Online Fundraising
March 7, 2022

The Do’s and Don'ts of Hosting an Online Raffle Fundraiser

Not many fundraising strategies are as great as online charity raffles at bringing in plenty of revenue while operating on a budget. But when it’s your first time hosting these raffles, it’s easy to get caught up in the details or feel lost. Ascend has been helping nonprofits host successful online charity raffles for years. And we have discovered the practices that contribute to success and those that might negatively impact your results.  

In this article, we will focus on the do’s and don’ts of hosting successful online raffle fundraisers.

Benefits of online fundraising

For the last couple of years, online fundraising has been on the rise. And that’s mainly because it offers benefits that far exceed what you get with most offline fundraisers. Here are just a few of the biggest benefits: 

  • Great ROI (Return on Investment): Because you don’t have to book venues and deal with any of the logistical obligations that come with offline events, digital fundraising is naturally low-cost. This translates into an amazing ROI. 
  • Greater reach: Since the internet isn’t limited by geographical constraints, it means anyone from just about anywhere on the planet can take part in your online fundraiser. Easy access to lots of donors means greater potential to raise more funds. 
  • Increased donor engagement and retention: It’s difficult to engage donors these days because there is just so much competition for their attention—other nonprofits are also constantly sending emails and targeting them with ads on social networks. But with an engaging fundraiser like a charity raffle, people will associate your nonprofit with fun. Not only will this increase engagement and loyalty, but it’s also good for retention. 
  • Collect more information: In the digital age, the more you know about your customers, the better. You can tailor your campaigns for better targeting and persuasion. All this information is easy to collect when you have your fundraiser online.

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

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The do’s of hosting an online charity raffle 

1. Capture donor data

What you must remember is that people are reluctant to give their email addresses to companies these days. Nearly half of consumers complain that they receive way too many marketing emails. This is where online charitable games offer a great opportunity for your nonprofit to stand out from the crowd. For people to enter into your raffle, they have to buy a ticket (donate) which also gets them a chance at winning a prize. At the same time, they are supposed to share their contact details (and any information you may ask) so you can get in touch with them if they win. This is a perfect example of killing two birds with one stone. 

Remember, your donor database grows with every event—so even after the raffle has ended, you have a large pool of contacts to solicit donations from. The key is to nurture these donors the moment they get on your database and make them feel connected to your cause to ensure they remember you when you contact them later.

2. Showcase the impact of the donation

For many individuals, the primary motivation for participating in an online charity raffle isn’t to win (they could be playing in for-profit raffles if that was the case) but to help you raise enough money to fulfill your charitable cause. For these people, winning is only a bonus.  

This is why it’s important to showcase the impact their donation will have. The dollars-to-impact approach is a classic that works well. Tell them how that $50 they have just paid to enter into the raffle will be used. Associate the dollar value with a tangible outcome. This also shows that you are a transparent nonprofit, thus earning their trust. 

3. Make it fun

The whole idea of hosting an online charity raffle is exciting and fun. So, you need to be sure that the game you choose is engaging in the first place. There are plenty of charitable games you can organize in your nonprofit. But truth be told, 50/50 raffles and Catch the Ace are the most popular. 

50/50 raffle: This is an online raffle where participants buy tickets to take part in the raffle. The jackpot is made up of 50% of the ticket sales (no need for you to budget for the prize). And the other 50% goes to the nonprofit hosting the raffle. So this means each week as you sell more tickets, the jackpot keeps on growing. This is what creates excitement.

Catch the Ace: This is a raffle with a weekly draw where the weekly winner receives a percentage of the week's proceeds from ticket sales. In addition, there is a progressive jackpot that keeps on growing each week and is won by the person who catches the Ace of Spades—this means there are two ways to win.

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

4. Build fast, responsive donation pages

When it comes to webpage load times, speed saves. A 2018 Google report showed that when page load time increased from one second to ten seconds, the bounce rate went up by 123%. So, optimize your website to load faster.  

Another thing you should do is to make your website responsive. This means that every page should be able to adapt to the visitor’s viewpoint, which could be mobile, desktop or tablet. As of November 2021, 53.98% of traffic on the web was mobile. If you don’t optimize your pages, you will miss out on all this traffic. And if that doesn’t convince you to invest in a responsive website, consider the fact that people don’t trust websites that aren’t optimized for mobile

Related: 6 Tips to Increase Your Donation Page Conversion Rate 

5. Offer multiple payment options

Everyone has their preferred way of donating—some would rather use PayPal, others credit cards, and others banks. So make sure you have the options that are popular among your donors enabled. There are plenty of reasons why donors may abandon the donation process—not having their preferred form of payment is the silliest of them all.

Related: Payment Processors for Nonprofits: What Are They and Why You Need One

6. Integrate platforms

Once the raffle has been launched, you will have plenty of data coming in. And it might prove time-consuming to keep up with it all. This is why it helps to integrate all the systems you are using—your website, payment gateway, analytics, etc. This will help you stay efficient. Using an all-in-one solution might also be a great idea. 

The don’ts of hosting online charity raffles

1. Use a complicated donation process

Making a transaction, especially for new donors, is always scary. What if your nonprofit is a scam? In other situations, the donor might not be convinced your nonprofit deserves their donation. Whatever the case, this is why it’s important to remove all the friction points in your donation process. 

Don’t ask customers to click through a bunch of pages just to buy a ticket for the raffle. Don’t ask them to provide too much information (especially if it’s information you don't need). The easier it is to buy a raffle ticket, the less the dropoff. 

2. Be vague

The copy on the page is also crucial. Not only does it have to be persuasive so people are inspired to take part in the charity raffle, but it also has to be clear. People have to know what it is exactly that you are asking them to do. Give specifics and figure out the most frequently asked questions so you can address them on the page.

3. Take your supporters and donors for granted

This can come in many forms. For example, not properly thanking them after they donate (you miss an opportunity to turn them into loyal fans). Or you may disregard their emails or calls requesting more information.

4. Expect overnight success

Learning the ins and outs of successful charity raffles takes plenty of research and time. This is why you need to be patient. The relationship you have with your donors may need nurturing before they can feel confident donating to your nonprofit. The campaigns promoting your raffle may need to be tested and tweaked to get the best results. All this means you should be realistic when setting your goals. 

Related: How to Set Nonprofit Fundraising Goals that Lead to Desirable Outcomes

Hosting an online charity raffle is a great way to supplement your income. It’s easy to set up, you will achieve a great ROI and also grow your donor database. The dos and don’ts laid in this article will help increase your chances of success. 

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