How to Set Up Charity Car Raffles

Written by lisa f. wilson
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Running a car raffle can be a great way for a charity organisation to raise funds but it requires substantial planning, preparation and work for this kind of raffle to operate smoothly and achieve financial success. If you have a group of dedicated volunteers with strong community contacts, and the time and ability to sell chances, organising a car raffle could be well worth the effort.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Car
  • Monetary or other additional prizes (optional)
  • State and local licenses/forms
  • Tickets
  • Ticket Drum

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  1. 1

    Check with your municipality to see if games of chance are legal in your area; also check your state gaming laws. Because a raffle is considered gambling, the laws governing them vary by state. You will need to obtain the proper forms from both your state and township to legally hold a charity raffle.

  2. 2

    Determine the prize you will offer. The type of car you choose to raffle will impact your ticket sales. Most people will be willing to purchase a $20 to $50 dollar ticket to win a luxury car because it is not a type of car they would generally buy for themselves. Offering additional monetary or other prizes will also increase your ticket sales.

  3. 3

    Find donors. Contact area car dealerships to see if any are willing to donate a vehicle in exchange for positive publicity. If you can, arrange to meet the owner in person since it is harder to say "no" to a charity face to face than it is over the phone. If you cannot find an owner willing to donate a car, negotiate purchasing one with money collected from the ticket sales for 25% off the dealer price tag. This way the dealership receives publicity as well as a small profit. Use this technique for any other prizes you want to offer as well.

  4. 4

    Establish the rules for entry into the raffle. Since this is a form of gambling, your state may restrict the age of a buyer of a ticket. Additionally, the entry rules should make clear whether or not the winner is responsible for any applicable local, state and federal taxes, insurance, delivery costs or miscellaneous items like title transfers or registration.

  5. 5

    Calculate the price the tickets should be sold for. This will require you to make a budget and an estimation in regard to the amount of tickets you will feasibly be able to sell. For example, if acquiring the car will cost your group £14,300, the price of printing the tickets will be £455 and the advertising is anticipated to be £975 and you assume your group will be able to sell 1,000 tickets, then the cost per ticket has to be approximately £16 just to break even.

  6. 6

    Set the date for the drawing. The profit you will make on your raffle will depend on the number of tickets your organisation is able to sell. Since the date the prize will be drawn needs to be on the ticket, you need to choose a date that will give you enough time to sell the appropriate amount of tickets. Usually, two months is ample time. However, if your group is very small, you may need to push the drawing farther into the future.

  7. 7

    Fill out and file the appropriate local and state applications. Before you can sell a single ticket you need to have your legal ducks in a row. Since most state and township raffle licenses require information on any prizes, how the prizes were obtained and the ticket information, this step should be completed only after you have secured that information.

  8. 8

    Get the tickets printed. The most inexpensive way to print the tickets is to do it yourself. By printing the tickets in-house you can easily do another run if you should sell out. Keep in mind, however, that you want your tickets to be of a professional quality, which may require you to purchase software and special paper. Other alternatives would be to have the printing services donated or adding the cost of printing into the ticket price.

  9. 9

    Publicise your raffle. There are free and low-cost ways to advertise your fundraiser: press releases, notices in church bulletins and community message boards, announcements on social networking sites and flyers handed out by volunteers. Also use the contacts and outlets your prize donors have and are willing to share with you.

  10. 10

    Sell the tickets. Set a goal for each member of your organisation. Get consent to sell the tickets in high-traffic areas within your township, set up tables--with permission--to sell the chances at other events and recruit others outside of your group to sell tickets for you.

  11. 11

    Draw the winners. This can be done with a great deal of fanfare, making the drawing an event in and of itself that the public is invited to, or you can simply draw the winners on the preselected date and contact them by phone. No matter which option you choose, you should have a ticket drum to shuffle the chances and someone outside of your organisation to pull the winners.

  12. 12

    Review the results of your raffle and file any relevant forms required by your municipality and state. After the raffle is over, not only will you need to determine the profit you made, but in most states you will also need to file a financial report including who the winners were and their contact information.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of a new car, a restored classic or collector car can be a good alternative.
  • Using a local "celebrity" to draw the winners will bring more attention and people to your drawing.
  • Do not think that because you organisation is small that you can skip any of the possible legal steps. Not complying with your state gaming laws can result in hefty fines and loss of your raffle profits.
  • Raffles cannot be run by for-profit entities or individuals.

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