There are approximately 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S. alone. Something all charities share in common is a need for funding. They go about getting that funding in a variety of ways.

Some organizations use pledge drives. Others host events to encourage private donations from well-to-do patrons. For small organizations that cater to a local area, though, those approaches may not work.

Instead, they look for less expensive options that encourage small contributions from everyday people, such as raffles. If you’re considering this option, keep reading for what you need to know about organizing a raffle.

Brush Up on Local Raffle Laws

In some states, raffles are fine, and just about anyone can run one. In other states, all raffles fall under the category of gambling. In those states, it typically takes a license or permit. You may also face different tax requirements.

Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you commit to a raffle.

Securing Prizes

For smaller organizations, spending a bunch of money on raffle prizes largely defeats the purpose of holding the raffle. You might make something, but buying those prizes will eat away at what you raise.

Instead, look for donations inside and outside of your organization. People in your organization might have new belongings they don’t use. These can make for great prizes.

You can also contact local businesses and ask them to donate prizes for raffles. You may get everything from gift cards to electronics.


Once you know your raffle won’t get you in trouble with the law and have secured the prizes, then you must deal with the logistics. You’ll need raffle tickets to sell, for one. You must decide on a price for the tickets.

The price will typically reflect the size of the biggest prize. If your biggest prize is a $300 TV, you’ll lower prices. If your biggest prize is a $2000 MacBook Pro, you’ll want higher ticket prices.

You must also consider marketing, such as social media and local ads. Before committing to a marketing strategy, spend some time setting raffle goals. You don’t want to spend $500 on marketing to make $500 on the raffle

If you want to expand your reach, raffle websites let you sell tickets online. Just make sure you limit participation to in-state residents.

Winner Announcements

Most charities like hosting an event where they draw the winners. It’s a way to encourage a bit of last-minute ticket buying and lets you talk a bit about your charity.

With health concerns still prominent on people’s minds, though, you may want to forego in-person events and stream the ticket selection online.

Organizing a Raffle Is Just the Beginning

Organizing a raffle must always start with understanding your local raffle laws. If it’s not considered gambling where you are, then you proceed to issues like securing prizes from inside and outside the organization.

Take your time working out the logistics and how best you can meet your raffle goals.

Looking for more fundraising insights and tips? Check out the posts in our business section.