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Reverse Raffle Fundraising Brings Maximum Earnings for Non-Profits

written by: DebbieHenthorn•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 10/31/2010

Reverse raffle fundraising can earn high returns with very little upfront investment for many non-profits. In states that permit raffles as fundraisers, reverse raffle fundraising offers a cash prize to the last ticket to be drawn. Dinner and other prizes can be part of the event at very low cost.

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    What is a Reverse Raffle?

    Reverse raffle fundraising gives the grand prize to the last ticket to be drawn as opposed to the first ticket winning in a standard raffle. Another difference in reverse raffle fundraising is that the grand prize is often cash. By using the raffle ticket sales proceeds to provide the prize, the fundraiser organizer don't have the upfront monetary outlay for a valuable grand prize. As the grand prize is won by the last ticket drawn in a reverse raffle, there are several opportunities through the course of the drawing to earn more money for the charity.

    The Upside of Downs in Cleveland, Ohio used reverse raffle fundraising in conjunction with their spring fundraiser in March, 2010. The grand prize at that event was $4,000. The University of Toledo Athletic Department offered a $7,500 grand prize during their reverse raffle in early 2010.

    It is important to verify the laws concerning raffles in each state, usually with the Attorney General's office. Registered charities are permitted to conduct raffles as a fundraiser in most states.

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    How to Plan a Reverse Raffle

    The basic fundamentals of reverse raffle fundraising are raffle tickets, a large container to mix them in and draw them from, envelopes for the cash prize(s) and a location to do the actual drawing. With these few elements in place, a reverse raffle fundraiser can be simple or as elaborate as the non-profit cares to make it.

    A reverse raffle does not have to involve a dinner or even require the ticket-buyer to be present. A youth sports league could hold the reverse raffle drawing on the last day of the regular season at the ball field while a symphony orchestra could conduct its reverse raffle as part of its annual fundraising gala. The more elaborate the setting, the higher the profits. However, an elaborate setting can involve rental fees of banquet halls as well as catering fees.

    A simple setting for reverse raffle fundraising is a dinner held in a school cafeteria or a church kitchen. Fraternal organizations such as Amvets or the Elks can benefit from a reverse raffle by taking advantage of the facilities they already own. An inexpensive meal to serve 100 people for reverse raffle fundraising can consist of lasagna, salad, rolls, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages such as coffee, tea and lemonade. Featuring a grand prize of $1000 and an additional $1000 in cash prizes distributed throughout the drawing, a small event of 100 people paying $50 per ticket can easily net more than $2,500 after expenses.

    Each ticket should contain all of the necessary information including the time and place of the drawing. The reverse of the stub or "receipt" portion of the raffle ticket should explain the drawing process and any additional prizes to be awarded.

    Download a sample reverse raffle ticket here.

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    How to Run a Reverse Raffle

    The actual drawing process during a reverse raffle fundraising event will usually take around two hours with 100 tickets sold. If a non-profit decides to give away a total of $2,000 in prizes, they should allocate which tickets drawn will win the additional prizes. Attendees would appreciate having several opportunities throughout the drawing to win back their initial ticket fee of $50. A consolation prize of $100 could be awarded to the first ticketholder drawn and the remaining $900 given in $50 increments spread evenly through the drawing, such as every fifth ticket drawn.

    The committee members should keep an accurate list of the exact order the tickets were drawn.

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    Additional Moneymaking Opportunities During a Reverse Raffle

    Short games can be played at intervals throughout the reverse raffle drawing to give attendees an opportunity to win their way back into the drawing. Anyone wishing to try their luck at winning an extra ticket will pay a small fee ($5 or $10) to participate. Each person can draw a chip out of a bag containing several white chips and one black chip. The person drawing the black chip wins a new ticket back into the drawing. Another method is drawing cards, with the highest or lowest winning the re-entry.

    Reverse raffle fundraising can be a challenge, but the rewards can also be highly beneficial.






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