Raffles are a very popular means of raising funds for charities and for good reason. They are fun, fairly easy to organise, and inexpensive to put on. Because of their low cost, they provide very high profit margins for the organisations that use them. All you need is a bit of know-how, attractive prizes and volunteers to sell the tickets.
What exactly, are you raising funds for? School supplies for poor children? Building space for a soup kitchen? The people who you are selling the raffle tickets to are going to want to know where the money is going. Yes, they will be drawn in by the hope of winning a prize, but they also want to know the money is going to a good cause.
You should not use the proceeds from your raffle tickets to purchase prizes. This will cut into your profit margin. Instead, approach business owners in your area and ask them to donate items as prizes. An electronics shop may be willing to donate an item such as a big-screen TV, stereo or computer. A resort within driving distance might put up a weekend getaway. Sell the merchants on the worthiness of your cause, the tax write-off, and the publicity they will get for their business by donating a prize to your raffle.
This is fairly cheap to do. You want the tickets to be in two parts. One side should have a space for the purchaser to write their name, address, and phone number. This half goes into the drawing. The other side should have the name of your organisation, the location, date and time the drawing is to be held, information about the prizes and which merchants donated them. This half is for the purchaser to keep. And while you're getting merchants to donate prizes, why not ask the printer to donate the tickets, too?
Selling tickets is the easy part. All you need is some volunteers. Many of the ticket sales will be one-on-one as your volunteers sell them to family members, friends, and colleagues. You can also set up booths or tables outside supermarkets or other shops. If your ticket sellers can tell the buyers what your organisation is doing for the community, and your prizes are attractive, raffle tickets practically sell themselves.
Many local radio stations make public service announcements about events happening in the community. Talk to the station's community events program director about getting your raffle announced on the air. You may want to give the station manager some tickets in exchange for announcing your raffle on the air. Newspapers also usually feature community events. Call your local paper and talk to the community events writer. Don't forget to send them a "thank you" note for their help.
Making sure you know what the legalities are up front can save you trouble down the road.