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Fundraising Tips

50/50 Raffle: The Ultimate Guide for Fundraisers (2023)

November 10, 2023

Nonprofits are always looking for ways to raise money and reach a new audience. A 50/50 raffle is a sure way to do both with limited funds.

All you need is raffle tickets and a group of volunteers, and you’re sure to get people excited regardless of their background with your nonprofit.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into 50/50 raffles, how you can plan one, and how it can benefit your organization.  

What is a 50/50 raffle? 

A 50/50 raffle is a simple fundraising tool to add to any event. All you need is an enthusiastic crowd, a group of volunteers, and raffle tickets. 50/50 raffle ticket prices can range from $1 to $20 to encourage attendees to purchase more than one.

The prize is half of the money collected, so everyone should be interested in purchasing a ticket. The more tickets you sell, the higher the pot!  

Volunteers walk around your event and sell 50/50 raffle tickets while other activities are taking place. At the end of the event, you can pull the ticket winner and announce the winner to the crowd. Generally, only attendees who are still there can collect their winnings.  

Benefits of 50/50 raffles 

50/50 raffles are an easy way to fundraise. The cash prize and low raffle ticket prices are encouraging enough to sell many tickets. 50/50 raffles are simple and well-known to most fundraising audiences, so you shouldn’t have to explain it in too much detail before selling tickets. The one rule attendees must know is that they must be there for the raffle drawing, or they can’t win.

What this means is a 50/50 raffle will encourage people to stay for your entire event. You can sell 50/50 raffle tickets throughout your event and interest attendees to donate or spend money in other ways too. 

Who should host a 50/50 fundraising raffle? 

Since it doesn’t cost much, any size nonprofit, church, school, or sports team can find success with a 50/50 raffle. Because it’s so simple and appealing, nonprofits can use a 50/50 raffle to raise funds for a specific program or general funds.   

While you can technically hold a 50/50 raffle at any event, you’ll want to make sure you can sell enough tickets to make the winning amount enticing enough for your audience.  

How to price 50/50 raffle tickets 

The goal of a 50/50 raffle is to sell as many tickets as possible. Some of this will depend on the number of volunteers you have or your audience’s preferences. But the primary way to encourage more participation is to increase the amount you can win.  

To find the best 50/50 raffle ticket price, you must analyze your audience and the cost of other fundraising activities. How high of a pot you’ll need depends on your event attendees.

If you’re hosting a kids’ event, you can sell tickets for $1 to $5 and the winner will probably be thrilled if they can win $50. If you want to add a 50/50 raffle to your annual fundraising gala, a $10 or $20 ticket price will help increase the pot and have a better chance of exciting your audience. 

When deciding whether a 50/50 raffle is worth it at all, you can multiply your ticket price by the number of tickets you think you can sell and divide that number in half. 

How to sell 50/50 online raffle tickets 

Traditionally, nonprofits collected cash in exchange for raffle tickets. Today, fewer people have cash on hand. Zeffy makes it easier to sell 50/50 raffle tickets before and during your event with customized and automatically generated raffle tickets. 

Zeffy's website screenshot for raffle tickets

Zeffy accepts all credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, ACH, and checks. You can sell raffle tickets online and scan them at the door with a QR code or sell them in person with our Tap to Pay solution using your iPhone.  

Increase raffle ticket sales at your event by offering ticket bundles or discount codes. Use your raffle tickets to promote your organization’s branding by adding a logo, colors, and a custom banner to all raffle forms and receipts.  

Nonprofits can use other Zeffy features to increase event attendance and raise more revenue. Visit our website to learn more about the following: 

How to create an online 50/50 raffle 

Before the pandemic, most nonprofits only added 50/50 raffles to in-person events. Today, online events and fundraisers are common due to the cost and how easy it is to put together. Zeffy helps you hold any raffle online as long as you follow all local government rules and regulations.  

Nonprofits can add one to a virtual event or host a 50/50 raffle on its own. Add a raffle ticket page to your website and promote it via email and social media. You can also let people purchase tickets at your organization’s location.  

How to host a 50/50 raffle 

Before you do anything else, make sure you’re aware of your local and state government’s rules and regulations for raffle ticket sales. Be sure to file any documentation and receive the necessary licenses before you promote or sell raffle tickets. 

Once you’ve verified that your raffle complies with local regulations, you can sell tickets online and at the event. Be sure to ask supporters to buy a raffle ticket when they purchase tickets, sign in, and throughout the event. Don’t be overbearing but make it clear and simple to buy a ticket whenever they want.  

You’ll also want to make regular announcements to remind people to purchase tickets, the amount the winner will collect at that point, and remind them they must be present to collect their winnings. You should also add signs around the facility to let people know the time of the drawing. 

If you’re holding a virtual or hybrid event, ensure online attendees know when the drawing is and find a way to ensure they’re staying online throughout the whole event to participate. One way to do this is to add a streaming service for the event. 

When it’s time for the drawing, make sure you have your attendees’ full attention. You can include the drawing with other auctions and donation appeals or hold it separately at the end. It’s crucial to be transparent about how the winner is chosen. You may want to avoid selling raffle tickets to staff and volunteers to avoid any thoughts of unfairness. You can also use online services like RandomPicker to help you draw your winners.  

How to promote your 50/50 raffle 

50/50 raffles can be an excellent way to promote your fundraising event. Selling 50/50 raffle tickets before your event will increase event ticket sales if your attendees must be present to collect their winnings. To encourage more participation and excite supporters about your raffle beforehand, you must be transparent about the rules and share details on why and how the raffle is run. 

Choose the right fundraising platform 

You can still use paper tickets for your 50/50 raffle, but online tickets are easier for those who don’t carry cash. You can also use online raffle tickets if your event is online or hybrid. Zeffy lets you collect the ticket holder’s name, phone, and address so you can add this information to your donor database and form a long-term relationship. 

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Share raffle details 

In addition to being transparent about the raffle drawing, you must also share details on social media and via emails about  how funds will be used. Be sure to share information on specific programs or projects the raffle will fund and add images and stories to show how these programs affect real people. 

Your supporters will also be excited to see how much they can win, so be sure to give weekly updates online about how much was raised and how much the winner will receive. Zeffy makes it easy to track your raffle ticket sales, so you can share the amount attendees can win via email and social media. 

Offer discounts 

Another way to entice attendees to purchase 50/50 raffle tickets is by offering a discount. If they buy an event ticket online, give them one 50/50 raffle ticket for free or at a decreased cost. You can also sell 50/50 raffle tickets in bunches for a lower price than buying them one by one. 

7 Ideas and Tips to raise more money with a 50/50 raffle 

50/50 raffles can help you raise more money at your in-person, hybrid, or virtual event. In addition to the ways we’ve already discussed, nonprofits can use the following ways to increase ticket sales or collect more funds. 

  1. Offer Discounts

One way to encourage people to buy more raffle tickets is to offer a discount when they purchase more than one. One ticket is $20, but attendees can buy three for $50.   

  1. Choose multiple winners 

A 50/50 raffle means the nonprofit gets half of the winnings and the winner gets the other half, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit the number of winners. If your event is large enough, and you expect to collect a significant amount from ticket sales, you can award more than one winner with a prize.  

Say you collect $5,000. Your organization will collect $2,500 and you can either divide the rest of the pot into $500 amounts for 5 winners or award them with decreasing amounts of $1,000, two at $500, and four at $250. With a better chance of winning any amount, supporters may be more interested in buying one or more raffle tickets.  

  1. Ask volunteers to sell raffle tickets before the event  

Your volunteers are a vital part of your 50/50 raffle since they’re responsible for selling tickets throughout your event. But what if you asked them to sell raffle tickets before the event too? With a little extra work, your volunteers can double the amount of raffle ticket sales and offer the chance to win to their friends and family. 

  1. Encourage peer-to-peer raffle ticket sales 

Volunteers aren’t the only ones who can sell raffle tickets. Peer-to-peer fundraising has become popular across generational and economic groups. Online platforms, like Zeffy, make it easy to collect funds and sell raffle tickets. 

You can create a peer-to-peer raffle campaign add it to your website and share it on social media or with emails to your current donor base. You can also reach out to donors and volunteers with a solid online following to promote your organization’s raffle.  

  1. Offer rewards to those who sell raffle tickets 

If you choose to sell tickets with a peer-to-peer campaign, be sure to offer rewards for those who sell the most. You can give everyone with their own campaign page a free raffle ticket, and either reward more based on how much you sell or collect and give another prize. Be sure to promote these prizes when contacting people about starting their own peer-to-peer campaign page. 

  1. Sell space on your raffle tickets to sponsors 

There are ways to raise event funds other than selling more raffle tickets. When planning your event or raffle fundraiser, form an event committee to contact and find event sponsors. Create different sponsorship levels with marketing perks to entice companies to join your event.  

Zeffy offers space for sponsor logos on your raffle tickets. You can add this to one of your other sponsorship levels or offer it by itself. Since event attendees will see the company logo every time they look at their ticket, don’t underestimate the marketing you’re offering and charge too little for this sponsorship opportunity. 

  1. Promote raffle tickets in your newsletter 

If your nonprofit has a monthly or quarterly newsletter, don’t forget to offer the chance to buy 50/50 raffle tickets. Supporters who receive your newsletter are long-term supporters with more of an interest in your organization and its mission. When selling raffle tickets, be sure to share how the funds collected will be used with a beneficiary story that brings the program to life. 

  1. Use ads to reach a larger audience 

Who doesn’t want to win cash, right? A 50/50 raffle offers people the chance to take home half of the amount raised. With a prize like that, you shouldn’t limit your marketing to people who already know you. If you expect to raise a significant amount, it may be worth purchasing a few ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google. 

Real Case Study: Why a Bunco Event was the right fit for a 50/50 raffle 

Royal Bunco Bash 50 50 raffle event page

Nonprofits can hold shared events with other local organizations to reach a larger audience and raise more money. Adult and Child Therapy Services, CASA, and NISRA joined to hold an annual Bunco event to promote their shared causes. The fact that they also had a similar donor base made a combined event the perfect opportunity.  

Bunco is a simple dice game for groups of four players. Each organization sold event tickets to groups of four or individuals and regularly welcomed close to 100 event attendees. Since event attendees knew limited amounts about two of the three organizations, a fundraiser that didn’t rely on beneficiary stories and strong relationships was required. 

As event attendees entered the hotel entrance, they checked in with their organization and had time to purchase raffle tickets while they socialized. Once the Bunco game began, volunteers walked around the facility. The players who’d already lost the game were waiting around with nothing to do, so it was the perfect opportunity to sell them raffle tickets. 

The 50/50 raffle drawing was announced after the game winners. Each year they’ve held this event, the winner has left with around $500. The Bunco event and 50/50 raffle have helped all three organizations collect tens of thousands of dollars each year. 

Legal considerations for 50/50 raffles 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sees raffles as a form of lottery. As such, nonprofits must report the raffle to the IRS if the prize amount exceeds $600 or 300 times the amount of the ticket price. If the prize equals more than $5,000, the organization must withhold 25% of the winnings and report it on Form W-2G.  

Raffle ticket sales are not tax-deductible for donors because the prize is worth more than the amount of the ticket. Nonprofits must make this clear to their supporters before purchase to avoid any confusion. 

Many states and counties have their own rules and regulations regarding raffle ticket sales. If your state doesn’t require a license to hold a raffle, you may still need one to hold a raffle in your county. Be sure to contact your state and local governmental offices to find this information. 

Check out our article on how to create a sucessful raffle with our guide on Nonprofit raffle rules and regulations.

Online raffles may be outlawed in your state for fear that you’ll sell to those outside your state.    

Other alternatives to 50/50 raffles 

Are you looking for an alternative to your regular 50/50 raffle? Other raffle types may fit your nonprofit better.  

60/40 Raffle 

If you’re looking to raise more money for your organization, you can change the split from 50/50 to 60/40. If your event is primarily for strong supporters of your nonprofit, this change may be easily accepted. Another way to explain the difference would be with detailed explanations of the type of program or project you're funding.  

Raffle Prizes 

Do you have an event sponsor, company, or donor that’s willing to give something to your organization? Depending on the quality of the prize, you may be able to raise more with this type of raffle. For instance, do you know anyone with a guest home or airline tickets? An exciting vacation will entice supporters to pay $100 or more for a single raffle ticket.    

Reverse Raffle 

Reverse Raffles can be a fun way to raise even more funds for your nonprofit. Reverse raffles are like 50/50 raffles, but instead of the first number being the winner, the number that isn’t called wins a Reverse Raffle.  

This type of event is exciting because of its difference. You can even change it up at the end to allow the last two to four ticket holders the choice to keep calling numbers until one remains or to split the pot between them. 

Reverse raffle tickets can be exciting events in themselves, and organizations can sell tickets for up to $100 to make the pot even larger. 

Ready to host your 50/50 raffle? 

Now that you know how to run and promote a 50/50 raffle, you’re ready to host your own! Remember to check with your state and local government to ensure you’re following all requirements. You must also understand your event attendee’s interests and ability to pay before determining your raffle ticket price. Check out our article on how to run a raffle online for more tips to help you before you begin. Start selling your 50/50 raffle tickets for free with Zeffy today! 

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A few other interesting articles:

How to run a charity raffle online