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Fundraising Idea
Rotary Club Fundraiser in Use 25 Years

By Ronald Riquier

This idea has been in use for twenty-five years, by my Vermont Rotary Club, and has been a tremendous success. The concepts used in this fundraiser are general to any successful and profitable fundraiser.

This fundraiser is a fundraising idea where the outcome, of sports results, is used to decide winners. Since each ticket has two teams, for a given week, that are randomly assigned, the fundraiser is best described as a sports-based raffle. However, this "raffle" has the added thrill of the buyer being able to root for a team's outcome, if a certain outcome will enhance the chance of winning. It is enjoyable for ticket buyers because it is sports-based, they win money, and they buy one ticket and can win every week over the sports season.

A raffle is generally a contest in which participants purchase a ticket or "“"chance"“" at winning a prize. A raffle is an easy fundraiser to initiate, and requires fewer volunteer hours to plan and conduct than any other type of fundraiser. This raffle works so well because of the high profit margin. Total annual cost of running this raffle is less than 2% of total income. The annual cost is around $50 for commercial printing of the front of the tickets, and the proceeds are limited only by the number of tickets sold. My Rotary Club bases the fundraiser on NFL football (496 tickets for a complete "set" at $20 each). With a payout of 50% of total income, we make $5000.

A fringe benefit of raffles is that there are no large up front costs, no inventory or product to stockpile, no orders to take, and no product to deliver except winners' checks. Also, success is not dependent upon advertising. The advertising is done one-on-one as people sell tickets. This is a great idea for any size group from just ten people to hundreds. For a NFL football fundraiser, a group of fifty people is ideal, since each person would have to sell only ten tickets each.

A raffle may not be suitable for everyone. In the United States raffle laws vary considerably by state. Determine the legality of your potential fund raiser and that no local or state ordinances, that deal with raffles, are being violated. Do a little Internet research to find out if there are any restrictions in your area. Check with other organizations in your area. Some institutions may even have their own rules concerning fund raisers. Check with your college, university, school, etc.

The preliminary version of the Rotary Club software was written in 1999 to simplify the existing cumbersome method. The software does the setup for the front of the tickets, prints the back of the tickets, and performs all calculations. The updated software is now being made available to everyone for only $39. The purchase price is negligible compared to the many years of profit your organization will make from this fundraiser.

For full details, visit:

Ron Riquier is a retired aerospace engineer living in Killington, VT.

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Fundraising Idea
Booster Club Fundraiser Sports-Based Raffle

By Ronald Riquier

This is a continuation of a raffle method outlined in a previous Ezine article. For general raffle information and general information about a sports-based raffle, read this article first: Fundraising Idea - Rotary Club Fundraiser in Use 25 Years.

Every raffle has a prize structure. The prize structure may consist of large and small prizes donated by businesses or individuals. Another great source of prizes is donated "services." For example, an airplane owner/pilot could donate a one hour sightseeing flight, a caterer could donate a fancy dinner for four with club members serving the dinner, or a plumber could donate two hours of labor. Just use your imagination for other great prize ideas! Do not overlook the small prizes, as they can be very useful prizes. Many ticket buyers overlook the prize won, and only remember "having won." That is beneficial to future sales.

Of course, cash is king, since we can all use more cash. A typical cash raffle is the 50/50 raffle, for which we all, at one time or another, have bought a ticket. Also, there could be two or more prizes. This type of raffle is fine if the ticket winners are to be announced at a one time event, such as an awards dinner. Nevertheless, what if your club wants to pay weekly prizes and have grand prize winners at the end? Sure, winners could be picked out of a hat, but where is the fun for the losers? The answer is to base the raffle on weekly sports results. This type of "raffle" has the thrill of the buyer being able to root for a team's outcome, if a certain outcome will enhance his chance of winning, so even the losers will have participated. There are many pro football fans, so NFL football will be used as an example, although any sport or level of sport could be used. Do not despair at the seeming complexity of the method. At the end of this article, I will introduce software that does all of the work.

General ticket information

First, the tickets must be designed and printed. Typical information entered on the ticket front are the sponsoring clubs' name, sport, season and league, rules, a list of prizes paid, cost of each ticket, odds of winning any prize, and an optional information line. On the end of every ticket, a stub for entering the buyer's name, address, and phone number, and the seller's name should be provided. The stub is perforated for easy removal by the ticket seller.

Two teams, for every week ending date during the football season, are given on the back of the ticket, along with the tickets' serial number. Each ticket back is unique. For any given week, no two teams are repeated. The tickets' "total score," for a given week, is the combined score of each of the two teams. For example, if the two teams for the first week are Green Bay and Miami, and Green Bay scored 21 points and Miami scored 7 points, the "total score" for that ticket is 28 points.

Extra ticket fronts are printed to allow for problems during printing of the back, and replacement of lost and accidentally destroyed tickets. Print 10% more tickets than are needed. Thus, if 496 tickets are needed, order 550 tickets. Extra tickets add little cost.

Prize Structure

Now, your club must decide the amount of prize money to pay out. Your club must determine what to pay in prize money versus the profit that will be made. Most clubs like to make 50% to 60% profit. Some clubs hire a professional organization to run a raffle and make 75% (17% payout and 8% management fees.) If your club wants to pay out 17%, then an 82% (83% less 1% cost) profit will be made.

How much money to pay out from each prize category must be determined. Eight possible prize categories are:

1. The tickets with the two teams, for a given regular season week ending date, that has the combined a) highest score, b) second highest score, or c) lowest score wins the prize amount specified.

2. Random weekly winner(s) calculated using a random generator. The number from the random generator is used as the ticket number. Repeat winners are not allowed. An analogy for the random number generator method used is as follows: The winners are picked from an envelope (envelope with tags for each ticket number sold). The same ticket number is not allowed to win the random prize more than once (do not return tags to the envelope).

Though the prize amount for random weekly winners must be small, this is an example of a small prize where ticket buyers overlook the amount won, and only remember "having won."

3. The tickets with the two teams, for the entire regular season, that has a) the highest total combined points or b) the lowest total combined points wins. Teams that do not play (have a bye) are not used in the calculation. The remaining teams use their score, for the given week shown on the back of the ticket.

4. The tickets with the two teams, for a given playoff week ending date, that has the combined a) highest score or b) lowest score wins the prize amount specified.

Examine the methods of treating ties, which are:

1. Ties pay full amount. ALL ties for "highest total points scored" and "lowest total points scored" receive the full amount specified for that prize. If a tie for high score occurs, then no prize(s) is awarded for "Second Highest Total Points Scored," if that prize is used.

2. Ties Split Combined Prize Money. Prize money is added and split by the winners.

For example, if three pairs of teams are tied for "highest total points scored," the prize money for highest score and 2nd highest score (if used) is added and split equally by the three winners. If three pairs of teams are tied for "lowest total points scored," the prize money for lowest score is split equally by the three winners.

Determine the payment method for unsold tickets, which are:

1. Not paid. If the winning ticket is not sold, unsold ticket winners are not paid.

2. Use next closest sold ticket. If the winning ticket is not sold, the prize money will go to the runner-up(s). Usually, unsold ticket winners are not paid, but the sponsoring organization may choose to pay the runner-up.

Sale of Tickets

Tickets should be distributed in the largest multiples possible (i.e., 5, 10, 20, etc.), and an accurate accounting of distributed tickets must be maintained. Keep records of which tickets are given to each seller. A sellout of tickets makes bookkeeping and payouts simpler.

Keep records of which tickets are paid for, including if they were cash sales or sales paid by check. It greatly simplifies bookkeeping if payment collection is for groups of tickets rather than for one or two. Payment for tickets must be accompanied by the stub portion. The stub must be filled with the buyers' name and address, and the seller's name or initials. Store all returned stubs in numerical order for easy reference when correlating the winning ticket number to the winning person.

When the fundraiser is over, have a celebration party. Thank all your volunteers, ticket sellers and buyers. Acknowledge your highest fund raisers and give out awards.

Printing the tickets, determining the prize structure, and calculating the grand prize winners can be formidable if done manually. On the other hand, that is what a computer is for. Follow the information link shown below. Football Chance software does all the setup and/or printing of the ticket fronts, prints the ticket backs, and performs all necessary calculations.

For full details, visit:

Ron Riquier is a retired aerospace engineer living in Killington, VT.

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