100+ Raffle prize ideas & how to get companies to donate (2022)

by Mar 14, 2022 | First published in 2018Advice

On the hunt for good raffle prizes? This is a comprehensive guide which will take you through everything you need to know. It includes a list of over 100 raffle prize ideas an a list of companies willing to donate (updated for 2022). How to get companies to donate raffle prizes. You’ll find a template donation letter pelow.

This guide explains everything step-by-step so even if this is your first attempt at organsing a raffle fundraiser, you’ll know exatly what you need to do!

Before diving in, you might want to check out my other relevant fundraising blogs:

How to ask for raffle prize donations

I first started going on adventures in 2016 (you can see what adventures I’ve done on my adventures page). From the begining, I decided I wanted to use my adventure challenges as a way to fundrasie for charity. I’ve always been passionate about charity work and raising money for a good cause…..this was a great way to combine 2 of my passions.

I tried fundraising this in lots of different ways, including organising fundraising events and asking people to sponsor me.  Organising an event takes a lot of time and energy. And my network of friends and family were getting fed up of my social media posts asking them to sponsor me. Looking for a new way to fundrasie, I switched organising raffles instead and found they were hugely succesful!

You can get big and local businesses to donate prizes and then use these as an incentive to ask people to give you money. Because there’s something in it for them (they might win something!) it means you are much more likely to get strangers donating so you can stretch beyong your netwrok.

I’m known amongst friends as a pro in getting free things. It’s something I developed when I worked in the charity sector and had to source thousands of items donated for large-scale events. When I transferred those skills to looking for raffle prizes I found that I had a bit of a knack for it! Now I’m going to share everything I know with you.

Wondering how to find companies happy to donate raffle prizes? Let’s start with my top tips….

#1 Have a clear goal or focus

Write down how many prizes you are aiming for and if you are looking for anything in particular. I usually aim to try to get a couple of big prizes for raffles and then a handful of smaller prizes from local businesses to mix things up. The big prizes are your main draw but having lots of options increases someone’s chances of winning which is an attractive incentive.

Start a spreadsheet early on. Put your goal at the top and then use the rest of the space to keep track of companies you are planning to contact and if you received any responses.

#2 Create a Raffle prize template letter

When approaching companies willing to donate good raffle prizes, it’s good to bear in mind that they may get a lot of requests (especailly if you are trying for a popular raffle prize like a food gift basket or wine). So you’ve got to stand out ffom all the other requests they are getting. They are more likely to support you if they like you and your cause.

Make the letter as personal as you can. If you have a story or connection to the charity then tell it. I try to keep my letter short as people are too busy to read huge amounts of text.

Also, make it clear in your subject line why you are approaching them but in an interesting way. Here’s how I might structure a letter:

Subject: Can you help build a classroom?

Dear {first name is you have it}

On {date} I am organising {put the details of the event you are putting together}. I’m doing this to raise money for {charity}.

I chose this charity because {insert your connection or motive for fundraising….remember to keep it personal and pull on the heartstrings if you can}

{Charity name} works to support {animals/children/environment}. Each year they {put examples of what they achieve or specifics in terms of reach}. I’m hoping to raise {target amount} which will pay for {what is your money going towards},

I’m writing to ask if {company name} might be willing to donate a prize that we can raffle/auction at the event? We think this would be a great prize because {find a reason that it would be a great fit, such as it is a local supplier and most people attending the event are from the area}. Your generous donation will be supporting a good cause and you will be thanked on the night {and in any other way that might be of relevance – in a program, on the event website}.

Please find attached a letter of support from {charity name}.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Bex
{include phone number}

#3 Get a letter of support from the charity

Contact your chosen charity and ask them to send you something on letterhead that says they support what you are doing. It is good practice to include this as a PDF in any email you send out (make sure it includes the charity number).

It looks professional and will reassure any doubts they may have about you being genuine.

#4 Direct your request at a specific person

When approaching a company for a raffle prize it is generally best to direct your message to a specific person. Ideally, this would be the owner of the company. If it’s a really huge company then the head of PR and media might be a better bet. Sometimes it is easy to see who this is as their name and contact information is clearly displayed on the contact us page. If the details are there then include them on your spreadsheet so you can send a personalised message.

If not though, don’t waste loads of time searching this out. In most cases, the message will be forwarded to the right person.

Companies willing to donate raffle prizes

#5 Start contacting companies for raffle prizes

Use my ‘raffle prize ideas’ section at the bottom of this guide to create a list of potential companies willing the donate raffle prizes. The bigger the list, and the most amount of time you spend on this, the easier it will be when it comes to sending out your ask.

Make this list fully BEFORE sending out emails otherwise you will lose track of what you’ve already searched.

Obviously, the more emails you send, the more successes you are likely to have.

Although letters are great, I usually just stick to sending an email as it’s faster, cheaper and I can have a wider reach. From my personal expereicne, I’ve had a good response from companies happy to donate raffle prizes off the back of an email…..I think letters can be too time consuming for people to replt to.

The only exception would be if I print a letter which I plan to hand-deliver to a manager in a supermarket or to shops if I am out in my local town for the day…..in some places, this is the only way to reach the manager (especially with branches of chains who usually have an individual say on charity allocation budgets – think big supermarkets or beauty shops).

#6 Follow up a week later (*IMPORTANT*)

This step is SO SO SO important. I can’t emphasise enough that you must follow up your initial email. I’ve had more successes from follow up emails then I have with first emails!!!!

A week after I send my first email I send a follow up if I haven’t heard back. This is where it’s important to keep your spreadsheet organised so you can keep track of rejections and emails so you don’t get confused.

It’s harder to ignore the second email as it feels like someone is sat waiting for your response. Keep your follow up short, friendly and to the point. Forward your origonal email and simply put something along the lines of….’I’m just following up from my previous email as I hadn’t heard back and wanted to check it had been received ok’

#7 Aim for variety

A variety of prizes will make your raffle interesting and attractive. If you’ve got a mix of prizes it means you will have something for everyone! Try to get one or 2 big prizes for your raffle as the main draw…..this can often be key to a successful raffle prize (think a TV or overnight stay in a hotel). Get some interesting mid-range items from products, vouchers and gift cards (haricuts, hampers or day out vouchers). Then some smaller giveaways to bulk up the table (beauty products, toys or chocolates).

If there’s a lot of chances to win then people will work out their odds are better and may be more willing to give more versus a raffle with just a few prizes in.

BONUS TIP: You’ve got to get over your fear of asking!

I bet you’re feeling nervous about asking for prizes? Or at the very least a bit awkward?

There is no space for nerves or worries when it comes for asking for prizes as you need to use all your time and energy going at this guns blazing. Think about it – the more effective and confident you are at asking, the better your success rate.

A book that really changed my way of thinking when it came to fundraising is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. It taught me to approach people and companies effectively and how to get over my nerves of asking.

I’d really suggest getting your hands on a copy to make you a better fundraiser.

And check out my video for more tips on fundraising and an explanation of the process and what worked for me:

#7 THANK SUCCESSES

If someone emails to say they are happy to donate a prize, don’t forget to get back to them straight away. Say a huge thank you and ask if they can send the prize out immediately. It’s good to get it early on in case someone changes jobs! If it is for a service you could offer to put together a PDF or envelope with the details for the winner if they don’t have a voucher or gift cards available.

Once the raffle is finished always follow up companies willing to donate raffle prizes with a final thank you saying how much you raised. You never know when you might need to ask them for a raffle prize again! You could even take this a step further and create a postcard made from a photo taken on the night. A small touch like this can really show your gratitude and will mean that local business or company is more likely to help with fundraising events in future.

Who should I contact for raffle prizes?

Hoepfully by now you are feeling organised and confident about apraching comapnies. Now it’s time to start working out who to actually contact. I usually prioritise …

  1. Personal contacts and conections
  2. Small local businesses and companies
  3. then large comapnies

And will try to get a mix of…..

  1. Pysical products
  2. Gift cards and vouchers
  3. Services (haricuts, cleaning sevices, etc)
  4. Celebrity items

Use your contacts

The best place to start is with personal connections as the success rate with people you have a connection with is going to be considerably higher. If your brother works in a bookstore, for example, it wouldn’t take much for him to ask the manager if they could donate a couple of books.

Start collecting a list of:

    • all the companies you have worked for or with previously
    • close friends and relatives and who they work for

I’d suggest putting something on your social media saying you are doing a rafle fundraiser and are looking for companies willing to donate. Someone might come forward with a suggestion or contact that you didn’t know about.

Top tip: small companies are key to getting raffle prizes

Generally the smaller the company the easier it is to get a donation. So an individual running a massage business is more likely to support you than a large spa chain. It’s also really good to try to find new companies that are yet to established a supporting charity.

If they are local – even better!

To find the company I use Google (Google Maps can be great for showing you companies nearby) then just find the ‘contact us’ section on their website for an email address.

Raffle prize ideas 2022: large companies

Although you will likely have better luck with smaller companies, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying the big companies too. Here are some companies I’ve had luck with:

  • Dominos – dropped a letter into my local branch
  • Build-a-Bear – https://www.buildabear.com/donation-request.html
  • The Real Greek – http://www.therealgreek.com/
  • London Eye – charity@londoneye.com
  • WHSmith – dropped a letter into my local branch
  • Wagamama’s – http://www.wagamama.com/contact-us
  • Animal – shop@animal.co.uk
  • Eurostarcharity@eurostar.com
  • Next – Charities_department@next.co.uk
  • Tesco – dropped a letter into my local branch
  • Vue cinema – dropped a letter into my local branch
  • Wilkinson – dropped a letter into my local branch
  • Brittany Ferries – send a letter to Customer Services, Brittany Ferries, Millbay, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 3EW
  • Disney – send a letter to Corporate Community Affairs, The Walt Disney Company Ltd., Attn: Donation Requests, 3 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9PE
  • IKEA – send a letter to IKEA Ltd, Customer Relations, Kingston Park, Peterborough, PE2 9ET
  • London Aquarium – send a letter to SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road
  • Thorpe Park – send a letter to Fundraising requests, Thorpe Park, Staines Road, Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 8PN London SE1 7PB
  • YoSushi – enquiries@yosushi.com
  • JellyBelly’s – helpdesk@jellybelly-uk.com

Raffle prize ideas 2022: products

These are some of the best raffle prizes you can get – having a physical ‘thing’ that winners can take away is appealing and will make your raffle table look attractive. Try looking for companies or individuals in your local area that sell the following….

Creative items:

  • Artwork
  • Ceramics & pottery
  • Photography Prints
  • Wood carving – furniture
  • Jewellery
  • Card designer
  • Clothes designer
  • Watchmaker

*Etsy is a great place to look for craft inspiration. It will give you lots of new ideas doing a random search and seeing what you find!

Household items

  • Pet products
  • Food bits
  • Beauty products
  • Bags
  • Shoes and clothes
  • Electronics

To find inspiration for specific brands to contact, go into the following shops and write down the brand names you see on the shelf. You can then contact all those companies directly.

Supermarket – luxury condiments, pasta and sauces, biscuits and crackers, cereals
Outdoor store – hats, clothing ranges, accessories
Department store – bags, shoes, jewellery, perfumes, watches
Electronics store – headphones, toasters, mixers, speakers, TV’s, straighteners, cameras

Raffle prize ideas 2019

Top tip: Think outside the box

The more unusual the company you are asking for prizes from, the more likely it will be a success.

The most popular raffle prizes – like chocolate,  gift basket hampers and wine shops are bombarded with daily requests for donations. But how often do you think the local tattoo artist gets a similar email? Or a psychic or a dog trainer?

Even better…..can you convince a company to offer a money can’t buy experience?! This really is gold dust. Here are a few suggestions:

  • A local baker to teach someone how to make beautfiul cupcakes from scratch
  • A visit to the changing room before a match
  • A fashion designer to be a personal shopper for the morning
  • Hour mentoring from a well-known local author

Raffle prize ideas 2022: vouchers, tickets, and experiences

Use Google to see what attractions are in your local area. Here are some ideas of the sort of vouchers and gift cards you could add to your raffle:

  • Takeaway shops
  • Restaurants and pubs (voucher for a meal or drinks)
  • Spots clubs – Football, rugby, hockey (tickets to go see matches)
  • Boat tours
  • Go-karting
  • Workshops – cocktail, pole dancing, chocolate making, create a perfume, jewelry making
  • Flights – hot air balloon, helicopter, glider, small aircraft
  • Indoor Skydiving
  • Team building days
  • Magazine subscription
  • Adventurous experiences – rock climbing, ice climbing, white water rafting, kayaking, SUPing
  • ‘in the post’ Box Subscriptions – beers, beauty, baby, gin, vegetables, cheese
  • Theatre – Amateur, opera, ballet
  • Concert’s – Jazz club, classical,
  • Cinema
  • Zoo or farm
  • Theme park
  • Flower making
  • Zip lines
  • Escape rooms
  • Personal shopping experience
  • Wine tasting
  • Tours of local attratcions or museums
  • Garden attractions

Raffle prizes donated by celebrities

Celebrities are great for raffle prizes as they often have agents with a pile of signed goods ready to ship out. Again local is best – so anyone that grew up in the area who has now grown a name for themselves. They don’t just need to be huge celebrities – authors, TV presenters and sports stars are a good place to start. Use Google to help you find these people.

Celebrities usually have a PR manager whose details will be on the contact page on their website. You might also have success looking for local PR companies or agents rather than for individual celebrities as some agents might represent multiple people.

If they don’t have an obvious product to donate, maybe you could ask if they would be willing to give an hour call to share their expertise…..a local well-known entreprenuer for example.

Top tip: Think services, not just products

When people think raffle prizes they usually think of physical items. From my experience though services are usually much easier to get. So things like massages, cleaning services, coaching sessions, etc. This is where you are most likely to get your big prizes for raffles.

Raffle prize ideas: services

Try looking for companies in your local area that offer the following services….

  • Hairdressers or Barbers
  • Beauty treatments – hair wax, manicure or pedicure, massages (reiki, head massage, holistic, sports masseuse)
  • Tattoo (yep…I once had a tattoo artist give away 5 free tattoos!! As far as cool raffle prizes go it doesn’t get much better. Everyone at the event was talking about this one!)
  • Massage
  • Personal training
  • Gym membership
  • Ice skating lessons
  • Swimming lessons – adult or children
  • Language lessons – private or in at a language school
  • Motorbike lessons
  • Car lessons
  • Coaching – life, speaker, business
  • Palm reading
  • Psychic reading
  • Photography – portraits, children, animals
  • Dog training lessons
  • Pet grooming

Top tip: manufacturers rather than suppliers

Generally, it’s better to approach the manufacturers who are producing a product rather than a company who supplies different products.  For example, a specific shoe brand (such as Merrel) is more likely to donate a product over a shoe shop.

A great way to find these is to go into a shop and write down the specific brands that you see on the shelf. It’s like shopping for great raffle prizes!

Thoughts on diaper raffle prizes

A diaper raffle is where everyone brings a diaper (nappy) to put into the raffle. Usually used at baby event.

Obviously this won’t be suitable for a lot of events but you could use the same concept by having a theme. Or by asking everyone to contribute to the raffle, therefore saving you the time having to find prizes.

A good example would be if you were hosting a film night and wanted to do a raffle. You could ask each of your volunteers to contribute their favourite film on DVD to add to the raffle. The winner of the raffle will then get to take them all home.

If your fundraiser has a theme, it’s great to make your raffle in keeping and to target companies. Businesses, like a hot sauce company for example, may be more willing to donate if it’s a Mexican themed night as from a branding and exposure point of view it makes more sense.

A few extra resources and tips:

…..If you are doing an online raffle or sharing your fundraising journey on social media, check out my Ultimate social media guide and how I grew to 20,000 followers in the space of a year.

…..When presenting your raffle prizes think about how to make them look intising. You want your punters to feel like they have a good chance of winning so pik the right size table that makes it look full of donated prizes. Use a table cloth and other decorations to make it look nice.

…..As well as reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, which I mentioned earlier in this guide, I’d also suggest checking out Fundraising Ideas by Molly Robbinson. There are also some really good tips in A guide to Fun Ways to Fundraise for your community, church or charity.

…..Don’t forget to get raffle ticket rolls in plenty of time. I buy mine off Amazon – I tend to get this 4 colour pack as I think having different colours makes it more interesting/tense when you call out the numbers.

…..When selling raffle tickets at your event, make sure you leave plenty of time (and have a spare pair of hands) for breaking down each ticket and folding them. This takes a surprising amount of time!

…..If you’ve thought of any other ideas for raffle prizes that I haven’t covered, please do share them in the comments box below to help others who are using this as a resource.

….I’d also genuinely just love to hear about your event and if this resource helped. It makes me feel really good that I might be helping others do a good thing! It took me a (really!) long time to put this epic resource together so if you if you would like to say thanks, you can buy me a coffee!

Don’t forget to give me a follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up to my newsletter to keep up with my latest adventures and fundraising efforts.

Any women reading this? I set up Love Her WIld – a women’s adventure community….we organise exciting adventures all over the world for you to join. Find out more – check out our private Facebook page.