In the United States, raffles, opportunity drawing and lotteries are governed by the individual states. Each state has its own set of definitions and laws that dictate what is considered a raffle, which organizations are permitted to host a raffle, and what is required to legally host a raffle within the state.
Some states make it a bit more complicated than others, but nonprofit organizations that host ticketing events like raffles often end up hosting more than one raffle per year and some of the biggest campaigns on Zeffy are raffles. AKA raffles raise a lot of money for the nonprofits that host them.
So, yes, the first raffle you host can be a bit time-consuming and confusing, but all the time and energy invested is ultimately worth it. Plus, raffles are a great way to mix up your fundraising campaign portfolio and, as an added bonus, they attract new donors to your nonprofit. And, of course, we’re here to help by walking you through the process of setting up a raffle on Zeffy and we’ve even got a few tips on how to create successful charity raffles and lotteries.
Okay, let’s get started.
The state of Connecticut defines a nonprofit raffle as:
…an arrangement for raising money by the sale of tickets, certain among which, as determined by chance after the sale, entitle the holders to prizes.1
Phew… We know—it sounds complicated. But, basically, a raffle in Connecticut is a way for charitable and nonprofit organizations to raise money by selling tickets for a random draw that awards prizes. AKA: a raffle.
Who can host a raffle in Connecticut?
It is illegal to conduct raffles without a permit in Connecticut. To be approved for a permit and host a raffle in Connecticut you need to be one of the following:
- An officially recognized organization or association of veterans of a war the United States was engaged in.
- A church or religious organization.
- A civic, service or social club.
- A fraternal or fraternal benefit society.
- An educational or charitable organization.
- An officially recognized volunteer fire company.
- A political party or town committee.
To qualify for a raffle permit in Connecticut, nonprofit organizations must have been organized in “good faith” and actively functioning as a nonprofit organization for at least one year prior to applying.
Those are the only organizations allowed to host a raffle in Connecticut. So, that means, individuals and commercial businesses cannot host raffles, even if the money is given to charity.
Do you need a raffle permit to host a raffle in Connecticut?
Yes. Connecticut requires nonprofit organizations to have a permit for every raffle they host.
How does a nonprofit apply for a raffle permit in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, raffle permits are controlled by the municipalities. So, if your nonprofit is planning to host a raffle, you need to apply through your municipality. But, there’s a catch! In Connecticut, raffles are only legal if your municipality has adopted sections 7-170 to 7-186 of the Municipal Powers legislation. So, check with your municipality to see if they allow nonprofits to host raffles.
What is required for nonprofits to apply for a raffle permit in Connecticut?
Municipalities are allowed to create their own application forms, but the state of Connecticut’s Division of Special Revenue does offer a Raffle Application Form to guide municipalities or for municipalities to use as is.
Regardless of whether or not your municipality chooses to use the form provided by the state of Connecticut, all forms must include:
- A description of your nonprofit’s raffle.
- Any other info. that the municipality reasonably requires for the protection of the public.
- A list of three active members of the nonprofit organization who will be responsible for the raffle.
- A signed statement by all three members that confirms they are residents of Connecticut and will be responsible for the holding, operation and conduct of the raffle, and that the statements contained in the application are, to the best of their knowledge, true.
- A verified statement from all three members.
Connecticut has seven (7) kinds of raffle permits.
To host a raffle in the state of Connecticut, you will need to apply for a raffle permit through your municipality. Connecticut offers seven kinds, or classes, of raffle permits:
Class no. 1 permits:
Class No. 1 permits allow your nonprofit to host one (1) raffle within three months of being granted your permit.
This permit lets your nonprofit award prizes with a total value of no more than fifteen thousand dollars.
Class No. 2 permits:
Class no. 2 permits allow your nonprofit to host one (1) raffle within two months of being granted your permit.
This permit lets your nonprofit award prizes with a total value of no more than two thousand dollars.
Class No. 3 permits:
Class No. 3 permits do not apply for raffles.
Class No 4. permits:
Class No. 4 permits allow your nonprofit to host one (1) raffle within one month of being granted your permit.
This permit lets your nonprofit award prizes with a total value of no more than one hundred dollars.
Class No. 5 permits:
Class No. 5 permits allow your nonprofit to host a raffle within nine months of being granted your permit.
This permit lets your nonprofit award prizes with a total value of no more than fifty thousand dollars.
Class No. 6 permits:
Class No. 6 permits allow your nonprofit to host a raffle within one year of being granted your permit.
This permit lets your nonprofit award prizes with a total value of no more than one hundred thousand dollars.
Class No. 7 permits:
Class No. 7 permits allow your nonprofit to host a raffle within fifteen months of being granted your permit.
A Class No. 7 permit allows you to host up to twelve prize drawings on separate dates with a total value of no more than fifty thousand dollars.
Does it cost money for a nonprofit to register for a raffle in Connecticut?
Yes! Fees vary depending on the type of permit you’re applying for and the rules and regulations of your municipality. However, Connecticut has set maximum amounts for each permit type.
Class no. 1 permits are no more than $75 each.
Class No. 2 permits are no more than $30 each.
Class No 4. permits are no more than $15 each.
Class No. 5 permits are no more than $120 each.
Class No. 6 permits are no more than $150 each.
Class No. 7 permits are no more than $300 each.
Can you sell raffle tickets online in Connecticut using Zeffy’s ticketing forms?
Yes! On May 26, 2017 the state of Connecticut began to allow nonprofit organizations to sell tickets online and to accept payments by cash, cheque, credit or debit card. That means that you can use Zeffy’s event management and ticketing platform to organize your raffle and sell tickets.
For now, you still can not use any software, online or offline, to select your raffle winners. Tickets must be printed and chosen at random.
But, Zeffy can help your nonprofit in other ways:
- Track your raffle sales by adding offline ticket purchases to your campaign.
- Keep track of who purchased what and their info (such as email addresses and phone numbers) so you can contact the winner(s).
- Keep track of how many tickets you have sold, any additional donations, etc.
- Automatically create a contact list to send thank-you emails, re-engage with donors and even let donors know when next year’s raffle comes along.
The state of Connecticut also allows you to use the internet to:
- Advertise your raffle. (Newsletters, banners, etc.)
- Display the rules of the raffle.
- Store raffle contact information for your nonprofit, including the eligible organization’s name, address, telephone number, facsimile number, or e-mail address.
- Allow participants to download raffle entry forms for manual completion by raffle ticket purchasers. (But, the forms cannot the submitted online.)
- Answer frequently asked questions.
- List descriptions, photographs, or videos of the raffle prizes.
- List the prize winners.
Good to know:
The state of Connecticut requires nonprofits to keep all records for one (1) year. We go over what you need to record and keep a little further down.
Connecticut has a few raffle rules and regulations your nonprofit needs to follow.
What kind of raffle prizes can nonprofits award in Connecticut?
Connecticut is one of the few states that regulates what kind of prizes nonprofits can award to raffle winners.
Here’s the list of accepted prizes:
- Tangible personal property.
- A nonrefundable or transferable ticket, coupon or gift certificate for merchandise, tangible personal property, services, or touring services including transportation by land, water or air.
Connecticut does not allow prizes to be redeemed or redeemable for cash and, in general, Connecticut does not allow nonprofits to award cash prizes or prizes consisting of alcohol. But, as always, there are a couple exceptions:
- If your nonprofit has a Class No. 1, Class No. 2, or Class No. 4 permit you can award cash prizes.
- If your nonprofit has a Class No. 6 permit you can host a golf ball-drop raffle and can award cash prizes.
If your nonprofit organization plans on awarding cash prizes, you need to open and maintain a dedicated checking account and deposit all proceeds from the raffle into it. Any expenses related to your raffle, along with any cash prizes, need to be paid from your checking account with the proceeds earned from sale of raffle tickets.
What to include on your nonprofit’s raffle tickets:
The state of Connecticut requires raffle tickets to clearly display:
- The time, date and place of the raffle(s).
- The three most valuable prizes and the total number of prizes.
However, to make the whole process (including the drawing of tickets) easier for you, we recommend including:
- A unique, consecutive number for each ticket.
- The cost of an individual ticket and package of tickets.
- The name of your nonprofit organization.
- A detachable coupon or stub, and that both the ticket and its coupon or stub are marked with their unique number.
You can purchase pre-made tickets or get inspired by our sample ticket:
After your nonprofit’s raffle…
Your work’s not done after your raffle is over. For every raffle your nonprofit hosts, you need to complete and send in a report showing:
- The amount of the gross receipts earned from your raffle.
- The number and price of tickets sold.
- A list of expenses made or to be made and the name and address of each business or person that has been or is to be paid.
- The net profit derived from the raffle and how it has been or will be used.
- A list of the prizes with a retail value of $50 or more with the amount paid for each prize or the retail value for each prize donated, and the names and addresses of the persons (winners) who received the prizes.
The report needs to be submitted within one month of your raffle draw and will be kept on file and available for public inspection for a period of one year.
Your nonprofit organization needs to keep any books and records that might be necessary to back up the details in your report for at least one year.
Here’s a recap of all the links and documents mentioned in this article:
If you need them: charitable lottery licence laws for other US states.