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 Florida defines a nonprofit raffle as:
"… an enterprise in which, from the entries submitted by the public to the organization conducting the drawing, one or more entries are selected by chance to win a prize. The term “drawing [or raffle]” does not include those enterprises, commonly known as “game promotions,” as defined by s. 849.094, “matching,” “instant winner,” or “preselected sweepstakes,” which involve the distribution of winning numbers, previously designated as such, to the public."1
Who can host a raffle in Florida?
To host a raffle in the state of Florida you need to be a qualified nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3), (4), (7), (8), (10), or (19) status and have a current determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service.1
How does a nonprofit register for a raffle in Florida?
You do not have to register or obtain a license or permit to host a raffle in Florida. (Go Florida!) However, you do have to be a qualified nonprofit organization. (See previous section.)
Although you do not have to register or provide any follow-up forms, there are a couple rules that need to be followed:
- All brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets, or entry blanks used for your nonprofit’s raffle need to include a few key elements. (We’ll get into the details a bit further along.)
- A nonprofit organization cannot charge an entry fee (but can suggest a minimum donation).
- Obviously, your nonprofit cannot host a raffle with a predetermined winner or that is in any way rigged.
- To require that a minimum number of tickets be disbursed for the draw to take place.
- To condition the acquisition or giveaway of any prize upon the receipt of voluntary donations or contributions. To arbitrarily remove, disqualify, disallow, or reject any entry or to discriminate in any manner between entrants who contributed to your nonprofit organization and those who did not.
- To fail to notify, at the address on the entry ticket, anyone whose ticket has been randomly selected to win of the fact that they won.
- To fail to award all prizes offered.
- To print, publish, or circulate literature or advertising material used in connection with the drawing which is false, deceptive, or misleading.
- To cancel a drawing.
- The organization conducting the drawing may limit the number of tickets distributed to each drawing entrant.
Can you sell raffle tickets online in Florida using Zeffy’s ticketing forms?
We couldn’t find any laws or rules that say you can’t, so (as far as we can tell) yes you can!
Learn more about how your nonprofit can use Zeffy to host and sell tickets for your next raffle in our Help Center.
Florida does have a few raffle laws your nonprofit needs to follow.
What to include on any promotional material and raffle tickets:
There aren’t too many must-haves in terms of nonprofit lottery laws in Florida, however, Florida does require your nonprofit to include a few details on any brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets, or entry blanks related to your nonprofit’s raffle.
- The rules of your nonprofit’s raffle.
- The full name and address of the nonprofit organization.
- The source of the funds used to award cash prizes or to purchase prizes.
- The date, hour, and place where the winner will be chosen and the prizes will be awarded.
- That no purchase or contribution is necessary.
Although it’s not written, we do recommend that printed tickets have a detachable coupon or stub, and that both the ticket and its coupon or stub are marked with a unique and matching number.
You can purchase pre-made tickets or get inspired by our sample ticket:
Does it cost money for a nonprofit to register for a lottery in Florida?
This one is easy: no, no it does not.
After your nonprofit’s raffle…
Although there are no laws or rules that require your nonprofit to submit any information after your nonprofit’s raffle is complete, we do suggest keeping a record of everything for a few years.
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.