End of the Night Raffle by April Brown Auctioneer
The End of the Night Raffle is often promoted that “You must be present to win”. The key to this raffle’s success is waiting with anticipation to see who wins the prize(s). Choose a Grand Prize with broad appeal to drive ticket sales. Consider offering more than one prize. More prizes increase sales and create more winners. More winners take more time to draw and announce. Ideally we want to keep the audience in their seats while the clerking staff enters the final bids and catches up after the Paddle Raise. For this reason, I recommend that the tickets are sold only at the venue on the night of the auction.
The prize and the procedure used to sell raffle tickets will impact raffle ticket sales. The prize needs to have broad appeal, tickets need to be easy to locate and buy and as tickets are sold, buyers need to be identified by a wearable novelty.
Let’s begin with the prize(s). The desirability of the raffle prize drives ticket sales and the possibility of winning pins buyers to their seats until the winning ticket is drawn and the winner revealed. Offering multiple opportunities to win a prize will increase both ticket sales and staying power and can even help move unplanned inventory. As an example the Grand Prize could be a stay at a nearby resort along with 10 more prizes that consist of props from the auction, unopened wines, extra desserts from the dessert dash and last minute donations. The inclusion of many possible winners creates palpable excitement as well.
The items need not equal the value of expected ticket sales. As an example, if the latest and greatest 60 inch television - valued at $4200 may create more profits if placed as a raffle prize. Review the historical data from previous auctions and if the highest amount ever bid during the live auction was $1000, then using the television as the Grand prize for the raffle would certainly drive ticket sales and keep the audience in their seat until the end of the night and likely raise more money than positioning the TV as a live item.
The price of the raffle ticket does not have to reflect the value of the prize either. The price of the End of the Night raffle ticket should be at a level that most people at your auction are willing to spend so that nearly every single person easily buys one or more raffle tickets. This raffle should feel inclusive and fun. Remember the end of the night raffle premise is keeping the guest involved with the live auction timeline until the last item is sold, resulting in the possibility of more bidding activity after the Paddle Raise. Tickets can be sold 1 at a time, 2 or more for a price or by the yard - the length of the buyer’s arm - by height, etc. It takes more time to manage multiple ticket purchases and for that reason I prefer to limit the number of tickets sold to no more than 2 per fee. As an example, 2 tickets for $5 or more.
All raffle sales are enhanced by an attractive informative display that acts as a Raffle Station or base of operations when the traveling ticket sellers are moving about the venue. Create a display that showcases the prize or prizes and if there is a sponsoring donor put the name of the business on all raffle signage. The mere fact that there is a sponsoring donor will drive ticket sales, plus it is our duty to give them good placement and visibility. Read the chapter on signage and displays for guidance.
The ticket sellers will make or break the raffle. This is a perfect job for theatrical, outgoing and organized volunteers. The ticket sellers become a traveling billboard for the raffle. The objective is for them to be easily identified from across a crowded room. Wearing a head piece of some kind and costumes are visual identifiers. Large feather plumes and an oversize hat with raffle tickets pinned on works well. The auctioneer or master of ceremonies will be announcing the raffle during the silent auction and the audience will be seeking them out, so you can see how important it is for the sellers to stand out.
Basic Raffle Ticket Selling Technique
- Pair volunteers together in teams of two. One ticket seller records sales the other tracks dispenses tickets.
- First ticket seller will carry a clip board for recording bid numbers and number of tickets sales. Place a list of the prizes on the back of the clip board so the seller can easily show the buyer the items they could win.
- The 2nd ticket seller will carry the tickets and write the buyer’s bid number on both ticket parts and then tear apart the tickets and place one half in a basket and give the other to the purchaser for safe keeping.
- Give the buyer a wearable token easily recognized by the sellers. It is critical to continued raffle sales to identify buyers so that the sellers do not continue to approach those guests. As the evening progresses, the sellers cannot remember who they sold too and guests begin to feel badgered by repeated requests to buy tickets. At some point the sellers stop selling tickets because they feel awkward and embarrassed by the increase in “No thank yous”. This little trick is worth the effort and modest expense.
- As the tally sheets fill up, they are turned in to the clerks so they can be entered into the computer. Make plans for one pair of raffle sellers per 75 people.
- If the event procedures are running smooth and the clerk staff is caught up, consider selling tickets during dinner until it’s time for the live auction.
Raffle Novelties are easily found online. Flashing buttons of all types with magnetic backs at hundreds of on-line stores or something as inexpensive as a gold star placed on your guests name tags works well and homemade or purchased medallions, bracelets and pins are fun too. Consider incorporating the theme into the novelty and the sponsor’s logo as well.
The End of the Night Raffle Process and Procedure
- Purchase cheap or create fancy two-part raffle tickets.
- Acquire ticket container and mark End of the Night Raffle on outside of container. Include the sponsors name when applicable.
- Create a sign End of the Night Raffle and announcing prize(s).
- Place a sheet listing the prizes on the back of a full size clip board.
- Place a tally sheet on the front of the clip board with a pen.
- Assign one clipboard to each sales team.
- Create raffle ticket seller costume and headpiece for visual identification.
- Prepare raffle tickets.
- Acquire a container with a handle. Avoid real basket material as reed and cane will snag fine clothing.
- Establish a Raffle Station and drape a table large enough to accommodate the signage.
- Position the raffle table in the traffic pattern of the silent auction.
- Position 2 volunteers at the End of the Night Raffle Station and volunteer teams in the Silent Auction arena.
- Sell tickets and give one part to the buyer and place the other in the basket.
- At the appointed time combine all the tickets into the Raffle Station basket.
- Give remaining tickets to clerking station.
- Take the End of The Night Raffle basket at the appointed time to the stage and give to the auctioneer or master of ceremonies.
- Invite sponsor to stage.
- Draw ticket(s) and announce winner(s).
- Call winner to stage and let sponsor award prize(s).