10 Ideas to Raise Money with a 50/50 Raffle Fundraiser

If you're interested in trying this tried-and-true fundraising method, you've come to the right place! 50/50 raffles are easy and inexpensive ways for all kinds of organizations to raise money. Read on to learn more about this type of fundraiser, as well as 10 ways to raise even more money.

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10 Ideas to Raise Money with a 50/50 Raffle Fundraiser

50/50 raffles are a popular fundraising trend for nonprofits of all sizes. Organizations can raise money quickly with these raffles without much effort or money, which is why smaller nonprofits often host these events.

50/50 raffles are an affordable way to help nonprofits raise more funds during their annual events and connect with new donors. If you’re hoping to raise more money during your next event or online campaign, this article includes ten ideas on how to raise more money with a 50/50 raffle fundraiser.

What is a 50/50 Raffle?

50/50 raffles are similar to other raffles, except that half of the amount raised with ticket sales during these raffles goes to the nonprofit, and the other half goes to the raffle winner.

It is an easy way for nonprofits to raise funds during fundraising events and on their own. Nonprofits can sell tickets to event attendees and supporters. If you sold 500 tickets at $10 each (for a total of $5,000), your organization gets to keep $2,500 and the winner gets the remaining half. Here’s an example of a 50/50 raffle from Down the Stretch Racehorse Aftercare.

Screenshot showing an online ticketing form for a 50/50 raffle.

Sell 50/50 Raffle Tickets Online

The more tickets you sell, the better will your 50/50 raffle be as a fundraiser. However, it is important to know what the IRS or your state laws have to say about it before you set out to host one.

What does the IRS say?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines all raffles as a form of lottery. States have the right to determine what’s allowed or not, and raffle laws vary with each state. Be aware that some states do not allow online raffle ticket sales. If your organization chooses to hold a 50/50 raffle, you must check with your state’s Attorney General and local government to see what’s required.

Nonprofits must also file Form W-2G to report all gambling winnings and any federal income tax withheld. Organizations must transmit one copy of this form to the IRS with Form 1096 and send one to the raffle winner.

Individuals must pay taxes on their raffle winnings as ordinary income, and if the prize is over $5,000, the nonprofit must withhold 25% of the winnings or pay the withholding tax.

How Do 50/50 Raffles Help Nonprofits Raise Money?

50/50 raffles are an excellent and cost-effective way for nonprofits to raise money.

1. Excellent return on investment

50/50 raffles are one of the quickest and easiest ways for nonprofits to raise money. Since nonprofits do not have to find or pay for a prize, the only cost for these raffles is the price of the tickets. The return on investment for a 50/50 raffle is exceptional compared to many other fundraising options.

When you sell these tickets online using an online event page, your costs are further reduced. Donorbox Events lets you sign up for free and set up an event page online in just a few minutes. You can add as many ticket tiers as you want. If the 50/50 raffle is a part of another fundraising event, then add tickets for other elements as well such as table seats, meals, sponsorships, etc.

Here’s how Moonlit Acres Retreat Farm sells tickets to their fundraising event including a 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and more.

Screenshot showing an online ticketing form for a 50/50 raffle.

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2. Helps connect with a new audience

50/50 raffles are an easy way to excite a new audience. Everyone wants to win cash! If you’re holding a 50/50 raffle during an event, you’ll want to collect attendees’ contact information on the raffle ticket. This information can then be used to personalize your future appeals for donations.

If you choose to have the raffle online, the cash prize will entice enough new people to learn about your organization and give you their contact information. A lot of these people may sign up for your recurring giving program or membership program or buy tickets to your next fundraising event.

Nonprofits can use 50/50 raffles to start relationships with new individuals and turn them into long-term supporters.

3. Great for an online fundraiser

Nonprofits can easily host a 50/50 raffle online. If you’re looking for a quick online fundraiser that helps you raise money while also grabbing a lot of eyes for your organization, this can be it.

Since it is mostly about selling tickets and then splitting the amount in half, you do not have to take the in-person way with this fundraiser. The whole raffle event from selling tickets to the drawing can be done virtually. Just be sure that you’re including enough ways for people to make additional donations at the online event.

The below 50/50 raffle event is an all-online event that sold tickets using this online donation form by Donorbox and executed the drawing via Facebook Live.

Screenshot showing an online donation form for a 50/50 raffle.

10 Simple Ideas to Raise Money with a 50/50 Raffle Fundraiser

50/50 raffles are a popular fundraising trend, but there are a few things you can do to get the most out of these raffles.

1. Use a double raffle ticket roll

A double raffle ticket roll is where purchasers buy a raffle ticket and write their name, address, and phone number to leave it with the nonprofit to win. This means your nonprofit gets to collect their personal information so you can get in touch later.

However, the single raffle ticket roll may seem ideal to a lot of nonprofits since donors will stay longer at your event. With this option, there are matching numbers for the ticket holder and the nonprofit, and attendees must be present at the event for the drawing.

But you may also lose the opportunity to collect attendees’ contact information and any chance of connecting with them to build a relationship.

Determining which type of ticket best fits your fundraiser goals is essential.

2. Choose a multi-winner model

Most 50/50 raffles choose one winner to split the pot with the nonprofit, but if you hope to get more people interested in purchasing a ticket, you may want to split the pot even further.

A multi-winner model allows more people to win a prize, and people may be more inclined to participate since they have a greater chance of winning. If you raise $10,000, your organization will keep half the pot at $5,000, and the other five winners will get $1,000 each.

3. Sell raffle tickets online for more outreach and money

Nonprofits should sell raffle tickets online by creating an online event page that is easy to market via social media and email marketing. The link is easy to share and you can reach more people. You can ask your supporters to spread the word by sharing the link with their networks, too!

Each event created using Donorbox Events receives a free, automatically generated QR code  – which makes sharing even easier, as interested supporters can simply scan with their smartphone to access your link.

Most raffles will take place over a week or two. During this time, nonprofits can promote the 50/50 raffle fundraiser on social media and excite people with how much has already been raised. Your organization will have a greater chance of selling $10 tickets for a pot of $5,000 than a few hundred you can collect at an in-person event.

Check out the below example of an online event page that includes various ticket tiers comprising entry, food, and a 50/50 drawing ticket for different sets of audiences. Combining refreshments and other fundraising games with your 50/50 raffle helps you raise more money through ticket sales.

Screenshot showing an online ticketing form for a 50/50 raffle.

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4. Offer rewards to supporters promoting the raffle

Social media shares have the greatest impact on your fundraiser’s success. 50/50 raffles depend on greater participation. When people share a post with their friends and family, people pay attention. You should encourage your volunteers and board members to share about the upcoming raffle event. This is especially effective if it’s a friendly competition of sorts. Get your supporters excited about bringing in more participation from others. This will engage and involve them as well.

Offer a reward to each supporter who shares a link to your raffle event page. One way to do this is by giving these individuals a ticket to a second raffle with a prize that may appeal to a larger crowd.

5. Let volunteers raise additional funds for your raffle fundraiser

One of the best ways to promote any fundraiser is with a peer-to-peer campaign. You may not think of this type of campaign when holding a 50/50 raffle, but you can raise significant amounts.

Ask your supporters, including volunteers, donors, board members, family, and friends to set up their own fundraising pages and reach out to their networks.

Most people who receive an email or social media post during a peer-to-peer campaign are new to the organization. They’d trust your organization as the appeal comes from a trusted source and may even participate in the 50/50 raffle fundraiser.

You can also offer a separate prize to the volunteer who raises the most and use this as a way to get more volunteers.

Donorbox Peer-to-Peer lets you quickly set up a peer-to-peer fundraising page online and invite supporters from the tool. They receive email invitations and will be guided on the tool to set up their fundraising pages. All donations from all peer campaigns will go to your original campaign.

See how Cameron Connolly is helping a nonprofit raise funds by promoting their raffle tickets.

Screenshot showing an online peer-to-peer donation form for a 50/50 raffle.

6. Make it easy for people to donate at the raffle event

Be it an online, in-person, or hybrid event, you must give people ways to donate. This is a fundraising event and people should know that they will be expected to make a donation during the event.

While your regular donors will already know how to make donations and the ways to do it, the new raffle participants won’t. Let them know what different ways they can donate online. Share with them the link to your donation page. Use a donation form that lets them donate in more ways than one: credit card, direct debit, digital wallets, bank transfer, stock and crypto, and more.

Donorbox UltraSwift™ Pay makes giving a breeze for your donors. They can make a fast donation without having to input their personal information. They can choose from digital wallets like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc., as well as other modes of payment.

Screenshot showing the steps to give using Donorbox.

Nonprofits can also use text-to-give and give event attendees a unique code and a texting number. Explain in person how it works and post information on a flyer or screen for everyone to see. Your younger audiences would love the convenience of donating via text.

Donorbox Text-to-Give lets you quickly enable text-to-give on the platform and start using the feature right away. You can also get a shortcode number and custom keyword that are easier for your attendees to remember and type in.

7. Advertise your 50/50 raffle fundraiser online

Usually, 50/50 raffles are highly cost-effective and great for smaller nonprofits that have just started out. However, success completely depends on ticket sales. You cannot and should not just rely on your volunteers and regular donors to buy tickets. That way you won’t raise much money. You must reach out to a wider audience online and offline.

Ask your local media if they can help. Run paid ads on Facebook and Instagram. They do not cost a lot. Only a few dollars will help you reach a lot of people online.

It is advisable to make it a hybrid event. That way, you get to attract online as well as offline participants with your ads. Those who cannot or don’t want to be physically present at the raffle event will still buy a ticket to attend the event online.

8. Use a goal meter to showcase the increasing prize amount

The best way to excite more participation for your online 50/50 raffle fundraiser is with a donation or goal meter. This should depict how much money you’ve raised by selling tickets for your 50/50 raffle.

Most people are visual. If they see the amount continue to grow, they’ll be more interested in buying a ticket. A meter also helps grow a sense of urgency. When you share posts with a meter, include the final date people can purchase a ticket.

Nonprofits can share these goal meters on their social media accounts, websites, emails, online ads, online event pages, donation pages, and more.

9. Livestream your raffle drawing

If you are holding a hybrid event or online raffle, you can livestream the drawing to get more people to attend and learn about your organization. Use your live stream to visually promote your mission, programs, and impact.

You’ll also want to collect contact information for everyone who views the live stream, so make sure people sign in using their email.

Airmeet is an excellent online streaming platform for fundraising events. Donorbox integrates with this tool to help you embed the Donorbox donation form in your online event session. Your online event attendees can use this form to donate without having to navigate away from your event. This increases the engagement of your online events as well as boosts donations.

online 50 50 raffle

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10. Offer discounts

Add-ons are a simple way to raise more funds with little effort. Offering a discount for those who buy more tickets is an excellent way to sell more tickets. If the regular price for raffle tickets is $20, why not offer three for $50?

For example, the below event-ticketing form offers a discount for buying 25 raffle tickets over 10 tickets at $10.

50 50 raffle ideas

With Donorbox Events, you can also create promo codes to offer certain people discounts on tickets. Learn more about how to leverage promo codes for your next event in this blog!

Final Thoughts

Nonprofits use 50/50 raffles to raise more funds during in-person events or quickly fundraise online. Organizations that promote their raffle online with peer-to-peer campaigns and other social media promotions will see an increase in participation and money raised. However, some states do not allow online raffles, so you must be careful about checking the requirements and making an informed decision.

Be it selling tickets for your 50/50 raffles or setting up a peer-to-peer or fundraising page online, Donorbox is there to help every step of the way! Use our most popular and simple-to-use features such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, recurring donations, customizable fundraising pages, text-to-give, events, memberships, donor management, and more to supercharge your 50/50 raffle fundraising efforts.

Willing to take your fundraising and donor management to the next level? Check out Donorbox Premium – work with coaches and tech wizards with years of experience in the nonprofit industry to raise more donations for your nonprofit! Pricing is personalized for each organization. Learn more here.

We publish insightful blogs, guides, tips, ideas, free checklists, templates, and more every week to help nonprofits get through the challenges of fundraising and donor management. Read them on the Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a curated list of our best resources in your inbox every month.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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