Creative Fund Raising Idea
Grand Draw

It may not seem too much like a creative fund raising idea but the grand draw when run properly is really hard to beat! If your organization has been about a while youve probably heard of many weird and wonderful schemes on how to raise the big money? The strange thing is that, having tried many schemes, there is still no better way to raise big money than to run a large scale draw. If you're looking for a creative fund raising idea for a capital campaign don't look past this one.

When people think of a large scale draw they usually imagine $100 tickets and how hard they are to sell, because lets face it thats a lot of money for someone to shell out in one go. Well, the part about the $100 tickets is unavoidable, if you want to raise big money; unless you want to be selling tickets all day every day for a month! The key phrase here is in one go. Dont ask people to pay for a $100 ticket all at once.

The best way to run one of these draws is to spread the cost of the ticket out over 10 months, which means that people are only paying $10 a month. That opens up the draw to many more young people, who wouldnt otherwise be able to support it (theyll even club together to buy a ticket). That's what really makes this one a creative fund raising idea.

Now, spreading the cost over 10 months has the potential to be a collection headache for your volunteers but that can be overcome very easily by using standing orders. Create a standing order form on your word processor.

Add your organizations bank account details and give plenty of copies to your volunteers when they go out to sell the tickets. Dont be tempted to let the buyer sign the form and send it into their bank. When they fill in the details you take the form back, and then sort them out into piles for the various banks before sending them to the banks yourself (better still, take them into a branch).

There will still be a certain amount of collecting to be done each month but it will be negligible if you can get most people to go with the standing order. There are not as many dropouts with standing orders.

You can structure the prizes in whatever way you wish. We usually have a draw for $1000 each month, for the first 9 months. Then in the last month we have three prizes. The first prize is usually a car and we get a local car dealer to sponsor it by giving it to us for cost price (usually about $9000). The car dealer gets to have their name on the tickets and theyll get a nice photo opportunity when presenting it to the winner (distributed to the local press etc.) Like any creative fund raising idea, you are trying to keep your costs to a minimum to maximise profits.

The second prize is usually a $1500 holiday voucher and the third prize is $1000. So for 600 tickets we take in $60,000 and pay out $20,500. That leaves us with around $40,000 after taking into account the odd drop-out. By the way, we have a rule where only fully paid up tickets are eligible for the draw for the car.

Advertise well before you ever produce a ticket. Pre-sell people by stating what the money is needed for and what benefits it will deliver. Get the shock factor out of the way before Volunteers start arriving on doorsteps. We normally limit ticket sales to 600, which not only gives good odds but it also avoids the sellers having to venture too far out of the local community to meet the targets.

Dont rule out paid ticket sellers for big campaigns (known as outsourcing). Just make sure you train these people with whatever message you want them to deliver. Another option for this creative fund raising idea is to sell the tickets on your website.

In terms of administration youll need to keep track of all of the paid up members each month. Assign one person to keep track of the overall picture through in a central document thats got a record of the tickets and their buyers (including address and telephone number). Split up the collection each month between your volunteers by assign each of them to a particular area. Theyll report back to the overall coordinator.

The coordinator should keep a table for the 600 tickets, with 10 columns, one for each month. Its not a good idea just to tick the boxes as you get the money because some people will pay more than one month at different stages. That makes it difficult to tally up how much you should have for that month. What I do is mark the boxes with the month. See the example below:

Name Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan
& APR MAY MAY MAY AUG SEP SEP SEP DEC JAN

As you can see, this person gave me $30 in May and another $30 in September. I know what money I should have lifted in May by looking at all entries marked MAY. This system makes it easy to track. To maximise the effectiveness of any creative fund raising idea you should look for maximum exposures.

That' s why we organize the draw to end in January at our Dinner Dance. That boosts the numbers for the Dinner Dance a little so that cant be bad either.

These days, you'll hear many complex schemes being heralded as the ultimate creative fund raising idea, but of all the things I've tried, this one is hard to beat in terms of its flat out success rate.

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