Step-by-step: Raffle

All you need to know from licence knowhow to online options and a step-by-step guide


  1. Six months before: Pick a date. Depending on the type of raffle, the PTA may need to register with the local authority and pay an annual fee. See our raffle FAQs for more information. Assign roles. Who will approach businesses to request prizes? Who will handle ticket distribution? Who will address the legal requirements?
  2. Three months before: Start requesting prizes. Does anyone in your school community run a business that could donate a prize? Do you have longstanding fundraising partners? Make sure you’re clear about licensing.
  3. Six weeks before: Source your tickets. Under the Gambling Act 2005, anyone who purchases a physical ticket for a small society lottery must receive specific information. Participants in an online lottery must be able to retain the message or print it out. For an incidental lottery, cloakroom tickets are usually sufficient. Contact the local authority to register your raffle, if needed.
  4. Three weeks before: Launch the raffle. If you’re selling tickets in advance, begin promoting via the school channels, social media and class rep groups. Highlight any major prizes. Send paper tickets home with the children, clearly addressed to parents or guardians. If the raffle is online only, use eye-catching promotional materials to let everyone know sales have opened.
  5. Final weeks: Keep pushing sales. A final reminder a few days before the draw can yield great results.
  6. On the day: Hold the draw and distribute the prizes directly or contact the winners to arrange collection.
  7. Afterwards: Announce your profits to the school community. Seek feedback and discuss it at the next PTA meeting.
  8. No later than three months after the draw: Send a signed returns form showing financial information to the Licensing Authority.

Download our easy to follow PDF, does your raffle need a licence?

Tips & advice

  • Licence: Don’t try to bypass the licensing laws. Registering with your local authority is relatively easy and a fine won’t help your PTA’s cause.
  • Prizes: Keep pursuing options even late in the process and promote any significant additions.
  • Promotion: Use school channels as well as PTA social media and class rep WhatsApp groups.
  • Tickets: If you send tickets home via children – clearly addressed to parents or guardians, so as not to fall foul of licensing regulations – make sure parents know more are available.
  • Payments: Accept cash and cards if you’re selling tickets at the school or an event.
  • Alternatives: Taking your raffle online can increase sales, make things easier and potentially more profitable. Another option is to run a text raffle where supporters buy tickets by texting a keyword chosen by the PTA. Lauren Crawford, at Grand Avenue Primary School says: ‘We use DONATE for our text raffles. It’s easy to set up and easy for people to enter, as all they have to do is text a word from their mobile to a five-digit number.’

‘Our online communications lead to raffle success’

The pandemic forced us to rethink how we ran our raffles at Wren Academy in Finchley, London. We chose Charity Hive because it was a complete fundraising platform. For example, we can also sell tickets for events, accept donations and run auctions.

Wren Finchley is an all-through school with almost 1,500 students, 420 of them primary. The primary parents are the most engaged with the PTA, but moving the raffle online has increased sales from the families of secondary pupils. Paper raffles mean a lot of folding tickets and there’s always a risk of losing stubs. There can also be a huge amount of cash involved. Holding our raffles online means the money goes straight to our bank account and we can track sales in real time.

We aim to offer two tech prizes, such as an iPad or smartwatch, plus a Nintendo Switch or similar. A £150 restaurant voucher goes down well too. If we are struggling to get enough top prizes worth over £100, the PTA often buys them.

I strongly believe the reason for our success is the way we market the ticket sales. I push the big prizes on our Facebook page and class rep WhatsApp groups. It’s all carefully timed with a communications plan. With Charity Hive, I can track the sales numbers relating to each push – when the school sends out a text a few days before the draw, it has a massive impact on ticket sales.

Our most successful raffle was one Christmas when we sold 3,700 tickets and made £3,300. In the summer, we sold 2,500 tickets – 700 at the summer fair itself through posters with a QR code – and made £2,200 after fees.

  • Sophie Sundberg, design, marketing and event lead, Friends of Wren Academy, Finchley (1,500 pupils)


 See also

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.