GET RAFFLE PRIZE DONATIONS…
This guide is all about how to get free raffle prize donations. People often assume that it is really hard to get companies to donate but not from my experience. You need to approach getting donations with determination – be willing to send out 100s of asks if you need to and don’t be disheartened by the rejections. If you take this approach then you are sure to succeed.
Here’s the prizes from a raffle I organised which included theatre tickets, £100’s worth of restaurant vouchers and an ipod docks. I took £900 on raffle ticket sales alone!
There is a new updated version of this blog which can be found here:
You may also want to check out my other blogs in this fundraising series:
- Top tips for organising a fundraising event
- 8 Easy fundraising ideas
- How to get people to donate money to your cause
USE YOUR CONTACTS
First things first….post a message on Facebook and send a quick email to your friends and family saying you are looking for raffle prizes. Most people know someone who has some kind of business. This is by far the EASIEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to collect prizes fast.
EMAILS OVER MAIL
From my experience letters get ignored (and are expensive) so unless there is no other contact option I don’t bother with snail mail.
Phone calling is best for companies that you really want donations from as it is hard for people to say no on the phone. It is also best to call if you have a contact or link to call to ask for donations. Generally though I find calling time-consuming and in most cases you get a quick unhelpful no.
E-mailing in my opinion is the best option: it’s quick, free, easy for people to forward to the relevant department and you get a good response rate.
So first thing is to write a short email that explains a bit about the charity you are raising money for, the event details and what specifically you want.
Here is a basic example although the more you can personalise it the better. Keep it short and don’t be shy to spell out exactly what it is you are asking for:
RE: Request for raffle prize donations
Dear Sir/Madam (use a name if you have one)
[Charity name] is a charity that helps [list what they do]. I am raising money for the [charity name] because [are you doing it because they have helped you, you lost a friend or you feel passionate about their work…add a personal touch].
On [Date] I am organising a fundraiser [say where and when] which will include a raffle and am looking for raffle prizes which I can use to help raise funds for [charity name]
I would be hugely grateful for any donation [company name] is able to make to help support my fundraising efforts. All donations will be properly thanked and acknowledged on the evening.
If you require any further information please do not hesitate to get back to me.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
SEARCH OUT COMPANIES
Now this is the fun part! The trick with who to ask is to be as creative as possible. The chocolate shop gets asked regularly for raffle prize donations, but how often do you think the tattoo artist gets asked?!
Once you have your email written it is so easy to copy and paste it into an email, edit the company name, find a contact address and send. So send lots….and i really do mean LOTS! The more you send the more prizes you will get so I literally send out 10’s of emails.
I tend to approach the ‘send out’ in 3 steps:
Step 1: Local Businesses and Attractions
—It is always better to go local (especially if it is a local charity….make sure you highlight this in your ask email) as they will be more inclined to give. From my experience small and family run companies are most likely to say yes but the few bigger organisations will offer a more generous (or higher valued) prize. This is not always the case so try a mixture.
—Try think of as many different types of businesses, services and products as you can. Then make a huge list of all your ideas.
—For all of these ideas I just Google my towns name followed by ‘tattooist’ or ‘reiki massage’, for example, and send an email to the first 2-3 that show up.
—Contacting local attractions is a must as it is very easy for them to give admission passes: local theatres, farms, small theme parks, manor houses, museums, soft play centres,
—Also contact small independent restaurants. A quick search on google maps will list all the local ones.
Step 2: Celebrities
—Most agents have a stack of signed books or merchandise to send out to fans or charity requests. Have a think about who will be attending your event and what sort of famous people will appeal to them. Then simply Google ‘contact [celebrities name]’ and the first link usually has an enquiry form or address to contact your celeb.
—Depending on the size of the raffle and quality of the prizes, sometimes I combine my signed merchandise or include it with other themed prizes. Such as a music theme to win speakers/headphones and a selection of signed CDs or a sports theme to win a cricket set and sports autographs
Step 3: Chains
—Once I have contacted all the small local places I try my luck at a few bigger chains. To save you from searching I have put together a directory, although note that some need to be contacted by letter (always best to ask your charity to provide you one on letterhead so it looks legitimate) or need you to fill in an online form.
I found it the most exciting thing getting an email or letter in the post with a prize donation. Make sure you respond straight away with a HUGE thank you and lots of enthusiasm about their donation and how grateful you are. Be nice and appreciative…they could have easily ignored your request.
After your (most likely stressful) event it is easy to want to forget all about it. Please do make sure you follow up every single donation with another thank you and an update on how much you raised at the event.
USE THE FREE WEALTH DIRECTORY
To give you a bit of inspiration and to save you time I have put together a directory of raffle prize ideas:
This should have some ideas that you haven’t thought of yet and from the positive feedback I have received from the Free Wealth fans, a lot of people have found it helpful