Online Fundraising
January 17, 2022

Fundraising with 50/50 Online Raffles: 5 Things You Should Know

The 50/50 online charitable raffles are one of the most fun and easy fundraisers to organize, set up, and run. When done right, they can lead to great results in terms of donor engagement and financial returns. 

The conventional practice of running a charity raffle involves identifying and purchasing an attractive prize and often requires months of planning and pricey promotions. On the other hand, virtual 50/50 raffles have minimal upfront costs and require very little planning and effort. The prize or pot is funded through ticket sales and winnings are cash prizes that simplify the entire process.

In this article, we will shed light on the four things you should know as you plan a successful 50/50 fundraising campaign for your charity or nonprofit.

What are online charitable gaming fundraisers? 

Online charitable gaming fundraisers are attractive and high-engagement virtual events that give donors a chance to win exciting prizes by gamifying the fundraising process. The post-COVID-19 world has seen the rise of online charitable events or virtual fundraisers especially because physical events are not as viable anymore.

According to a study by OneCause, around 62% of nonprofits that opted for online fundraisers are better positioned to raise equal to or higher than their fundraising goals. There are various kinds of charitable gaming fundraisers; 50/50, Catch the Ace, and Sweepstakes are the most common.

In this article, we will dive deeper into understanding what 50/50 raffles are and how they work.

Related: An Introduction to Online Gaming-based Fundraising for Nonprofits

What is an online 50/50 raffle?

An online 50/50 raffle is a fun and effective fundraising program known to drive major profits. It is a fundraising concept that is similar to a normal raffle but instead of a pre-decided prize, the nonprofit or charity equally splits the total amount collected from the sale of tickets with the winner. 

An online 50/50 program also allows charities and nonprofits to reach new audiences with their message and grow their donor base. But the benefits don’t stop there. 50/50 raffles also offer a great opportunity to measure and optimize all aspects of an ongoing fundraising campaign. Above all, thanks to its life-changing cash prizes, it attracts great participation.  

How does a 50/50 raffle work?

A 50/50 charity raffle is funded via ticket sales. Winners are selected via a random draw. Organizations that see the maximum success with this method are those that typically repeat the draw every month. This helps build the momentum of the campaign and also grows the prize pot into a larger amount.

How is the prize split?

As the name suggests, a 50/50 charitable raffle ‘pot’ or ‘prize pool’ is split 50-50 between the winner and the organization. Earmarking the proceeds for a special event is bound to generate more interest and encourage greater participation. One of the key tips to having a super successful 50/50 charitable raffle is to keep announcing the ongoing sales and the amount of the growing pot to your audience as well the prize amount as this encourages more people to participate. 

Related: 4 Ways to Supercharge Your Online Gaming-based Fundraiser

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Get all your questions answered and learn how it all works.

5 things you should know about running an online 50/50

1. You need a license to operate

Due to the nature of these online events, charitable raffles and lotteries are regulated in most jurisdictions across the United States (U.S.) and Canada, which means you must apply for a license with the local regulatory agency to be able to run them. In Canada, it is illegal to run a raffle without a license and only religious or charitable organizations can apply for one.

2. Rules and regulations differ by each U.S. state or Canadian province

In the U.S. many states allow online raffles in some form, with a couple of states such as Utah and Hawaii having strict laws. Rules and requirements vary by state; you can check with your state’s Attorney General's office for the latest regulations.

In Canada, rules vary by province; the provincial Alcohol and Gaming Commission websites are good starting points for research on the rules, regulations, and application process.

Related: Regulatory Guidance for U.S. States and Canadian Provinces and Territories

3. There are fees associated with obtaining a license and running the raffle

Typically, you will need to pay a small licensing fee to the regulatory authority. Other costs include marketing, promotions, email campaigns, payment processing, software, etc. However, compared to other in-person and hybrid methods of fundraising, organizing a 50/50 raffle is often cost-effective. 

4. There’s no limit on entries

A 50/50 program allows multiple entries. The ticket pricing model is usually designed to encourage more ticket sales. The more tickets an individual buys, the lower the price per ticket and the higher their chances of winning.

Related: 6 Ticket Pricing Tips for Your Online Fundraiser

5. It is a great way to earn revenue effortlessly

Online 50/50 raffles are easy to set up and run. The attractiveness of the growing ‘pot’ and the fact that ticket sales go towards a charitable cause act as organic motivators for people to buy tickets, thus ensuring a constant revenue build-up until the draw is held.  

Related: A Nonprofit’s Guide to Setting Up an Online Raffle with Ease

Case example: Lake of the Woods District Hospital Foundation 

The Lake of the Woods District Hospital serves approximately 15K residents and has about 20K primary care and 90K secondary care patients. In 2020, the pandemic halted their in-person fundraising events completely. The hospital Foundation was at the risk of losing over 50% of its expected annual donations (to the tune of $500K). They quickly turned to Ascend to recapture the shortfall with an online 50/50 program. To their delight, the 50/50 program didn’t just meet their goals but crushed them and put them on pace to generate $1.5 million in annual gross revenue. Plus, the program helped expand their reach and grow their email database from 250 to over 14K.

View the case study.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’d like to increase the results of your fundraising campaigns, grow your reach and donor base, and skyrocket your profits, it’s never too late  to consider running an online 50/50 raffle. Collaborate with a full-service partner like Ascend today and see your fundraisers succeed.

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