Your “Golden Ticket” To A Successful Event

Golden Ticket - Fundraising Auction Revenue Enhancer

There are many ways to engage attendees at your event: silent auctions, live auctions, raffle tickets, oh my! Have you tried the Golden Ticket?

A golden ticket raffle allows a guest to win a high-value item for the price of a single ticket, and the organization has an opportunity to raise significantly more money on a single item than it would bring in a live auction format.

A golden ticket raffle is usually held during a large gala or signature event, and allows a guest to win a high value item for the price of a single ticket. It is usually held in conjunction with other fundraisers such as silent auction, other traditional raffles, and live auctions to create yet another revenue stream.

How Does it Work?

Tip: Auction Booster is an easy way to add attractive travel packages to your event with no risk to your organization.

In a golden ticket raffle, the tickets are usually sold at a higher price, such as $50, $100, or more. Calculate the value of your prize, how much money you need to break even, and how much you’d like to ideally make on the golden ticket raffle. Once you have your figures done, sell a limited number of tickets to keep the event fairly exclusive to attract ticket buyers. For example, if you sell 200 tickets at $50 each, you’d raise $10,000. Some events allow purchase of only one ticket, while others let buyers purchase several. It’s up to you.

Various organizations offer tremendous golden ticket offerings, such as vacations to exotic locations, a theater trip to New York City, fighter pilot for a day experience, season passes to theme parks, or season tickets to theater performances or sporting events.

The 2009 NIH Children's Inn Gala

It doesn’t necessarily need to be a high dollar value, though. In the case of a school fundraiser, the golden ticket can be for a prestigious item like “principal for the day” or “lunch with your favorite teacher”.

In most cases, this package will bring in more than any other live auction package, so the prize will typically be the most coveted. There are two primary options when determining the prize — either the winner will be able to select any item from the live auction lineup, or a special package will be put together just for this raffle.

You want an eye-catching table with lots of balloons and bling, and display that is strategically placed at your event. If you’re selling tickets only during cocktail hour, make sure the golden ticket table is placed right next to the bar, not in another room!

You will sell a limited number of tickets to keep the event fairly exclusive to attract ticket buyers. Golden tickets are usually only sold at the event (i.e. no presales), and are usually only sold during an allotted time slot, such as cocktail hour at the event.

Round up your most friendly, extroverted volunteers to walk around and sell tickets. Have them wear special costumes or hats to stand out. You may want teams of two to sell tickets so one can handle the sale and one can handle the ticket. You usually need one team for every 75 attendees and they must be able to answer all questions about the raffle.

Keep the logistics to a minimum, to avoid pestering your guests. You can use two-part tear off tickets where the buyer keeps half and you keep half for tracking, or use electronic purchases or a bid sheet to write their ticket number and name — whatever works best for you to track sales with minimal interruption of your guests.

Make a big production out of the golden ticket drawing. Have a flamboyant raffle bowl and an even more flamboyant announcer! If you have remaining unsold tickets, create a frenzied “last chance” atmosphere to have the announcer try to sell them right before the drawing. If in conjunction with a live auction, announce the golden ticket first. If standalone, pick an announcement time in the middle of the event, rather than waiting until the end.
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Variations And Other Names

When the prize is one of the live auction packages, it can also be referred to as “Best of Live” or you can customize the name to fit your organization and/or theme. For instance, a Humane Society group Graham works with calls it the “Pick of the Litter” Raffle.

Graham’s Advice

  • Either the number of tickets available or the price can be adjusted to best fit your demographic.
  • Some events allow purchase of only one ticket, while others let buyers purchase several. It’s up to you.
  • Various organizations offer tremendous golden ticket offerings, such as vacations to exotic locations, a theater trip to New York City, fighter pilot for a day experience, season passes to theme parks, or season tickets to theater performances or sporting events.
  • It doesn’t necessarily need to be a high-dollar value. In the case of a school fundraiser, the golden ticket can be for a prestigious item like “principal for the day” or “lunch with your favorite teacher.”

Some Personal Insight from Graham

I like to recommend my clients provide a flashy, blinky ring to all Golden Ticket buyers. This helps create an exclusive buyers’ atmosphere, where others will want to be included if for no other reason than to have the cool blinky ring! It also helps those selling tickets know who has purchased already, so they don’t continue to pester your guests.

Tying your “Golden Ticket” to your theme is another way to make it fun. One group I worked with had an Olympic theme for its event, so the Golden Raffle Tickets were actually Olympic-style medals placed around the neck of each buyer, with a specific number on the medal. One attendee said he wanted to be like “Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps” for one night, so he bought eight tickets to have multiple medals around his neck.

You’re all set! Now you have the Golden Ticket to success!

*Note: Raffles are regulated on a state-by-state basis. Please check with your state government.

This article is part of our 26 Proven Revenue Enhancers for Your Fundraiser eBook available as a free download. If you looking for new revenue enhancing ideas and how to incorporate them into your event—this easy-to-use lookbook is for you.


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