will turn up their noses to a tin of gourmet chocolates and fresh flowers.

As for chocolates … well, few are the moms who will turn up their nose at a box of gourmet chocolates! And the mouthwatering treat comes in more forms than just small squares in a box. Hold a bake sale right before Mother’s Day and sell variations on a chocolate theme: brownies, chocolate-chip cookies and so on. Be sure to include a variety of other flavors, such as lemon, red velvet and vanilla. With a bake sale, you will likely find a number of volunteer bakers eager to show off their baking skills while lending your organization a hand.

You may decide that it makes sense for your organization to offer both flowers and goodies for sale at a larger fundraising event. Consider holding a craft show if you have access to a gymnasium or other large space – this would provide people with an opportunity to browse among quality handcrafted items and pick out a special gift for Mom to go along with the bouquet and sweets. Ask crafters to donate one or two of their products (or put together a festive, decorated basket) for a raffle drawing; also, see if local businesses that may not have purchased table space at the show are willing to donate gift certificates or coupons for the raffle. Sell sequentially numbered tickets at the door for as little as $1, collect the tickets in a bucket, basket or even a coffee can, and then set aside time during your event to pick and announce the winning ticket numbers.

Memorial Day is at once a solemn occasion, a day set aside to celebrate the service of all military veterans, and a joyful event that informally marks the beginning of the summer season. You can decide which way to go if your organization chooses to hold a Memorial Day fundraiser.

Most communities hold a parade, a festival or a similar type of event on Memorial Day weekend. Your organization can be as big or small a part of the action as your creativity and budget allow. Consider offering small or full-size American flags for sale prior to the holiday or during a local event – these flags can be purchased online from party supply stores, which may give a discount on bulk orders if asked.

On a larger scale, if you have access to suitable cooking equipment and adequate space you could hold a breakfast event before the parade starts using supplies donated by a local grocer (be sure to check with your municipality and obtain any necessary permits beforehand).

The warmer temperatures and generally pleasant weather of late May help fuel spring-cleaning events – another fun way to raise funds for your organization. Solicit members of your community to donate sellable items in good condition for your group to sell over the holiday weekend. Price the articles at full price on the first day and then offer deep discounts on the second day to help prevent leftover items. You could hold a drawing to raffle off any eye-catching, popular items.

Good luck and have fun with your May fundraisers!

Hop to it! Fun Easter fundraising ideas

Easter bunny photos

Photos with the Easter bunny can be a fun part of any springtime fundraiser as well as memories to last a lifetime.

Easter is a time of joy, and there are many fun traditions surrounding this holiday: gifts of chocolate and candies nestled in baskets filled with green “grass,” colored hard-boiled eggs, bouquets of lilies and other flowers in soft, pastel shades … and perhaps the biggest thrill for kids: the Easter Bunny.

Any or all of these familiar elements can be used as the basis for a fun and successful fundraising event. Here are just a few ideas to help get you and your organization started.

Dress someone in a bunny suit to host your event or even just a meal or an afternoon tea for little ones – the Easter Bunny is the central character for many Easter celebrations and provides the perfect foil to any number of holiday-themed activities. Be prepared for plenty of enthusiastic kids! You might want to have a photographer on hand to take quick family portraits with him.

As just about any kid will tell you, the Easter bunny brings Easter eggs! An Easter egg hunt held in a playground, park or sports field is a time-tested draw for families. Brightly packaged chocolate eggs or other goodies work just as well as real, decorated eggs. You can charge a nominal fee to take part in the hunt, or it can serve as a free event anchoring other fundraising ideas such as raffles, door prizes and refreshments.

Speaking of eggs, an event that can spark lots of interest is an Easter egg decoration contest. Categories could include most original, funniest, most colorful, etc. People could vote with their spare change in cups placed beside each egg, with the winner taking home the contents of the cup (or your group can form a jury, select the winners and award them small prizes). Related ideas include holding an Easter cake or cookie competition.

An Easter Bunny Hop dance party provides a fun way for little ones to burn off all that sugar-fueled energy. Provide each dancer with a set of floppy bunny ears from the dollar store to wear as they move (hop?) along to popular and traditional kids’ music.

It’s a good idea to offer advance-sale tickets for your Easter-themed event to help give your group an idea of how many guests you can expect to see on the big day. With a computer and a printer, you can use perforated ticket paper to create beautiful, personalized tickets that are sequentially numbered – perfect for use in any raffle drawings or contests you might hold during your fundraiser. To help keep things organized, you’ll want to establish separate groups or committees for each event if you will be holding more than one.Easter Egg Hunt

Have fun and good luck with your fundraising event!
Easter Bunny is the central character for many Easter celebrations and provides the perfect foil to any number of holiday-themed activities.