The Best Way to Start a House Raffle

I think of a house raffle like a horse race. What do I mean by that? Well, a horse race requires a great deal of preparation before the actual race, then the race starts with a bang, the horses shoot out of the gate with great speed until they climb to a steady momentum, finally, there is a burst of energy as they round the bend to the finish line. So a house raffle is no different. First of all, prepare in advance—create a solid marketing plan, recruit volunteers, find business sponsors, spiffy up the grand prize home, create your website, do all the required paperwork for your state, and once all of this in place, then you’re ready to orchestrate the first day of tickets sales that will shoot you out of the opening gate with a bang.

The main reason the organization running the raffle must start with a bang is that people do the math. In other words, they’ll come to an open house and say something like this, “Hmmm, you’ve been selling tickets for six weeks now and you’ve only sold 300 tickets, at that rate you’re not going to get all the tickets sold by the drawing date. I’ll wait and see, and maybe buy a ticket later on.” Imagine hundreds of people “waiting to see” –that’s a death rattle for your house raffle. So start with a bang where lots of tickets get sold right out of the starting gate.

So how do you create a bang?  Start your first day of ticket sales with an event. There are many ways to create this first day bang, but I recommend that you hold an event at the prize home with a special open house. Sell tickets, with media coverage and something special happening. Provide refreshments to the visitors – for example, have a hotdog company, that would like to promote their brand of hot dogs, give away free hotdogs at your bang event. They will like this idea if you have media coverage. Then have a beverage company do the same. But you can’t call them a few days before and expect this to happen (pre-planning is essential).  Find a celebrity to meet and greet at the event, even the local college basketball or football team players with cheerleaders will entice people to come. The team could even give away tickets to future games. Give away helium inflated balloons for the kids, you might find a balloon blower to make them into shapes for the kids.

You can even have a drawing, not a raffle, but a free drawing every 30 minutes and give away stuff—free movie tickets, free dinner for two, free tennis lesson. This does two things: It makes the day fun and creates a spirit of generosity from your visitors, and it makes people stay in the home for about 30 minutes. The longer people stay in the home, the greater chance that they will buy a raffle ticket.

So the house is decorated with balloons, and pendant flags, music playing, you’re giving away shaped balloons to the kids, free gifts in your drawings, people get refreshments, meet the celebrity guest/s, and TV or Radio or both are covering the event, and you’re selling raffle tickets. This will start you off with a bang.

In the weeks to come continue to build momentum in your ticket sales. Monitor daily so that you know what promotional activity is pulling in the most ticket sales and continue to adjust your marketing plan to get the best results. Then as you round the bend towards the finish line, create another big push to get the remainder of the tickets sold.

To your success,

Diane Giraudo-McDermott
November 12, 2010

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