How to Combine an Online Raffle and In-Person Raffle

April 27, 2023

Online raffles are an easy way for nonprofit organisations raise money. But merging in-person and virtual raffle fundraisers is where it’s at! Most of the thousands of raffles conducted using the Eventgroove fundraising platform are hybrid—that is, a mash up of an online raffle and in-person raffle! So, if you’re looking to boost your fundraiser’s reach, consider running a virtual raffle alongside your traditional raffle. By combining the two formats, you can engage both online and in-person audiences while raising more money for your great cause. Below, we’ll detail how to combine an online raffle with an in-person raffle, pass on tips for hybrid raffle success from our customers, and share examples of actual hybrid raffles run by nonprofit organizations.

Why should you merge an online raffle and traditional raffle?

By conducting raffle ticket sales in person and online, more people will be made aware of your charity event. Supporters can share your raffle website within their social networks, thus enabling people far and wide to participate. As a result, you’ll sell more raffle tickets, increase awareness for your cause, and reach fundraising goals.

How to run an online raffle and IRL raffle together

Start with a raffle platform built to handle virtual fundraising events! Using one simplifies building a raffle website, managing participants, handling payment processing, and conducting a random drawing. Plus, many have marketing and analytics tools built right in. Once you’ve selected your raffle platform, follow the steps below. Please keep in mind that they’ve been written as though you were using the Eventgroove platform (since that’s the one we know!). However, the action items are all necessary to selling digital tickets and paper tickets simultaneously for your raffle fundraiser.
1. Set up your raffle website.
You’ll notice a ticked box in your Eventgroove Fundraising dashboard indicating you plan to sell digital tickets and physical tickets. If, in the future, you’d like to sell online tickets only, simply uncheck the box!
2. Set the ticket numbers for each ticket type in your dashboard.
During set up, under the first raffle section, open “More Options” to define your starting numbers. Reports will add a prefix of W to online raffle ticket numbers and P to printed raffle ticket entries. Some organizers prefer to stagger these numbers. For example, printed raffle tickets are numbered at 1-499 while virtual raffle tickets would start at 500. When our random number generator works its magic, everyone who bought a raffle ticket is included!
3. Start marketing your fundraising raffle.
To run a successful hybrid raffle event, start by promoting it across multiple channels. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to advertise the virtual component of the fundraiser, while encouraging local supporters and those in your town or community to buy tickets. One super effective way to boost in-person paper ticket sales is to use posters, lawn signs, and postcards printed with QR codes. The QR codes then direct people to your online raffle website. One of our customers had great success with this strategy — you can read all about it in our case study!
4. Begin selling raffle tickets.
This step is Eventgroove-specific, but it’s very possible that merging online and in-person raffles on other online platforms work similarly.
  • Virtual raffle ticket purchases are tracked and entered automatically in the Eventgroove system. All you need to do is spread the word.
  • Enter physical raffle ticket purchases into the CSV template accessible from the “Enter Physical Entries” section within your Dashboard. When you close your raffle ticket sales period, upload the CSV file. That way, the money raised can be tallied and entered into the prize drawing.
5. Run your drawing.
You can pick winning tickets using the random number generator or select them yourself!

Run a Successful Hybrid Raffle Event with These Tips from Nonprofits

Sell virtual raffle tickets in person!
Pro tip: Set up a QR code on your phone that leads to your raffle site. When someone wants to pay with a credit card in person, you can sell them a virtual raffle ticket! Just have them scan the code on your phone then make their purchase using raffle website.
On entering physical ticket sales.
Pro tip: Back out enough time before the drawing and closing of ticket sales to make sure all the information is correct and you get no error messages due to data entry mistakes.
Raffling multiple prizes?
Pro tip #1: Make sure the name of the prize in the raffle platform system exactly matches that on the spreadsheet of raffle tickets sold. For instance, if someone is bidding on a mug, indicate that in the spreadsheet so you know who bid on what. Additionally, the prize names in the spreadsheet and your fundraising dashboard should match, otherwise, the system won’t recognise it and there will be an error message, slowing down the drawing process! Pro tip #2: When you’ve got tons of raffle items (such as our church customer who held a virtual basket raffle with over 300 raffle prizes!), the system can take a little longer to draw winners for each item. So, if winners expect to pick up their prizes at the end of your fundraising event, make sure to start that process with a 15-30 minute time cushion.
Want to change the closing date of your hybrid raffle?
Pro tip: Make that decision before the raffle ends within the raffle platform system, otherwise you can’t change the closing date  

Examples of Real Nonprofits Combining Virtual and Traditional Raffles

Prince of Peace Church successfully raffled 30 prizes with a hybrid basket raffle.
St. Joseph’s creative holiday raffle introduced a new prize for every day of their “25 Days of Christmas” fundraiser.
So there you have it, folks. By combining an online raffle and in-person raffle, you can create a winning combination that will take your fundraising efforts to new heights. It’s like mixing chocolate and ice cream – two great things on their own, but even better together. Before you get started, though, check the raffle laws in your area. If you run into that problem, consider a charity sweepstakes! Our article, Charity Sweepstakes or Raffles—Which is the Better Nonprofit Fundraiser? explains the differences between the two. For help determining the right raffle ticket price, check out our raffle ticket price calculator. Finally, for more information about raffles, check out our e-book, Raffle for Success.

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