A calendar raffle is a contest where people buy a chance to win prizes (cash, physical item, or service) awarded each day for an entire month. The winners are selected by random drawing. They can be highly profitable fundraisers for schools, athletic groups, church groups, and other nonprofit organizations and I explain exactly how to run one here…
Two Types of Calendar Raffles
There are two types of calendar raffles.
The first is a Cash Calendar raffle where one cash prize is given away for each day of the month. People like to win cash because they can spend (or save) it any way they wish. Organizing a Cash Calendar raffle is very easy (I explain exactly how below) because you don’t have to spend any time purchasing prizes or going around to businesses asking for donations.
The Cash Calendar templates I sell here on Entri Ways are intended to be sold for $10 each and up to $1,000 in cash prizes are given away. The prize money comes from the calendar sales, so you need to sell at least 100 calendars to make your prize money. This is easier than you think if you have a network of at least 10 people to help you sell them. If each person sells 20 calendars, you profit $1,000. If each sells 30 calendars, you profit $2,000. Etc. At just $10 per calendar, most buyers opt to buy more than one calendar raffle ticket.
The second type is a Calendar raffle where physical items (these can include gift certificates for services) or a combination of items and cash are given away as the prizes each day of the month. Organizing this type of raffle is more time-consuming than a Cash Calendar raffle because you have to spend time purchasing prizes or asking sponsors for donations. On the flip-side, the benefit can be that you spend less money on the prizes and have to sell fewer calendars to begin making a profit.
Only you can decide which type of raffle is best for your group. As the organizer, if you want to save your time, then run the Cash Calendar raffle. If you have lots of extra time on your hands and can spend that time driving around collecting physical items, then a Calendar raffle offering physical prizes is an option. You will find the calendar templates for both types of raffles in Entri Ways’ online shop HERE.
Which ever type you choose, these calendar raffles are so appealing to participants because they don’t just have one chance to win, they have up to thirty-one! Even if they win on a single day, their name is put back into the drawing for more chances to win.
Now let’s talk about exactly how to run this type of event. For simplicity purposes, we’ll stick to the CASH Calendar Raffle…
Planning a Cash Calendar Raffle Fundraiser
If you have a network of salespeople, a raffle is one of the easiest types of fundraisers to organize – but ONLY IF you have a network of salespeople or a large event at which you can sell tickets. This network could be school parents or parents of sports teams or clubs. (Disclaimer: We have to say “parents” because legalities may require your salespeople to be adults.)
Step 1: Make or Purchase the Calendar Templates
When I ran this for our school, I took the time to create a calendar template. I’ve made this step super easy for you and created the templates for you. When you purchase my templates, you get 12 months of calendars so you can choose the month in which you plan to run your event.
Buy the template, download the PDF file, and fill in your school’s information. You can either hand-write this in or, if you’re a Mac user like me, open the file in Preview on your Mac, and fill in the info then print.
First things, first. Purchase the calendar template that’s best for your event. Either the Cash Calendar or the blank Calendar templates:
Step 2: Determine How Much Money You Want to Raise?
A Cash Calendar Raffle can be very profitable. Sell tickets through a specific group of volunteers AND at large events. Since we were raising money for our school’s basketball team, we would sell our calendars at every basketball game for the entire month prior.
Here’s a baseline to ensure you meet your goals: If you have 20 people that can help you sell, ask each one to sell a minimum of 20 tickets. That’s $200 in sales per person x 20 people = $4,000. If you plan to offer $1,000 in prize money, your profit is $3,000. If your volunteers are only able to sell a small amount of calendars, try to sell more at events to increase your profits!
Step 3: Print & Number the Calendars
The calendars are designed in two parts. The buyer keeps the top half that shows the daily prizes and the calendar number they purchased. The bottom half has the buyer’s contact information and raffle number and should be returned to the event organizer/treasurer (along with the sale money) to be included in the random drawing.
Both sections of a single card should have the same ticket number, but each separate card should have it’s own unique number. Numbering each calendar with a unique number is very important to track the calendars sold and to ensure no illegal copies were made and submitted.
Some states require that you print directly on the ticket that the buyers don’t have to be present at the drawing to win.
You have two options to print the calendars: Option #1: Print the number of calendars you want to sell then hand-number your calendars #0001, #0002, #0003, etc. Number each calendar with a colored pen (we suggest green). Or, Option #2: After you enter your organization’s information on the template, save that 1 month as a separate jpeg file and give it to a professional printer who has the ability to uniquely number each calendar page as they’re printing.
Printing the calendars on a bright colored paper also minimizes the chances of photocopying.
Step 4: Distribute Calendars to Your Volunteers
In a notebook or online spreadsheet, record the calendar numbers and to whom you distributed them to sell:
Staple calendars together in packets of 10 and distribute them to volunteers to sell. If you have 10 salespeople (volunteers), ask each one to sell a minimum of 20 calendars to family, friends, and co-workers.
As you receive the calendars back, make note on this spreadsheet and ensure no duplicate numbers are returned. If volunteers cannot sell their tickets, they should return the unsold tickets. All ticket numbers should be accounted for so that you can ensure no photocopies were made.
Step 6: Advertise & Sell
- People will only buy your calendars IF YOU ASK! So you have to ask them.
- Announce the calendar raffle fundraiser on social media (but do not post a copy of the actual raffle card online). Ask volunteer salespeople to share the news on their social media pages.
- Set up a sale table at a school event (sports, theater, etc.)
- Parents can take cards to work to sell.
- Students (with parent supervision) can ask local grocery stores if they can set up a sale table just outside the store for a day).
- One of our most successful places to sell was the local club (aka bar).
- Remember… the success of your sale depends on your advertising so go overboard!
Step 5: Select Winners & Award Prizes
Assign a Treasurer who will oversee and double-check the distribution of raffle tickets, the collection of cash/checks, and the distribution of prize money. The treasurer should deposit funds into your charitable organization’s checking account. Then at the end of the month, for a cash calendar raffle, write out checks to the winners so there’s a formal written record of the transactions.
To choose winners, place the raffle tickets into a large basket. Randomly select one winner for each day of the month. You could pull one winner per day, but it’s easier to pull all winners on the last day of the month, record the winners, write out the checks, and place them in envelopes. As you pull a winner from the basket, record the name and the day/prize they won, then place their name back in the basket so they have another chance to win. Remember the best part about a Calendar Raffle is that people have up to 31 chances/days to win!
Contact the winners by email or phone and ask them the best way to get the prize to them.
Step 7: Say Thank You
Remind your volunteers to say Thank You to every buyer. As the Chairperson, be sure to thank every one of your volunteers.
A Few More Notes
Note that legal guidelines for running a raffle vary by state, county, and city, so check with your own governing state agency. Laws regarding the sale of the tickets also vary by state, therefore since a cash calendar raffle is considered a lottery by many states, only adults (who shall not receive financial renumeration) shall sell tickets.