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Promote hometown businesses and crafters with locally-sourced raffle prizes

When it’s time to find unique prizes for your next raffle drawing, take a close look at the small businesses and crafters in your community! Offering high-quality locally sourced and handcrafted items can provide the missing ingredient that elevates your fundraising event to a whole new level by helping to promote local businesses and their one-of-a-kind products.

Your organization can play a role in promoting your local economy’s health by offering unique prizes that can easily double as gifts during this holiday season. Local and regional businesses may well be excited to donate product to your raffle in hopes of getting word about their offerings out to a wider audience than they’d otherwise reach.

From 3-D paper or wood ornaments to woven baskets and hand-thrown pottery, from stained-glass window light catchers to luxurious handcrafted soaps, crafters in your area are a great source of whimsical, decorative and functional items that simply can’t be found anywhere else. You could even stuff a 10-foot stocking full of toys for a grand prize that’s sure to be the talk of the town! The key is to be sure to clearly state that the prizes are locally (or regionally) sourced and/or locally made.

Finding crafters in your area can be as simple as visiting a family-owned coffeehouse, restaurant or gift shop and asking the salesperson or the owner – there’s a chance that they’ll either be involved in a crafting organization or will know someone who is, and they may point you in the right direction if needed. As an added bonus, you’ll also be helping to spread the word about your event.

So good luck, and have fun! Have a wonderful holiday.

Thanksgiving raffles spread the gratitude


Thanksgiving meal

If you plan to fund raise for your church or organization this holiday season, don’t forget to make tickets for your event ahead of time. Keep track of how many you sell so you’ll know how much food to prepare.

The approaching holiday season is a time of reflection and gratitude for blessings throughout the year. For many families, it’s also a time for coming together to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast of roast turkey and all the trimmings; but many others find that their food dollars are already stretched to the limit and the traditional dinner is beyond their reach.

Turkey Dinner Ticket

Download these free templates to give you a quick start designing creative holiday tickets.

There are several ways in which your organization can help bring joy to needy families. One is to partner with your local food pantry, grocery stores and/or restaurants to hold a raffle for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Give away raffle tickets to families at the food pantry, with a complete holiday meal going to five, ten or however many families that might otherwise go without on Thanksgiving day.

The prize can be in the form of meal ingredients, such as a 20-pound turkey or other meats, stuffing and a selection of fresh vegetables donated by a local supermarket; or it can be a full-blown Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. A complementary option is to raffle off gift certificates to a supermarket, so families can do their own holiday shopping. You may even find that a drawing of this nature encourages other organizations to join in the fun by offering door prizes or collecting donations of non-perishable foods to donate to the food pantry.

Turkey raffleAnother idea is to host a formal holiday dinner event to raise money for the food pantry or other service organization. Partner with other groups in your community, and you can sell admission tickets that easily double as raffle tickets – the stubs can be used for drawings held during the dinner for donated prizes.

Now’s the perfect time to begin spreading holiday joy! Have fun helping others in this special time of year.

Show your support for the American democratic process!

“Free ride” tickets and door prize giveaways promote voting

Whatever your political beliefs, we all want fair and representative elections. The best way to achieve that is to make sure as many people as possible get to make their voices heard. There are several simple methods that you can use to encourage increased voter participation, and your efforts might get repaid with a little goodwill as well.

Help voters get to the polls this election day

It doesn’t take a lot to be a hero to someone in your community. An offer of a ride to the polls on election day can make all the difference.

The most obvious way to increase turnout in your district is to make sure all voters have a way to get to the polls. This doesn’t require the services of a licensed cab company or complicated GPS-driven database to achieve. Every soccer mom across the country can make a difference. All you need is a vehicle and driver – preferably both in decent, working condition – a contact method so you can schedule pickups, and a way to get the word out.

Voter ride offer ticketPost flyers advertising your ride service in local churches, senior centers, convenience stores, pharmacies, housing projects, libraries, laundromats – anywhere people who may not have access to a car frequent. You can leave a stack of tickets and collection can in each location and check back regularly to gather the stubs with contact information so you can schedule pickups. Ask the proprietor to make an announcement and place your tickets in plain view.

Provided here is a sample of what a “Ride to Vote” ticket might look like. This ticket template is available  for download if you’d like to use it as a starting point for your own.

You can use “Ride to Vote” tickets to promote your organization or to further your political purpose, but you don’t have to. Pure national pride is all you really need as a motivation.

Another way to motivate your community to get out and vote is to offer a free giveaway or small door prize.

Voter pride ticket

Reward voters for doing their civic duty while giving them a reason to gather at your location (and maybe even spend a little money).

This works well for community organizations or restaurants and taverns that are willing to hold a post-election gathering.

Tickets such as these are easy to make, cost very little as far as what you are giving away, and draw business into your establishment at the same time. Sometimes, the simple offer of a free cup of coffee can be enough to bring in a family that orders a full dinner.

You can offer these promotional tickets at your establishment, or better yet, see if you can position them near or at the polling station. You may need to check with your local officials to make sure  you aren’t breaking any rules against political advertising within so many feet of a polling station, but as long as you aren’t promoting any candidate directly, you should be okay.

So whether your motivation is driving democracy or driving business, with tickets like these, you are one of the guaranteed winners this election night.

Summertime Opportunities

I bet you’d rather be at the beach, or camping, or participating in nearly any outdoor activity.  But you’re not.  You’re stuck behind your computer and starting to resent being saddled with your next fund raising project.

You don’t have to feel guilty.  I’d rather be at the beach too.

The secret to happiness is to get your fund raising activities – and yourself – outdoors.  You can combine the two – selling tickets AND enjoying yourself – with just a little creative finesse.

When’s the last time you treated yourself to a car show?  How about an outdoor concert?  If those are few and far between, what about a firemen’s field days or local farmers market?

All it takes is a few phone calls to the right people, and you have a good chance of getting a table at the event where you can sell your raffle tickets.  Who knows?  You might even get the space, admission, and great parking all thrown in as a donation to your charity.  (You’ll never know if you don’t ask).

These are fantastic places to sell your tickets.  The crowds are concentrated, so you’ll have heavy traffic, and there is usually down time before the event starts and the crowds are looking for something to do.  These people are not only generally in a good mood, but they showed up with money in their pockets set aside for spending.

Best of all, you get to take breaks where you can walk around to enjoy the sights, sounds and – gasp – the FOOD!

It’s a win-win situation.

So stop feeling guilty about wanting to get outside.  You’ve got a game plan.  Go put it into practice and enjoy the results!


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Springtime Opportunities

As warmer temperatures arrive, a whole new season of craft shows begin to fill the calendar. Spring is a busy time and people frequent shows looking to pick up ideas and supplies for their favorite pastimes.

Water Lily

By offering a raffle during a craft show, you are able to add another level of fun and excitement for participants while at the same time, sharing information about your organization or cause.

Because most show organizers require advance registration to reserve a space, some planning is helpful. Finding where craft shows are being held and registering with organizers in time can be tricky. In larger towns, you may have a number of shows from which to choose on a given weekend, while in smaller communities there may only be one or two shows a month.

Many times, upcoming craft shows will be listed in the classified section or advertised in a display ad in the local newspaper – you may even see signs posted along streets in the neighborhood where the show is to be held. Keep in mind that these listings are often notices of shows whose dates are rapidly approaching and whose registration dates have passed (meaning there may not be enough time for you to participate in that show), but by contacting either the organizers themselves or the facility where the show is to take place,  you will have a direct line to upcoming opportunities.

The Internet can be a great source of information for larger shows. Websites such as list a wide variety of shows sometimes months in advance of the show dates, organized by state. While details are made available only to paid members, the show names can be looked up separately through an online search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Other sites include and You can also search the name of your town with the phrase “craft show” for smaller shows.


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Season of Giving

The first snowfall of the new winter season is here, with bright, cheer lights glistening in the chill of deepening night.  The holiday season is upon us, and the gathering of family and friends makes this a very special time of year.

Part of what makes the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day distinct from the rest of the year, is where we turn the focus of our attention.

Need doesn’t take a break; it knows no holidays, it has no “in” season.  And during the torrent of commercials and advertisements, and still, a small voice reminds us that buried beneath the retail throngs lies a desire to give.

For some, the holidays are a galvanizing point, the time of year when the spirit of giving moves them to ask others, “What can I do for you?  What would you like?  Is there anything you need?”  The eyes of their hearts look away from themselves and look up and around to see the needs and wants of those in the community.

Others – and perhaps you know someone who fits this description – makes a commitment to help others all year round.  For these dedicated souls, whose determination spans the length of the year, the holidays open the door to even greater opportunities for giving.  They will spend countless hours serving others, whether directly or indirectly, knowing that no gift of time is too small to provide a great and satisfying return.

And that gift of time is given in so many ways.  Setting up and making arrangements to hold a raffle or drawing to benefit a family or charitable organization, for instance, involves a number of people who share the same vision and work together for that common goal.  Someone has to make sure the tickets get designed, get printed correctly and arrive in time, after all.  Someone has to see to it that publicity is managed properly.  And someone has to keep track of donations, prizes, and all the rest.  I doesn’t happen in a minute, and it can’t get done on its own!

When it’s all said and done…when the winning tickets have been drawn and the numbers called…those who helped make the drawing a reality can savor the knowledge that they played a part in making someone else’s day that much brighter.  Those who put forth the effort to see that the fundraiser successfully met its goal can look back with the satisfaction of knowing all that work went to a good cause.

And ultimately, that’s what the season of giving is all about.


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