Raffle tips and advice

PTAs tell us where they source raffle prizes, how much they charge, where to have raffle tickets printed and offer tips for holding the draw

Sourcing raffle prizes

Kathryn Morley: ‘We usually buy the main prize (eg, Kindle, TV) for about £80-£100. Last year, our new head teacher put together a list for a hamper, and the staff brought in one thing each.’

Poppy Mander: ‘We always buy a prize that fits with the theme of the fair. This year, we had a beach theme, so rented a beach hut for the week for our main prize. A local estate agent covered the cost in exchange for advertising at the fair.’

Shirley Higgins: ‘We send an email using ParentMail to request raffle donations and state the kind of items we’re looking for. A number of parents run their own businesses, so we’ve got an iPad and a Kindle this year! In return our sponsors are named in the fair programme.’

Allie Evans: ‘We write to local attractions, such as soft play centres, children's farms, adventure parks, cinemas, National Trust venues and castles. We also pop into pubs and other food outlets to ask for prizes.’

Sarah Christie: ‘We write letters to local companies and get some amazing responses. Our main prizes this year are: £500 cash, Sonos system, widescreen TV, a mini iPad and a 4-person Segway experience.’

Rebecca Bradley: ‘I send letters and contact parents for help with raffle prizes. Thank you letters after the event are also very important. We always thank our supporters on our Facebook page and on large posters at the fairs, too.’

Hellen Dunne: ‘We contacted lots of local businesses via email and over the phone, and ended up with some pretty good donations. They ranged from the usual boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine, etc, to restaurant vouchers and photoshoots.’

Zoe Symonds: ‘We have secured some really good prizes, such as a restaurant meal, a round at a local golf club, hair cuts and beauty treatments. Local companies have been very generous, and we followed up a thank you in the form of a certificate so they can display it in their window. A win-win for both of us!’

Dawn Deacon: ‘A great prize we had donated by a local farm was £50 worth of lamb!’

How much to charge for raffle tickets

Suzanna Pearce: ‘We charge £1 per book. We have quite a few donation days leading up to the fair and we don’t want to put too much pressure on the parents. However, as they are so cheap, lots of parents ask for more books!’

Syreeta Oakes: ‘I would say it depends on how good your prizes are! We usually charge £1 a ticket.’

Gabby Johnston: ‘Ours are £1 per book of five, or 20p a ticket. Never had any complaints, even I buy them.’

Sally Edwards: ‘We tentatively sent out a book for £10 instead of £5 (£1 per ticket). Sales doubled and there were no complaints. Felt naughty but nice. Possible theory: people who buy, buy; people who don’t, don’t. No one was hurt during this operation!’

Anne Kelly: ‘We are doubling the price to £1 each, but also doubling the 1st prize to £200.

Drawing the winning raffle tickets

There are no set rules about the order in which PTAs should draw raffle tickets. However, societies must be transparent with players about any lottery (including raffles) they participate in; for example, if you have listed specific prizes in a particular order, you must draw them as stated even if other, higher-value prizes arrive in the meantime.

You must provide players with legal requirements such as the draw date, information on how the raffle works, how to claim a prize, rules, and terms and conditions. To avoid confusion, PTAs may find it helpful to specify how they will draw the prizes as part of this information.

Cecilia Medyna-Smith: ‘We have two separate pots to draw from – one for prizes and one for winners. The order is completely random and it doesn’t matter which prize was sourced first or last, or what the value is.’ 

Heather Mooney: ‘We arrange our prizes in a list and draw the cheapest at the beginning, working towards the most expensive at the end. Only the PTA knows the order and we announce the prizes as we do the draw.’ 

Amanda Sutton: ‘We let people pick what they want. In our raffle, we had 11 hampers of toys, food and various items along with loads of vouchers for things like days out, haircuts and beauty salons. If you specify what people win, things can get wasted because people don’t want to go to a particular attraction or they don’t use beauty salons.’ 

Lucy-Claire Duckworth: ‘We list our prizes in prize order and work from the smallest prizes up to the biggest. That way, everyone stays until the end. One or two people have grumbled, but everyone else was happy and we find the excitement grows to fever pitch by the end! We’ve done it this way for at least three years.’

Lisa McCluskey: ‘We have a list of all the prizes and let first drawn out choose, if the person isn’t there at the time we choose a prize for them.’

Emma Holmes: ‘We let people choose their prize if they are there. If not, we either pick something we know they would like (we're a very small school) or if we don’t know them, we give them the next highest in value.’

Tina Tanswell: ‘We number each prize and stick all the numbers in a hat. When the winner comes up, they then pick a number out of the hat and that then corresponds to a prize.’

Syreeta Oakes: ‘We always draw bottom to top. It means that people stay until the end of the raffle.’

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.