How to Run a Raffle


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How to Run a Raffle


A raffle is a contest in which people buy one or more chances to win a prize and the winner is selected through a random drawing. Of all of the fundraisers out there, raffles are by far one of the easiest to conduct. Basically you just need to supply a prize or prizes and sell tickets.

Planning a Raffle Fundraiser



Raffles are easy to organize and the tickets are generally easy to sell. You can use tools like PTOFFICE to setup, run and manage your raffle. However, because raffles are a type of lottery, there are laws that govern this type of fundraising (refer to “Raffle Laws & Requirements” below). Before you commit, see what’s involved in planning a raffle fundraiser. This will help get you started.

  • Monetary Raffle: Monetary raffles can be arranged for just about any price range. Example 1: Sell 300 raffle tickets for $100 per ticket. Income is $30,000. First Prize-$10,000; Second Prize-$5,000; Third Prize: $2,500. Fourth Prize: $500. Profit is $12,000. Example 2: Sell 400 raffle tickets for $25 per ticket. Income is $10,000. First Prize-$3,000; Second Prize-$1,500; Third Prize-$750. Fourth Prize: $250. Profit is $4,500. Or, set the prizes at a monetary percentage of the money collected from the raffle. For example, first prize wins 25%, second place wins 15%, and third place wins 10%. Fifty percent of the collected funds will go to the school fundraiser.
  • Fifty-Fifty Raffle: A monetary raffle where half of the money collected goes to a single winner.
  • Single-Prize Raffle Option 1: Sell inexpensive raffle tickets (i.e. $1.00) and offer just one item as the prize. In this case the prize does not need to be a high dollar item, but we do recommend that it be something the kids will want to win. Your draw for this type of raffle is that the kids will encourage the parents to buy a chance to win and the parent will want to support your fundraiser with an inexpensive purchase. And again, try to ask for the item to be donated or ask a company to sponsor its purchase. For example, in December have a large air-blown inflatable holiday lawn decoration (6′-8′). Video game systems, bikes, or stereos are all items a child would love to have.
  • Single-Prize Raffle Option 2: Sell inexpensive raffle tickets (i.e. 1 for $5.00 or 6 for $25.00) and offer just one item as the prize. In this case the prize is a more expensive item. One school I visited raffled off a Bose Wave Radio (retail value approximately $500) and raised over $4,000 on this one raffle.
  • Multiple Prizes Raffle: Sell inexpensive raffle tickets (i.e. $1.00) and offer three or four items as raffle prizes, with the largest item as the First Prize. These can be just about anything, depending on the theme of your raffle (i.e. electronics, trips, or tickets to professional sporting events).
  • Squares Raffle: Draw a grid of 50 or 100 squares on a piece of paper. Number each square with a unique number (1 to 50 or 1 to 100). Sell squares for $5, $10, $15, or $20 each. Set the prizes at a monetary percentage of the money collected from the raffle. For example, first place wins 25%, second place wins 15%, and third place wins 10%. Fifty percent of the collected funds will go to the school fundraiser. The draw to this type of raffle is that everyone can see that only a limited number of squares are sold so the chance of winning is high.
  • Calendar Raffle: A calendar raffle runs for an entire month. Create a calendar and designate one prize to be given away on each day of the month. Draw one name each day to win that prize. Try to obtain sponsored prizes (i.e. gift certificates, electronics, sports equipment, etc.). Monetary prizes (i.e. $25, $50) can be given away if you cannot obtain donated prizes for each day, but these will eat into your fundraising profits. Sell calendars for $10, $12, or $15 each.
  • Gift Basket Raffle
  • Holiday Tree Raffle

The ideas for raffles are endless. Keep in mind that many states require a special permit/license for raffles, especially raffles $5,000 and over, so it’s important that you check your state’s laws and regulations.

Get creative! Instead of paper tickets, you can also use small, inexpensive, numbered items related to your event theme… or go online with PTOFFICE.

For example:

  • Golf tournament raffle: Sell numbered golf balls purchased used from a local driving range.
  • School-related raffle: Sell numbered pencils
  • Pancake breakfast raffle: Sell numbered, glass coffee mugs from the dollar store.
  • Craft Fair raffle: Sell numbered, homemade clay bracelets.

Upon a sale, the numbered item is given to the buyer and a paper ticket with the corresponding number is placed in the basket from which you’ll pull the winner(s). That way the buyer gets to keep the item to use and as a reminder of your event.


Contest winners are determined through a random drawing. Prizes are given away to contest winners. These may be a

  1. a sponsored purchase;
  2. a donated item; or
  3. half the money collected from a contest (also known as a 50/50 raffle).

With the exception of a 50/50 raffle, we do not recommend buying the raffle prizes with the proceeds collected from the ticket sales. This cuts into your fundraising profit and you may not reach your fundraising goal if you do not sell the amount of tickets you hoped to sell.

A large First Prize draws attention to your raffle and draws in sales so you’ll want to first seek this primary prize.

  • Cars
  • Trips
  • Electronics
  • Tickets to a professional sporting event
  • Money

Your raffle prizes can be based on a theme with the theme determined by the largest prize you have to offer. Let’s say you are able to get a large screen TV or a surround-sound system donated as your primary prize. Other prizes you may then want to have are a stereo, DVD player, or IPod.

If you are raffling off a large item (i.e. car) it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney.


Raffle tickets can be printed on your own or by a professional printer or you can run it completely online with a company like PTOFFICE. Of course, printing them yourself is less expensive, but unless you have someone in your organization familiar with printing and graphics, you may want to consider using a professional printer.

Raffle tickets are printed with two sections. The first section is for the buyer to fill in their contact information (name, address, and phone number). The seller submits this section of the ticket to be included in the raffle drawing. The second section of the ticket lists the details of the raffle – name of the charitable organization, date and place of the drawing, the dollar amount of the donation, and the prize(s) to be awarded. Give this section to the buyer. Some states require that you print directly on the ticket that the buyers need not be present at the drawing to win.

Numbered tickets add to the credibility of the tickets and are a requirement of some states. Both sections should have printed (not handwritten) the same unique number (i.e. Ticket No. 0045). Raffle ticket software can be purchased to make numbering easier.

Printing your tickets with an outside printer would likely give your tickets a more professional appearance, thus adding to the legitimacy of your raffle. Printers generally have ticket forms that you can choose from and simply input your information, they can print on just about any color and weight paper, and they can print unique numbers on each ticket. Following are links to online raffle ticket printers.


Laws governing the sale of raffle tickets vary state by state. A good place to start is by contacting your local city hall, police department, or state department. Since this is considered a lottery in many states, tickets should be sold to adults only and only adult members of your organization who shall receive no financial remuneration should sell tickets.

That being said, sell, sell, sell! Motivate your sellers by encouraging them to reach the goals you’ve set.

  • Encourage parents to purchase tickets themselves and to sell to their family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Set up a sale table where students are picked up and dropped off at school.
  • Set up a sale table at school sponsored events (sporting events, dinners, crafts fairs, etc.).
  • Ask your local grocery store, bank, or church if you can set up a table to sell tickets one afternoon.
  • Ask local businesses to purchase tickets in support of your fundraiser.
  • Pair your raffle drawing day with another school related event (i.e. sport event, pancake breakfast, vendor sale) so that a large audience is already present which will generate last minute sales.
  • Energize your sellers from the beginning. Encourage them to reach a particular sales goal by a set date. If you plan to sell tickets for 4 weeks, perhaps set a sales goal at 2 weeks prior to the drawing to sell more than half the tickets.

As you distribute tickets for sale, keep a log of which raffle numbers are given to whom to sell. As ticket stubs are received back, you may also want to keep a written log of which ticket numbers were sold to whom. By doing this, you can confirm that there are no duplicate numbers.

Begin selling tickets approximately one month prior to the drawing. You may want to allow for at least two months selling time if high dollar prizes are involved.


Raffle laws and requirements vary state to state. The state, county or city government may require applications, licenses, or permits to conduct a raffle. A fee usually applies. Each state also has different requirements about what types of organizations are allowed to hold a raffle and how the raffle is to be conducted. Conducting a raffle is currently illegal in some states (Arkansas, Hawaii, Kansas, Utah, and Wyoming) so please check with your city hall, police department, or state department. The following links are intended to get you started in researching your state’s laws and regulations on conducting a raffle, but it is by no means comprehensive and PTOFFICE is not responsible for the content once you link to another site.

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky
  18. Louisiana
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Michigan
  23. Minnesota
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada
  29. New Hampshire
  30. New Jersey
  31. New Mexico
  32. New York
  33. North Carolina
  34. North Dakota
  35. Ohio
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oregon
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. Rhode Island
  40. South Carolina
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington
  48. West Virginia
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming


*Special thanks to for this great guide! Visit them for more great ideas!


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