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1. What is a Raffle?

A raffle is generally a contest in which participants purchase a ticket or “chance” at winning a prize.Raffles are conducted by registered charitable organizations and the net proceeds from the raffle must be devoted to a charitable or public service activity or endeavor.

2. Can a for profit business or individual run a raffle?

Contests sponsored by for profit businesses or governments would either be defined as a lottery (if a ticket purchase is required) or a sweepstakes (if no purchase is necessary) and there are other laws that govern these activities.

3. How do I know if conducting a raffle is legal in my state?

Some states allow raffles while others do not. See this list of United States Raffle Laws by State

4. Are raffles legal in Canada?

The gaming commission of the province where the raffle will take place has legal authority over raffles conducted in that province. More information about gaming in Canada.

5. Can our group sell raffle tickets online?

Selling tickets online is a gray area and I have not found a definitive answer one way or another. It is best to consult with an attorney who has experience in this area. Many charities do at least advertise their raffles online and have an address or contact information so people can order tickets.

6. What information should be printed on the tickets?

There are key pieces of information that need to be on your tickets. You need a section for the purchaser to fill out which will then be put in the drawing. On the left-hand side of the ticket include: name, address, phone and email (optional).

On the right hand side print information about the drawing: the organization’s name, address and/or city, state, phone number, date of the raffle, list of major prizes, and website. Give this stub to the purchaser to keep.

Numbered tickets will enhance the professionalism of your tickets and give your coordinator an easy way to keep track of the number sold. Numbered tickets are also required for some states. Raffle ticket software makes numbering tickets easy.

7. How much should we charge for raffle tickets?

That depends on the value of the prizes offered.

  • For low value items, $1-2 per ticket is normal.
  • For high value items such as automobiles, boats, or large travel prizes $10-20 per ticket is acceptable. I have seen some raffles charge up to $100 per ticket. However it can be more difficult to sell tickets at this price.
  • For mid level prizes such as televisions, weekend getaways etc. $5 is a good median price.

More Raffle Questions

You can view more Frequently Asked Questions About Raffles here. For a complete guide that will help your group set up a raffle see Raffle Secrets: The Complete Raffle Fundraising System.

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Posted on 28 January 2008

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