Today I thought I would talk about the activities and opportunities that are presented at events to entertain guests, draw them in and hopefully – keep them coming back for more! This applies more to fundraisers, sponsored events, galas, appreciation events or celebrations – things of that nature. Since it doesn’t accomplish much to just get everyone together and eat a meal – there are certain aspects added to events to keep guests on their toes and build anticipation for a specific climax near the end of the event. For example, the raffle of an epic prize – like a cruise to the Caribbean or airfare to Europe – could be something that will keep your guests until the announcement of the raffle winners. If you choose to announce raffle prizes at the end of your event – you’ve already insured that a certain number of people will remain at your event until its finish.
Raffles, door prizes, auctions (silent and live) and speakers are all great aspects to be added to any event to keep it interesting. I am currently working with the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island and other volunteers to put together the 2nd Annual Women’s Fund of Rhode Island High Tea at the Viking Hotel in Newport, RI. We are trying to figure out ways to keep our sponsors involved and make them feel appreciated at the same time – with more than just a mention at the event. An idea that I came up with was a Loyalty Raffle; For each sponsor that has supported your cause or event in the past – offer them a certain number of “Loyalty Raffle Tickets,” that will be offered to all sponsors who continually support the event or cause. This specific raffle will have only one winner of a nice prize and will also allow for an extra mention of all your loyal sponsors – and give them a reason to want to continue their support.
Another tough hurdle to overcome is the TYPE of raffle prizes you should make available. Although most people like free stuff no matter what it is, it’s always nice to include some truly classy and practical gifts that a wide variety of individuals could enjoy or appreciate. Here are a few raffle prize ideas that I have seen used – they include both inexpensive and higher priced items:
- Movie tickets, theater tickets, concert tickets (pair with popcorn, binoculars, ear plugs, etc)
- “A Weekend In ABC Town” : find all the greatest restaurants and retail shops – get gift cards and donations, look for a nice hotel & get discounts and gift donations; put everything together in a basket and provide someone with the ultimate weekend getaway opportunity!
- Wine & Cheese Basket: Different wines, cheese board & knife, corkscrew
- A Taste of the Local Goods: Have local shops donate a few thing from each of their stores and put it all together for a basket that reflects your town!
- Cookbooks, Cooking utensils, nonperishable foods (for a cooking basket)
- Airfare to a destination with Hotel for certain number of nights
- Hire a cook who will prepare a full course dinner for a group of 10 at their home
- Artwork, museum admission, special exhibit passes
There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating raffle baskets. The above suggestions are literally only a small portion of you could do with this type of gift. Try assessing the general theme of your event and then select raffle prizes that will tie in with your theme the best; for example, for the High Tea – last year there were a number of tea sets as raffle baskets (both portable and stationary), cookbooks and wine baskets, etc. At the Crossroads Rhode Island Greaseball – the grand raffle prize was a CAR (which tied in with the automotive/1950′s theme). Like I said, there are a million and one ways that you could go with this project. What kind of raffle prizes have YOU come across? Let us know in our comment section!