Controversial opinion: In many ways, sweepstakes are easier than raffles. 

Sweepstakes aren’t just the domain of big, nationwide brands that can conduct far-reaching promotional giveaways. They can also be used by nonprofits large, small, and in between. Especially those who are unable to host raffles due to legalities.

Why Sweepstakes Are a Great Option over Raffles

Whether virtual, in person, or hybrid, raffles are an effective way to raise money for your nonprofit (case in point—the $9,420,506 raffle organizers on Eventgroove have earned for their causes since November 2019). But, raffle laws vary from state to state—in many states (13, the last time we checked), online raffles are flat-out illegal. Furthermore, raffles of any kind are 100% against the law in Alabama, Hawaii, and Utah. Thus, lots of nonprofits can’t even host a raffle, or if they can, there are restrictions that make doing so a hassle. 

Wondering why raffles are high maintenance? Raffles are a game of chance in which participants pay for a chance to win, which is a form of gambling. Therein lies the rub.

An infographic that indicates the legality of online raffles for fundraising by state.

On the other hand, sweepstakes are legal in just about every state. They are not considered gambling because participants aren’t required to pay anything at all to enter a sweepstakes.  We know you’re asking yourself, “Why on Earth would a person pay anything when they don’t have to?!” 

Because when it’s for a good cause, people are more than willing to donate (check out this article all about the psychology behind charity). There’s proof of that in the numbers, too. The average sweepstakes revenue on Eventgroove is 59% higher than what we typically see with raffles.

“One misconception we hear regularly relates to Sweepstakes’ free Alternate Method of Entry. Organizers generally worry that people won’t buy entries if they can get them for free. Eventgroove doesn’t advertise or publicly list fundraisers, meaning organizers control the audience. The truth is that the majority of an organization’s audience believes in the cause and wants to support it. There is great potential in leveraging this confidence.” states Cynthia Culver, Eventgroove’s Head of Customer Success.

Benefits of Sweepstakes Fundraisers vs. Raffles

Sweepstakes fundraisers are scalable because of their legality. You are not limited by your state’s borders and they’re perfectly legal online, which means your fundraiser can reach from sea to shining sea. Sweepstakes also offer the possibility to expand your fundraiser internationally as they’re legal in many countries, as well.

Things to Keep in Mind When Running a Sweepstakes

 Though close cousins, sweepstakes and raffles do diverge on a few key points. 

 Entries: All tickets have a chance to win any prize.

Official Rules:  Your sweepstakes must have official rules that detail the terms of the campaign. The good news is that Eventgroove Fundraising provides built-in, legally compliant official rules for each sweepstakes. Plus, the rules cover a worldwide drawing where people can purchase an entry to win any prize listed on your fundraising page.

Alternate Method of Entry: For a sweepstakes to be legal, you must offer a free entry option. We find that most people are willing to donate to participate since the cause is charitable, and those who enter for free are still introduced to your charity and cause. 

Types of Drawings: You cannot run a 50/50 drawing or a drawing in which different entry donations are assigned to specific prizes (as in a basket raffle). In a sweepstakes, every entry has an equal chance of winning any of the prizes. 

Terminology: Be careful never to use the word “raffle” when referring to your charity sweepstakes.

Is a Charity Sweepstakes Right for Your Nonprofit?

 We’ve put a simple breakdown together to help you determine which option is right for your nonprofit. If you’d like more details, grab the full sweepstakes vs. raffles cheat sheet.

An infographic that breaks down the differences between raffles and sweepstakes for fundraising.

How to Run a Sweepstakes Fundraiser

 Sweepstakes must be run online, and you can’t include physical entries. In addition, a random number generator must be used when choosing a winner.  

This is where a fundraising platform enters the chat.  

Our all-in-one fundraising and events platform and ready-made campaign templates make setting up your sweepstakes fundraiser a snap.  All you must do is follow the prompts to create your nonprofit’s unique sweepstakes. Your sweepstakes campaign is automatically equipped with an auto-number generator to select the winner, as well as the necessary official rules. To see how easy it is to set one up and to get a feel for all the promotional, analytics, and management tools that are at your fingertips, have a look at our quick how-to video:

How to Run an Online Sweepstakes from Eventgroove

What Sort of Prizes Work Best?

Similar to raffles, your fundraiser’s goal and target audience factor into the prizes offered. Eventgroove sweepstakes organizers have given away everything from cars to gift baskets! Cynthia, our Head of Customer Success, offers this advice for any nonprofit hosting a sweepstakes, “Big ticket prizes may seem like a risk for an organization to invest in, however, if marketed well, the proceeds will compound.” 

At Eventgroove, we’re all about making things easier. In the ease-of-use department, a sweepstakes campaign definitely comes out on top. Additionally, sweepstakes have the power equal to and may exceed the money raised by raffles, hence our assertion that sweepstakes are indeed easier than raffles for many nonprofits. Ready to give a charity sweepstakes fundraiser a whirl? Create yours now

A promo graphic for creating a sweepstakes fundraising on Eventgroove.

About the Sponsor

Eventgroove – is an all-in-one fundraising platform for events, fundraisers, and e-commerce driven to help its customers amplify their brand and reach their goals.