Organising a major raffle

See Information Sheet No 10 for further fundraising ideas.

The purpose of this Information Sheet is to provide guide-lines for organising a major raffle for a society. The guidelines are in chronological order with appropriate notes and samples of letters, forms, etc in an appendix* at the end which references them to the numbered paragraph in which they are first mentioned.

The guidelines given are broad principles and are for a medium to large society. It will be necessary for individual societies to modify them to suit their own numbers, organisation, procedures, etc.


The essential characteristics required for a Raffle Organiser, Promoter or Permit Holder (that is a working permit holder – not just the person who signs the application form and lets someone else do all the work) are enthusiasm, optimism, persistence, tact, patience and a methodical approach to the whole affair.



Appointment of an Organiser by Management Committee/Council.


Decision on Prizes that are to be given, by Management Committee/Council.

It has been fairly well established that CASH prizes are appreciated more than holidays.

For a larger society one prize of $5000 and five prizes of $200 each, total of $6000, would be reasonable.


Prepare a budget and timetable for the complete cycle of the raffle. The budget should include prizes, rewards, advertising, postage and other anticipated costs. A budget is particularly necessary for the calculation of how many tickets must be sold to break even – to prevent the raffle being a cost to the society.


Decide on number of tickets to be printed and selling price per ticket eg 10 000 tickets printed, in 2000 books of 5 tickets @ $2.00 per ticket. The number to be printed depends on the number of financial members less those members who, for one reason or another, will opt out.

NOTE: Some society membership programs are designed to provide information on membership application/renewal forms about willingness to participate in raffles.

Consult the Membership Secretary or other appropriate officer to determine how many members want to participate and how many do not. Close liaison with the Membership Secretary will need to be maintained throughout the period of the raffle – a two-way flow of information regarding new and lapsed members, changes of address and phone numbers, etc will be necessary.

Obtain from the Membership Secretary an alphabetical listing of Members, with members of Branches separate by Branch if applicable, together with address labels in the same order, and a listing of members who have opted out. (This latter list will be useful when a member says. “”where is my book?””)

A worthwhile exercise in membership relations would be to write to those who have “opted out” pointing out to them that you have respected their wish not to be sent raffle books for sale and asking them if they would like to participate in the fund raising by making a donation.


Decide on number of tickets per Raffle book. Experience of other raffles has shown that it is easier to sell/buy oneself one book of 5 tickets @ $2.00 each i.e. $10.00 than a book of 10 tickets – less writing on counterfoils and less volume than if $1.00 each.


Decide on Best Time of Year to launch Raffle – Considerations are:

  1. a. Avoid subscription renewal period.
  2. b. Avoid competition with other major raffles – usually on sale two/three months before Christmas. Experience has shown that the best time to launch is August and to close and draw in November (possibly at an Annual/Christmas Dinner!).


Choose a good descriptive Name for the Raffle – e.g. “The GRO Index Raffle”. This gives Members a chance to explain the purpose of the Raffle (to purchase the England & Wales GRO indexes).


Apply to the appropriate State Department for an “Application for Permit to Conduct a Lottery”.


Submit a completed application form together with the required fee.


When the Permit* is received from the controlling authority design the ticket ensuring that all the various Prizes and requirements such as the Permit Number are shown and that the size is such that a book of tickets will fit comfortably into a DL 220 x 110 self seal envelope.


Get quotes for printing the Raffle Books* (Tickets, Butts and Covers), including the requirement that they be wrapped in packets of 200 books (ie 200 x 5 = 1000 Tickets). This makes handling and distributing them to helpers easier.

NOTE: Using one central staple only in the books instead of two will reduce the work required to de-staple the counterfoils for the draw.


Draft a covering letter* to Members explaining that each is being sent:

  1. One raffle book containing 5 Tickets @ $2.00 per ticket.
  2. An addressed envelope for return/reply

The purpose of the raffle and its value to the society should be reiterated. Also, the value of the prizes and the rewards for “Seller of the Winning Ticket” and “Member who sells the Most Completed Books” plus the incentive for Branch Members (if applicable) whereby the Branch receives a proportion of the value of each complete book sold by Branch Members, e.g. $4.00 per book, should be included.

Members should also be requested that if they do not wish to sell/buy for themselves they return the books ASAP so that they can be re-issued.


Obtain approval of the covering letter from Management Committee and produce the required number of copies (equals members to whom books are being sent).


Depending on the society’s postal arrangements it may be beneficial to Apply for a Post Office Box at a location more convenient to the Organiser – this would make it easier to pick up every day. It should be kept in mind that security of the books in a PO Box prior to collection is assured and conflict between the society’s ordinary mail and raffle mail is avoided.


When arrangements for receiving mail have been finalised obtain quotes to print the appropriate number of envelopes* (DL 220 x 110 selfseal) for both the mailing of books to members and the returns. Envelopes for mailing to members should include a return address for non-delivery, and for returns should be “Self Addressed”. Appropriate arrangements will need to be made with the society’s Treasurer and the postal authorities re payment, etc.


Mailing Day should be three months and two weeks before the draw. By this day ensure that the following have been obtained:

  • Raffle Books
  • Letters – proof read, signed and printed
  • Reply Envelopes
  • Envelopes for mailing out
  • List of Members in A-Z order plus self-adhesive address labels (both with overseas members removed).

Mailing should be done by pairs of helpers. Each pair could handle up to 400 mailings and would require the appropriate number of sets of raffle books, letters, reply envelopes, mailing envelopes and labels with a portion of the membership lists including the selected number of members.

NOTE: Ensure that the raffle book numbers line up with the member numbers and that each pair starts where the previous pair finished.

Enter the number of the raffle book sent against each member’s name. This list will be used later to write up the records (see para 17).

Batch the envelopes into 50s and post them.

Thank the helpers – their assistance might be needed again when only about half the expected books have been returned and there are only 6 weeks left before the close! (See 18 below)


Account for each raffle book – see that it is returned, then check and bank the proceeds (cash, cheque or even credit card) and store the sold butts for the draw. It is better to keep the butts intact in case there are any queries and to remove the staples just before the draw.


How to account for the books can vary! A register must be kept – a computer spread sheet or an exercise book with columns are only two options for this. Column headings should be:

Book No Member No Name Date Retd Amt Received CHQ/CSH Reissued Remarks
0001 3456 Ms Axe          
0006 12341 Mr Axe          

Several pages should be left at the end for re-issues.

It should be appreciated that the initial task of writing up this register will take some time but the finished product will give all the information that is needed at a glance. An entry can then be looked up by book number, name, or even membership number by referring to a list.


Banking of receipts should be via a triplicate paying in book, the top copy for the teller with the money, and second and third copies marked with the book number against the name of the drawer of the cheque, which might not be the member’s name. The second copy will then be available to the Treasurer to enable identification of the credit entry on the bank statement and the third copy will remain in the book for any audit. A daily list of all payments received in cash should be kept which should agree with the cash item on the paying in slip.


Prepare lists of outstanding books from the register and follow up by phone. Arrange for follow up of branch members to be done by a branch officer.


When the raffle has closed obtain a clean compost tumbler (or equivalent) for the draw.

Destaple all the counter foils. Put the tickets, suitably hand separated, in a plastic garbage bag ready for transfer to the compost tumbler at the Draw location.


Publish the Results in the local newspaper on the day that was advertised on the ticket and give the Editor of the Society’s journal the same information for publication. Cut out the newspaper advertisement as this must be sent with a Financial Return* to the Gaming Commission or equivalent when all the accounts have been paid. If this return is sent by Registered Mail an acknowledgement of its safe receipt can be obtained.


To complete the task:

  • Write and thank everyone for all their help and let them know the result – they may offer to help again.
  • Organise a photograph of the Winner/s.
  • Give the Treasurer a list of winners and branch members who sold complete books, by branches, for distribution of the branch proceeds.
  • Present a detailed profit statement’* to the Management Committee.
  • File all the paperwork received or originated for the raffle. This will be a reference for future raffle organisers and for audit if required.

One idea to encourage members to send their SOLD butts back earlier is an ‘early bird’ prize of say $300 to be drawn after the first three weeks from the complete counterfoils returned by Members/Sellers up to that time. This might get the monies in faster and reduce the chasing up at the end. Of course the envelopes still have to be opened, Cheques and Cash sorted separately in Book No order, banked and recorded.

The job of running a raffle is a lot of work but it can be fun and very rewarding for the society.