The 50-50 raffle fundraiser. It’s not the most glamorous fundraiser. Or even the most productive fundraiser for the amount of money it raises. But when used correctly, the 50-50 raffle can be a steady ongoing source of fundraising revenue for almost any size or type of nonprofit group.
The 50-50 raffle won’t win you any prizes (no pun intended) as a fundraiser. But then again, it won’t hurt you either. The 50-50 raffle fundraiser has a lot going for it and almost no downside:
How the 50-50 Raffle Fundraiser Works
A raffle involves many people buying tickets for a chance to win a prize or prizes. In the case of a 50-50 fundraising raffle the prize is 50% of the money taken in by the raffle ticket sales. The other 50% is retained by the nonprofit group holding the raffle. Hence the name, 50-50 raffle fundraiser.
A person can purchase one or more tickets, and each ticket purchased equals one entry in the drawing for a winner. A certain number of tickets are sold or a specified time passes and a single ticket is randomly chosen.
You sell as many tickets to each person as possible, for a fixed fee. Typical ticket prices are $1, $5, or $10 depending on the makeup of your group. The most common price is one ticket for $1.
So here it is in a nutshell: Sell the raffle tickets and collect the money. Add up the amount you have collected and divide it in half. One half goes to the winner and the other half to your organization. Draw the ticket. Award the winner their 50%.
Typically participants have to be present at the time of the drawing to win. Allow a set time limit, which can be as short as a minute or two, for the winner to claim their prize. If nobody claims the prize within the time limit, just draw another number until somebody wins.
Your only expense for this fundraiser is the raffle tickets. You may also find it convenient for your raffle ticket sellers to purchase carpenter style aprons that tie around the waist. The aprons have two pockets. One for money and the other for the sold ticket stubs. A large clear plastic jar (gallon size or larger) to put tickets into for the drawing is nice too. It lets everyone see that everything is on the up and up with the ticket drawing.
Sell More 50-50 Raffle Tickets
Obviously the more tickets that are sold, the more money the seller and the winner will make. Since it’s all profit anyway (other than the small cost of buying the tickets), each 50-50 raffle ticket is usually cheap to buy. I wouldn’t recommend charging any less than a dollar per ticket. Making change is hard enough without adding coins to the mix.
No matter how much you charge per raffle ticket, offer incentives for multiple purchases. If you charge one dollar for one raffle ticket, offer three for two dollars, and seven for five dollars. Or an arm length for $20. Always try and up sell your customer.
Don’t forget to ask everyone. Just because someone hasn’t bought a raffle ticket before doesn’t mean they won’t buy one now. Some people just haven’t been asked. Others may not have had the money available the first time.
Make sure your customers know what they can possibly win when they buy their fundraising raffle tickets. Tell folks how much the last raffle winner won.
Who Should Hold a 50-50 Fundraising Raffle?
All nonprofit organizations and charities, large and small, should think about holding a 50-50 raffle fundraiser.
Although typically this type of raffle is used as a fundraiser for smaller nonprofit groups like booster clubs, sports teams, and social clubs, many other groups can and should consider the 50-50 raffle:
While many larger nonprofits perhaps consider themselves above this type of fundraising, it can make a wonderful add-on to an existing event.
50-50 Raffle Ticket Sources
50-50 raffle fundraising tickets are the style of tickets that have two sections that both share a unique serial number. They come on a consecutively numbered double ticket roll. The seller keeps one half and the buyer gets the other half. Tickets can be sold fast because there isn’t any name, address, or phone number to fill out.
They are usually available at local party supply stores and big box office supply stores for under $10 for a roll of 2,000 tickets.
50-50 Raffles and the Law
A 50-50 fundraising raffle is a game of chance. They are highly regulated in all 50 states. Each state, and sometimes each local jurisdiction, has their own rules. There are even a few states that forbid 50-50 raffles!
Don’t even consider planning a raffle until you understand all the rules and regulations involved. In most instances, paperwork will have to be submitted and approved before you can hold the 50-50 raffle fundraiser; but if your nonprofit qualifies it is usually a simple process.