Charity raffle: Planning a successful campaign

Howard Lake | 20 December 2016 | Blogs

A charity raffle can be an extremely successful fundraising method, raising high profits and supporter engagement. Setting up and running a charity raffle is low-cost, especially when prizes have been donated, leaving you room to invest your budget in promotion to help reach your target audience.
However, planning a successful charity raffle is key to reaching your fundraising goals. At Capen, we have been setting up and running raffles for years, focusing on digital and online raffles for charities and good causes. We wanted to share with you what we have found to work and some great tips for ensuring a successful raffle campaign.
1. Licenses
2. Goal setting and charity raffle campaign plan
3. Choosing the right platform for your raffle
4. Content
5. Raffle promotion and marketing


Hull KR Online Raffle with Zaffo

One of the most common question we get asked is ‘do we need a license to run our raffle?’. There is no straightforward answer to this as it depends on what type of raffle you are wanting to set up. It is recommended that you have a look at the Gambling Commission’s website when deciding which type of raffle will suit your campaign. There are however, circumstances where you may not need a license. Some of these include; Prize Draws, Work Lotteries, Customer lotteries, Private Society Lotteries, Residents’ Lotteries and Incidental Non-Commercial Lotteries. For more information on these please visit the Gambling Commission website.
For this post, we will focus on Small Society Lottery Licenses, which is the most common license needed to setup and run a charity raffle. A Small Society Lottery License will enable you to run multiple raffles or lotteries each year where your players will pay to enter for the chance to win prizes. A Small Society Lottery License has a maximum limit of £20,000 in ticket sales per draw or £250,000 in a calendar year. A Small Society Lottery License can be obtained through your local authority by completing a registration form. The registration fee is £40 with a £20 annual fee.

Goal Setting and Charity Raffle Campaign Plan

Online Raffle Planning with Zaffo
It is vital to have a campaign strategy so that you and your team members will all have a clear idea of your goals, targets and missions. Aligning your team members with a concise campaign plan is important to ensuring a smooth-running campaign. To begin with you should have an idea of your fundraising goals. What is your fundraising target? How many raffles are you wanting to run throughout the year? What are you expected returns and how will you maximise this? Once you have a clear goal in mind, you can start planning your campaign targets.
Let’s say you are wanting to raise the amount of (XX) for a campaign period of (XX), here are some questions you may need to answer before you start planning your raffle:


  1. How will you ensure you reach your above goal during this time frame?
  2. Which marketing channels have worked for you in the past – and which will suit this campaign?
  3. Will you combine traditional (offline) ticket sales with online ticket sales?
  4. How will you ensure your prize(s) suits this campaign?

Now that you have your targets you can begin your raffle campaign plan. Your campaign plan should delve deeper into your goals and targets, dissecting each target into smaller, achievable targets. Below is a step-by-step guide to a great raffle campaign plan.

  1. Dates and times: how long will your raffle campaign run? You can decide to choose dates that fall on seasonal holidays (ie Christmas) or choose dates that align with a separate campaign you will run which will likely compliment your raffle. This worked exceptionally well with WWT and their #FlightOfTheSwans campaign.
  2. Prizes: It is important that you choose a prize that suits your campaign vision. In our experience, we have found that ‘experience’ prizes work better than cash prizes. However, this may not be the case for every raffle campaign. It is also important to remember that sourcing donated prizes will save you money and increase profits. Here’s how you can source prizes with our step-by-step guide.
  3. Price: Deciding on a price per ticket for your raffle will entirely depend on your fundraising goals and which methods you will use to ensure you reach your goals (i.e. email marketing / social media etc.) At Capen, we use ‘Money Buys’ to increase basket values.
  4. Location(s): Where and how will you run, and draw your raffle? Running a raffle online (or combining offline and online) will drastically improve your reach and conversion rates.
  5. Promotion: Promoting your raffle is essential to success. Use methods that your charity knows works well while trying out more innovative and creative methods to get your message out to the public.
  6. Draw: Who and where will you draw your raffle? Think about if it would be beneficial to draw your raffle winner(s) at an event. How will you then ensure that you contact your winner(s) and how they will receive their prize(s).
  7. Reporting: Your raffle has ended and you have raised (XX) amount for your charity. It is important to report on what was successful and what could be improved for reference for future campaigns.
  8. Share the good news: Is it also important to share the good news with you dedicated supporters. Let your supporters know the winner(s) (if you have their permission to do so) and how much you raised and how that money will be used.

If you are wanting a quick step-by-step guide on how to run a charity raffle, have a look at this article on Knowhow Non-profit.

Choosing the right platforms for your raffle

Online and offline raffles for charities
It is important to consider all your options when deciding how you will run and manage your charity raffle. Traditional (offline) methods work great for getting people involved at events or in the post. If you are wanting to reach a larger audience online or people on the move (mobile, tablets…) it is important to consider setting up an online raffle. There are many benefits to running an online raffle and with the large range of methods available online (at a low cost) to promote your raffle, it really is something to think about. If you would like the benefits of both offline and online, combine the two and you won’t be missing out on anything.


Charity Raffle Online Platform
As with any great campaign, you need great content. Before your charity raffle goes live, make sure you have the right materials to promote your raffle effectively. Collecting your content in advance will save you time during the marketing process and will ensure you have the correct materials. Here are some things to look out for when collecting your content:

  1. Copyright: Are your images copyright protected? There are a range of copyright-free image sites that you can use if you are worried about this. Alternatively, if you are searching for a prize image from a donated source, ask them if they can provide you with a free to use image.
  2. URL’s: When creating your content or marketing materials, be sure to include the correct URL to the raffle if it’s being held online.
  3. Social Media: When posting to social media, be sure to include links to your raffle page, links to any sponsors or charities you are supporting (if you are running a corporate raffle etc).
  4. Mail Packs: If you have mail packs being sent out to your supporters, include a URL to the raffle page where it’s easy and quick to purchase tickets securely. By adding a URL in the mail pack, we increased conversion rates by 10% with one campaign.

Online Raffle Promotion

Online raffle promotion
There are a plenty of things you could do to promote your raffle, but for the purposes of this article we are going to mention the basics of promoting your raffle online. If you would like to read a comprehensive digital marketing guide to promoting your raffle or lottery you can download our guide for free. For the basics, you will need to think about the following:

  1. Social Media: Social Media is a great place to promote your raffle as it is free, accessible from any device and has the potential to reach thousands of individuals. Some of the platforms that work well campaigns we have worked on include; Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Choose which platforms suit your campaign and cause as these differ for everyone. You may find that Facebook is working better than Twitter or perhaps you are testing out a completely new social platform like Snapchat or Pinterest.
  2. Email Marketing: Sending out an email to your supporters is a brilliant way to let them know how to continue to support your charity or cause. Providing your dedicated supporters with a raffle where they will be rewarded with a prize by supporting will also make them feel appreciated. Conversion rates increased by 30% from email marketing from one client.
  3. Blogger Outreach or Press: Reaching out to others online is a great way to maximise raffle exposure. Publish a press release and send it out to your local news or try engaging with social media influencers. The Royal Institution of Great Britain even had a tweet from Astronaut, Tim Peake himself, promoting their raffle.
  4. Facebook & Instagram Advertising: In our experience, Facebook advertising has worked extremely well in getting the word out to the public and increasing conversion rates. One client achieved a 1:3 ROI using Facebook Advertising. Facebook Adverts lets you target the right audience, be creative with your content and not only helps increase conversions for your raffle, but also raises awareness about your charity or cause. We have a detailed Facebook Guide that will help you plan successful Facebook and Instagram Ads for your campaigns.
  5. Pay Per Click Advertising & Google Grants: Google are offering on-going grants of $10,000 per month for Pay per click (PPC) advertising. Google Grants & Adwords can be used to promote charitable missions and incentives. It is important to take advantage of this fantastic grant as you may be eligible for an increase of up to $40,000 (£33,000) per month in advertising spend.

Ready to go? Download our free all-in-one raffle planning checklist to get started planning a successful raffle.