The Right Choice for a Nonprofit: Sharing Ideas for Success
The tickets we purchased were reasonably priced and very professional looking, which was great for our small not-for-profit group.
~ Britt C. Menchhofer, R.S., Northwest Ohio Environmental Health Association Planning Committee
The Ohio Environmental Health Association (OEHA) works as a state association, but has four district planning committees that provide education for environmental health professionals and advocates for the profession. Each OEHA district plans its own events throughout the year.
The Northwest planning committee organizes an “education conference each fall that is offered to local sanitarians (specialists in sanitary science and public health) and other environmental health professionals and industry workers.” Attendees are able to network with other members in environmental health fields, and they are provided with opportunities to earn educational credits.
“In the past our district has had a raffle where prizes were available and tickets were purchased by attendees and placed into the buckets for the prizes. Prizes were usually items donated by individuals and businesses for the event. In the past few years, it has been harder to get businesses to donate prizes for the raffle,” Brad told me.
For that reason, the Northwest Planning Committee needed to rethink its fundraising strategy. It looked to the Northeast Planning Committee for advice.
A Reverse Raffle
“We decided this year to try a reverse raffle to raise more money and also be able to reach more people because the tickets could be sold prior to the event and to people other than attendees. Our Northeast district has a reverse raffle and gave us the details on their raffle.”
The Northwest district learned from the Northeast’s district’s success and adopted its fundraising strategy.
In the most common version of a reverse raffle, tickets are sold as they would be in a regular raffle, but the goal is to not have your ticket drawn. Instead, tickets are drawn in a reverse order. The losers are the ones that are drawn early, and the winners are the remaining tickets. For this raffle, the grand prize was $500, and $25 for every twenty-five tickets sold.
The money from this reverse raffle went to the George Eagle scholarship fund. “The scholarship fund aims to provide one graduate and one undergraduate scholarship each year for individuals studying a field of Environmental Health.”
Everyone is Responsible
In order for the reverse raffle to work, all the planning committee members needed to be on board. Each was asked to sell at least ten tickets each. “The tickets were marketed through email and mailings related to our conference. Asking people face to face is one of the best marketing strategies.” The organization employed both digital and physical mediums in order to reach its intended audience and did not downplay the importance of word of mouth sales.
Unfortunately, some of the tickets were not sold, and the fundraiser fell a little short of its goal, but, “ were still able to give a significant amount back to the scholarship fund,” Brad explained. And for that reason, “the event was a success.”
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