Your “Golden Ticket” To A Successful Event

There are many ways to engage attendees at your event: silent auctions, live auctions, raffle tickets, oh my!

How do you know which one to choose?

One idea is the Golden Ticket raffle, a fairly common raffle held at fundraising events.

What Is It?

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.

What Are Some Examples of Golden Ticket Offerings?

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

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, 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”.

How Does It Work?

Some organizations hold a golden ticket raffle that is completely separate from all other auctions or raffles at the same event. In this case, the value of the item is generally a higher value than items offered in either a silent or live auction. Other organizations allow the golden ticket winner to choose any live auction item.

In a golden ticket raffle, the tickets are usually 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.

I’m Sold! How Do I Do It?

Before you start, check your state’s raffle licensing laws as well as your organization’s bylaws regarding raffles. Most states allow a certain amount to be raised without a license, but some states and organizations limit the number of annual raffles you can have.

The 2009 NIH Children's Inn Gala

The golden ticket raffle is a much more active event than the more passive silent auction or traditional raffle. You want to create exclusivity, as well as appeal to the gamblers in your audience to take a chance on the one ticket that will win it all. Golden tickets are usually only sold at the event (i.e. no pre-sales), and are usually only sold during an allotted time slot such as cocktail hour at the event.

If you’re selling a high-priced ticket, let’s say $100, many fundraisers want to make it worth the investment, so they allow the winner to choose any live auction item.

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 simply must have friendly, extroverted people to walk around and sell tickets. Have them wear special costumes or hats to stand out. You usually need one person for every 75 attendees and they must be able to answer all questions about the raffle. Many events have a small training session ahead of time, and instructions sheets handy on the night of the event.

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.

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.

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