How to run a charity car raffle
A complete step-by-step guide to running a successful charity car raffle experience with RallyUp
Download the full charity car raffle fundraiser-in-a-box that includes checklists and tasks.
Raise more money for your cause when you run a high impact charity car raffle!
Entrants will buy your raffle tickets so that they can get a chance to win a brand-new car. Your charity uses the ticket sales to cover any costs of the car and optional other prizes, while you achieve your fundraising goal.
Car raffles are exciting and they inspire a lot of hype which draws attention to your cause.
A raffle fundraiser is a great way to give something back to the people who donate to your charity – and what could be better than giving them a real shot at their dream car?
- Improves ticket sales
- Inspires more support
- Encourages community involvement
- Creates positive anticipation
- Promotes ethical giving
- Invites dealership sponsors
Our job is to make your car raffle an extraordinary experience.
The first step for your organization is to choose who on your team will plan and manage the fundraiser.
With RallyUp, you don’t need dozens of people working to collect funds or execute complex events. All you need is a small core team that can manage the platform and media creation.
Your primary goals will be to plan your charity raffle, find a car sponsor, create and manage your online page and promote it to your donor audience.
We recommend several people on your team to make this happen. A lead organizer and strategist, an events coordinator, a legal/tax consultant and a marketing person who can create or outsource quality media. You can scale this team according to your needs.
Next up is deciding the length of your car raffle, and critical launch dates.
Planning, setup and ticket sales will take time, so expect to spend several weeks on your raffle or more, depending on your goal.
Consider these key variables:
- The expected run time of your car raffle
- The date that your raffle will launch
- The date for your prize draw that will be used on promotional materials
- How many tickets do you plan to sell and is there enough time to do it
- Consider the events you will host (mall staging, online promotions, raffle events)
You should chat with your legal consultant about licensing and raffle rules in your state. Sometimes special considerations take time, and allowances must be made for that.
- A charity runs a 1-month car raffle and tickets are sold online. Winner drawing and notification happens automatically through the raffle platform.
- A charity runs a 3-month long car raffle and sells tickets every weekend at live local events. A public event is held to live-stream the drawing and announce winners.
4. Raffle Rules
It’s up to your team to decide on your car raffle rules and to find out whether running a charity raffle is legal in your state or local area.
Every locality has a different set of rules regarding running a car raffle that must be followed. Double check with your legal consultant to ensure you are in compliance with federal, state, and local laws.
When creating your car raffle rules consider:
- How many prizes a single person can win
- If the winner needs to be present at your live draw or not
- How you will announce your winner
- The age-restrictions involved
- The geographic restrictions involved
- The legal rules involved
5. Ticket Setup
Once you’ve understood your local car raffle rules (if any), you need to decide how your tickets will be sold.
On average, lower cost tickets sell better than expensive ones – but you’ll need to strike a balance based on your fundraising goal, your timelines and what is accessible to your audience.
When setting up your tickets, consider:
- How many chances to win each ticket will be worth
- How much each ticket will cost (is it affordable? Does is match your audience?)
- Whether you’ll sell both online and printed tickets
- Whether your donors will receive merchandise with their ticket purchase
RallyUp partners with TicketPrinting.com so that you can quickly and easily have your tickets printed and sent to you from a leading raffle ticket provider.
Most charity car raffles sell tickets between $25-$100.
Ideally, your estimated total ticket sales will amount to three times the value of your car and other prizes.
For example, if the car costs $50,000, then you’ll want to sell at least $150,000 worth of tickets. At $50 a ticket, you’ll have to sell 3,000 tickets.
By setting your car raffle fundraising goal at 3X the prize cost, you can easily absorb raffle and event costs during your fundraiser.
6. Cause Promotion
Before you can go about creating your media you need to decide on the promotional strategies you will be using to get the word out about your cause.
You’ll want to create an additional marketing budget to invest in events, flyers and other marketing materials. Factor this into your overall costs when determining ticket pricing and fundraising goals.
Here are some example promotional strategies:
- Promote your charity car raffle directly on your organization’s website
- Share your raffle link in emails to donors to inspire ticket sales
- Promote your cause on social media using your page and targeted ads
- Visit local schools, churches, and businesses and place raffle flyers on notice boards
- Host a car staging event at a car show to inspire instant sales and signups
- Use peer-to-peer or team fundraising to promote your raffle to the community
- Get the local media and radio stations involved
- Ask for business sponsors
- Use text-to-buy raffle promotions to get ticket purchases through text messages
- Focus on email marketing with existing donor lists
Whatever strategies you choose, make a note of the materials and funding you’ll need to execute them during your raffle.
Many of the RallyUp promotions are free to use with your account, like the text-to-buy option, the one-click link sharing and team fundraising.
7. Raffle Media Creation
One of your major costs (whether in time or money) will be creating the content you need for your RallyUp page and various promotions.
At this point you’ll need to collect details, images and content for your fundraiser, along with various marketing messages and graphics for different platforms.
Consider which to include!
Cause impact stories
Photos of the prizes
Descriptions of your cause
Flyers / Posters for text-to-buy
Radio or TV commercials
If you use team fundraising, participants and teams will be able to create pages of their own and customize them to generate more hype and personal context.
If for example, your raffle supports research to cure pediatric cancer, passionate supporters could join your fundraiser, create a fundraising page, and tell their story to inspire more ticket sales for your charity raffle.
You might want to consider hiring a graphic designer or a content creator for your raffle. They can help create a professional and consistent message throughout your fundraiser.
8. Goal Setting
At this point you’ll have a stronger understanding of timelines, marketing and running costs. It’s time to set your fundraising goal so that you can successfully meet and exceed it.
Calculate your charity car raffle cost. This includes:
- Car prize cost
- Secondary prize costs
- Car raffle running costs
- Ticket printing costs
- Marketing and promotions cost
- Content costs
- Additional costs
Next, subtract your corporate sponsorships. This includes:
- Car prize sponsors
- Secondary prize sponsor
- Ticket sponsors (logos on stubs)
- Additional sponsors
Now you can understand your total estimated costs. For a fairly accurate fundraising goal aim for 3 times the estimated raffle cost amount.
9. Car and Prize Selection
The car you choose to raffle to your audience should align with your goals. If you need to raise a lot of money, you’ll need a dream car and great prizes.
It can also be lucrative to focus your car on your specific audience. For example, a green charity might raffle a Tesla to raise money, instead of a gas guzzler.
Your prizes will set the tone for how successful your charity car raffle will be. If your organization can’t afford to outright purchase prizes, there are other options.
- Get a car dealership to sponsor your raffle and give you an amazing deal
- Get corporate sponsors to donate prizes
- Use our prize partner Winspire and only pay once the raffle is closed
Once you have chosen your grand prize (the car) you’ll need to add secondary prizes (if any) for your raffle ticket buyers. Secondary prizes inflate the value of your raffle and help you sell more tickets.
Secondary prizes that work well for a raffle include:
Less valuable cars
Sporting event tickets
Images of these can be added to your promotional media to encourage interest in your raffle.
10. Set Up Your Drawing
It’s a good idea to get last-minute ticket sales at a live event before your drawing.
There, you can take a video of your raffle drawing which will give your charity organization credibility for your next fundraising raffle. People love to see the winners of your raffle being announced!
- Your event location and costs
- Whether your prizes will be there and how you will award them
- Inviting local media
- Hiring a photographer or content creator to take photos and videos
- Rewarding the individuals/teams who sold the most tickets
We recommend filming or live streaming the event for your RallyUp page and social media pages. This has been very successful in the past for recurring car raffles.
When using RallyUp, all ticket sales are automatically tracked and managed online before you host your event. Many charities choose to do it at a local venue or at the dealership that sponsored the car. You’ll have a few options to choose from for your drawing:
- Print out your entrants names and do an exciting manual draw
- Have the RallyUp platform automatically pick your winners!
Be sure to capture every incredible moment as your winners are drawn – and of course, encourage the people at the event to donate to the cause you’re raising money for!
11. Secondary Prize Draws
Your secondary prize draws should be just as big a deal as your grand prize car winner.
If winners are not present at the draw, publish your video online and contact them via phone, email or text. Post the winners names on your social media and on your website.
- Record a video chat telling them they’ve won and post it online
- Use a messaging app to record video of them winning
It’s a great idea to post photos and videos of your draw because they’ll encourage people to buy raffle tickets for your next car raffle.
Make sure that your first email list of participants is saved, so that you can notify them when your next car raffle is taking place. Make it fun, and people will always enter!
Wrap up your raffle and help your cause!