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Raffle and Silent Auction Basket Ideas for your Next Fundraising Event

Posted on March 19, 2024

A raffle is an easy way to increase fundraising revenue and engage supporters at events. It is important to host a successful raffle that ensures the prizes you offer are enticing enough to encourage your supporters to actually purchase raffle tickets. The key to success is “mass appeal.”

Choosing the right raffle prizes for your audience will help add extra value to your nonprofit events, encouraging supporters to continue participating in your fundraising initiatives. Raffles are one of the easiest ways to generate revenue for your cause because they bring a collective effort of many donors into one large goal without a large investment of time or money.

How does a raffle work?

Supporters purchase raffle tickets, typically for a low fee. Each ticket purchase equals one entry into the raffle. At the end of the event or raffle entry period, one or more winners are chosen, depending on the number of prizes offered.

Raffles often take place at fundraising events like galas or auctions. They can also be held virtually, and supporters can purchase tickets online. This is also a great way to extend your fundraising outside of your event, as donors and supporters who can’t attend can still participate.

It is important to note that raffles are considered “games of chance” or a form of gambling, which is illegal in many states. Check your state’s gambling regulations and consult with your legal team to ensure you can legally host your raffle. You may need to secure a permit or license and follow specific regulations for hosting and handling income made at the raffle.

What is considered a good item for a raffle?

The item should have a minimum of a 10:1 ratio of value in relation to the ticket cost and the prize’s value. If your prize is worth $1,000 or more, you can offer tickets for $100, and people will engage. If your prize value is more significant, such as $5,000 or more, consider increasing the ticket price or selling more tickets. 

Where can I procure an item for a raffle?

Connect with corporate partners and individual donors to ask if they’d be willing to donate raffle prizes to your fundraiser. Corporate partners are often happy to help out because of the benefits they receive from charitable involvement. 

Emphasize the positive publicity that corporate sponsors and individual donors can receive from donating raffle prizes to your event. Your nonprofit can publicly thank these donors using social media, email, blog posts, and other event marketing materials.

Another option is to use a valuable prize from a consignment company, such as travel, experiences, events, or memorabilia. These companies understand the importance of creating mass-appeal items with value that incentivize potential donors to buy a raffle ticket. 

Of course, there is a cost associated with a consignment item. If your cost of the item is $2,000, and you sell 100 tickets at $100 each, you will raise $10,000, but then after the expense of the item, your organization would net the difference of $8,000. As long as the mass appeal of the consignment item is valued, you will likely sell more tickets for this item than a donated item with less appeal and potentially raise more money with a consigned item than a donated item.

What is the proper way to plan a raffle?

The easiest way to manage a raffle is through a mobile bidding system, which can be accessed by a computer or smartphone. This would allow you to combine in-person sales of raffle tickets with sales using social media and promotion for your event and raffle. 

One of the mass appeal aspects of a raffle is its exclusivity. Limiting the number of tickets to a set amount allows potential buyers to perceive their chances as significant enough to make the purchase worthwhile. If your donor sees a 1 in 100 chance to go on an amazing vacation or see an amazing event, that level of probability is worth the investment!

Of course, you can manage a raffle the old-fashioned way and actually sell tickets, which are then placed into a basket or box. If you are doing this at an event, you want to have several people selling raffle tickets. 

TIP: Make sure you have some sort of indicator that someone has been approached for a raffle purchase. Maybe give EVERYONE who is approached a blinky ring or a fun sticker to place on their chest. This allows all of your raffle ticket salespeople to quickly identify who has already been approached, reducing the potential for annoying your guests at the event.

It is now time to identify some ideas for what to raffle to help engage your event audience and sell more tickets. Most of the ones shown below will be ideal for a raffle entry price of $50 or $100 per ticket sold and selling 100 tickets.

Vacation Packages

Everyone travels at some point. Giving anyone a chance to go on vacation for $100 sounds too good to be true! Yet, it is easy to put together a package that offers multiple destinations that would create mass appeal and get many to buy a raffle ticket. Certainly, one iconic destination can be enough, but leveraging different preferences in one bundle will typically excite more people. Here are some examples of raffle ticket packages that offer mass appeal:

https://missionfirstfundraising.org/events/golden-ticket-i-2/ 

https://missionfirstfundraising.org/events/golden-ticket-ii/

https://missionfirstfundraising.org/events/golden-ticket-iii/

https://missionfirstfundraising.org/events/golden-ticket-iv/

Of course, these examples have a consignment cost. But because of the bundling, you will typically sell more tickets for your raffle and outrun the cost associated with the consignment item.

Food and Beverage

Foodies will be thrilled to participate in your raffle when they can receive a fantastic food or beverage basket as a prize. Here are a few delicious ideas for food-related raffle prizes:

Wine. Who can’t resist another bottle of wine? Here is something that makes a wine raffle so successful. While most of us buy wine at the store for a specific price level, we rarely exceed our budgets to buy an expensive wine and miss out on amazing tasting experiences. If you procure a valuable vintage bottle or a unique variety of wine that donors have only heard and dreamed about, they will likely spend their usual amount for a bottle of wine for a chance to win a special bottle of wine.

Chef Dinner Experience Similar to the special wine, many of us dine out on a budget and tend to gravitate toward our favored establishments. But what if you offered up access to a special night with friends, with a chef-inspired dinner paired with wine? By making it an immersive experience with the chef, you are offering your donors a chance to experience a unique dining experience, which is worth buying a raffle ticket for.

Sports and leisure raffle prizes

The following sports and leisure-themed prizes make it easier for winners to participate in their favorite hobbies or relax and unwind after a stressful week:

Raffle and Silent Auction Basket Ideas - guitar

A Staycation Package. If you are lucky, you will likely have some localized items from sponsors and donors that are donated and can be combined into a special “staycation” package. After COVID-19, interest in local and even family-oriented experiences has grown. You may want to enhance this package with a procured dinner, show, etc. But if the perceived value exists, your donors will show interest.

Sporting Event(s) Package. Often, we get more than one donated sports-related item, especially if your city has many different teams to root for. Putting several sporting event tickets together in one bundle and then combined with memorabilia and a dining experience can make for a wonderful raffle package.

Autographed celebrity or sports memorabilia. Sometimes, an iconic moment comes along, and you need to capitalize. Right now, Taylor Swift is ‘super HOT,’ and just about anything with her signature is golden. You may have an iconic sports figure who has signed a ball or jersey, which would interest your audience. Just find something that is buzzworthy. And, as a bonus, people LOVE to retell the story of when they got a unique item for just $100!

Themed raffle basket ideas

Sometimes, your event has a special theme that can be an opportunity to build a raffle package related to that theme. For example, if your theme was “Havana Nights,” you could procure a travel experience to Cuba! 

Keep in mind that most people probably have not seriously considered going to Cuba, but inside of your themed event, it suddenly becomes intriguing! 

You could also have a package that is related to your specific mission. For example, if your mission was an animal shelter, your guests are likely the types to be interested in a pet-friendly vacation package. Think of ways to build around your special event, and your donors will love it!

Bundled Raffle ideasRaffle and Silent Auction Basket Ideas - lottery ticket

Gift cards. Let your local businesses shine by gathering several gift cards from around the community, such as gift cards for restaurants, gyms, clothing stores, and gift stores. The key is collecting enough gift cards that make the value of winning so compelling. Having ten plus gift cards worth $1,000 combined is certainly worthy of a chance to win!

Lottery tickets. Sometimes, the perceived value is greater than the actual cost of the package. Imagine 1,000 chances of winning the lottery! Yes, that is a lot of tickets, and there will likely be instant returns on some tickets, which means the winner is almost assured of recouping their investment. And who knows? They may win BIG!

Pro-bono services package. Connect with a local handyman, car detailing company, or landscaping or lawn service to see if they’d be willing to donate their services as a raffle prize.

Technology

When there is something newsworthy in the world of technology, everyone wants one! Remember when the iPad first came out? New technology is released all the time, and your tech-savvy supporters may be thrilled to see that your raffle prize is a tech item like one of the following:

Newest TV with the latest and greatest features. Set one lucky winner up with a sleek new TV. You can even throw in TV mounting services so the winner can install their new device effectively and safely in their home.

Smart home device. Amazon Echo, Google Nest, Ring Doorbell Cameras, and other smart home devices are revolutionizing how people protect and manage their homes. A new smart home device can be a great prize for any household looking to up their technology game.

Video gaming system. The global pandemic and a worldwide chip shortage made video game consoles like the PlayStation 5 extremely hard to come by. Because of these issues, many gamers still may not have access to the new systems they want. Offering a video game system like a PS5 can be enticing for supporters.

Computers and Tablets. Apple iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Amazon Fire are a few of the most popular tablet varieties to consider for your raffle prize. Whatever the kids are talking about, consider it!

Summary

Hosting a raffle is an effective way to add more excitement to your fundraising events and give supporters the chance to win a valuable prize in exchange for their support. All of these raffle ideas will help boost ticket sales and secure more revenue for your cause.