And the winner is . . . A raffle at a special event is a losing idea

One special event tactic that many people think is a fun and easy way to get people excited is to coordinate a raffle!

Yes! This sounds like GREAT fun!

This also sounds like something a bunch of high level marketing executives come up with in the dead of winter.  Raffles look good on paper.  They are the fun idea when nobody else around the table can come up with a fun idea.  I’ll give you an example of the conversation:

 

Marketing Executive #1 – “We need to figure out a way to better engage our audience. Any ideas?”

Marketing Executive #2 – “Spin Wheels are lame, Bean Bag toss is a fad, I know…how about a raffle?!”

On the ground Event Coordinator – “Uh well, I don’t think that’s such a good . . . “

Marketing Executive #1 – “YES! I love it! That will generate tons of leads! We’ll have the ability to send follow up e-mails galore! It’s approved, we’re doing a raffle!”

On the ground Event Coordinator – “Sigh.”

That’s it.  That’s how this whole thing starts.  Everyone around the conference table, in the middle of February thinks a raffle is the perfect activity at many, many summer time events.

Raffle Ticket

Here are ten reasons event raffles don’t work:

#10 – You will make signs, use a blow horn AND have a volunteer core of 50 good looking college students pass out the raffle tickets AND inevitably, 30 seconds before the raffle begins, 100 people are going to scream at you because they didn’t even know there was a raffle or where to get a ticket.

#9 – The prize is completely inadequate and you’re embarrassed that you even have to tell people what it is.

#8 – Because answering “YES” 100 times to the question “So, does the winner need to be present?” sounds like an excellent way to unwillingly donate three hours of your life.

#7 – Renting a raffle drum from Doolin’s costs $160 and NOBODY factored that into a budget.  “Can’t you just wrap up a box and put the tickets in there?” Stay Classy Marketing Exec.

#6 – Word will get out you’re coordinating a raffle and pretty soon every sponsor and promotional manager will unload all of last year’s promotional junk that nobody wanted and make a FANTASTIC PRIZE PACKAGE!

#5 – WAIT! The LEGAL DEPT. just found you’re coordinating a raffle! Did you submit the waiver? Are people going to sign a release? What if the prize breaks? Are we liable? What if the identities of the raffle entrants get stolen? Where’s the tiny print? Who’s drafting the language on the raffle ticket?  #COMPLICATED

#4 – “So does the winner need to be present?”

#3 – Event Guest:  “Can I please have a raffle ticket without giving you my address, birthdate, e-mail and social security number?”

On the ground Event Coordinator:  “Well Mam, Marketing Exec #1 really wants to know as much about you as poss . . . forget it, here’s your ticket don’t tell anyone I gave it to you.”

#2 – OK everyone we’re going to start the drawing! Please can I have your attention?! NO REALLY WE’RE STARTING THE DRAWING! PLEASE QUIET DOWN.  I NEED YOU TO PLEASE QUIET DOWN? EVERYONE, PLEASE GIVE ME JUST TWO MINUTES OF YOUR TIME!

#1 -  “And the winning raffle number is . . . .” then dead silence.  Crickets.  Nobody yells.  Nobody says anything.  Then you hear from the back of the crowd, “I’m like two numbers off, does that count?!”

Then you choose another number, “And the winning raffle number is …” again silence.  Someone yells something about FREE BIRD.

Third time, “And the winning raffle number is…” and just as you read the last number the person with the first ticket yells that he was in the bathroom! And he is the winner--- JUST as the friends of the 3rd number called start cheering for their awkwardly shy, not good looking, totally disinterested friend who is getting pushed towards you to claim the prize.

In the end you will muscle through it.  You will likely pit out your t-shirt, shirt and blazer from the stress and anxiety of managing one of the most awkward event elements in the event world.  But before long it’s over and everyone moves on as if it never happened.

(If you have coordinated an awkward raffle and would like to post your story, please do! I’ll be sure to enter your name in the chance to win a great . . . )

Today's post is dedicated to my friend & colleague Kaitlin who just recently stood next to me as yet another awkward raffle unfolded before us.  They never end.

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