In this guide to getting raffle prizes I will firstly cover my top tips for convincing companies to donate, inlcuding a template donation letter. At the bottom of the guide you will then find a comprehensive list of companies willing to donate and my raffle prize ideas 2019.

How to ask for raffle prize donations

I’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity through my adventures and now I want to help you! One of the suggestions on my list of 8 charity fundraising ideas for the adventurer was to put on a raffle.

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!

Wondering how to find companies willing to donate raffle prizes? Here are my top tips….

#1 Have a 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 bigger prizes and then a handful of smaller prizes to mix things up. The big prizes are your main draw but having lots of options increases someone’s chances of winning which is also attractive.

#2 Raffle prize template letter

When approaching companies willing to donate raffle prizes, you need to bear in mind that they may get a lot of requests. 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 it 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}

{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 great 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. 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 contact companies for raffle prizes

Use my suggestions 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.

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. I’ve had a good enough response from email alone previously. The only exception would be if I print a letter which I would then hand deliver to a manager in a supermarket or to shops if I am out in 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).

#6 Follow up a week later

This step is so so important! 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 🙂

ALSO RELEVANT: Tips for organsing a fundraising event

BONUS TIP: GET. OVER. IT!!

I bet you’re feeling nervous about asking for prizes?

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.

This is a really great YouTube video worth watching that will give you some great tips so you are asking for donations in the most effective way:

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.

#7 THANK SUCCESSES

If someone emails to say they are happy to donate a prize get back to them straight away. Say a huge thank you and ask if they can send the prize out straight away. 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 to give already.

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!

Who should I contact for raffle prizes?

Now you know the process of getting raffle prizes, it’s time to start working out who to contact.

Ready? Let’s go….

Use your contacts to get raffle prizes

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

Top tip: small companies & 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: 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
    • WHSmith – dropped a letter into my local branch
    • 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
    • Dorothy Perkins – send a letter to Arcadia Group Ltd, Colegrave House, 70 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NL
    • 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

Raffle prize ideas: products

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

    • Artwork
    • Ceramics & pottery
    • Photography Prints
    • Pet products
    • Wood carving – furniture
    • Jewelry maker
    • Card designer
    • Clothes designer
    • Watchmaker
    • Cake maker
    • Distillery, vineyard or brewery

*Etsy is a great place to look for craft inspiration

*To find inspiration for specific brands to contact, go into the following shops and write down the brand names you see on the shelf.

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

Collecting raffle prizes for a fundraising event? Check out my tips for organising a fundraising event.

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 chocolate and wine shop are bombarded with daily requests for raffle prizes. But how often do you think the local tattoo artist gets a similar email?

Raffle prize ideas: vouchers, tickets, and experiences

    • Takeaway shops
    • Restaurants and pubs
    • Spots clubs – Football, rugby, hockey
    • Boat tours
    • Spa days
    • Go-karting
    • Workshops – cocktail, pole dancing, chocolate making, create a perfume, jewelry making
    • Flights – hot air balloon, helicopter, glider, small aircraft
    • Indoor Skydiving
    • Magazine subscription
    • Adventurous experiences – rock climbing, ice climbing, white water rafting, kayaking, SUPing
    • ‘in the post’ Box Subscriptions – beers, beauty, baby, gin, vegetables
    • Theatre – Amateur, opera, ballet
    • Concert’s – Jazz club, classical,
    • Cinema
    • Zoo or farm
    • Theme park
    • Flower making
    • Paintball or laser shooting

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.

Top tip: Services rather than 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.

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!!)
    • 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
    • Sports lessons – football, netball, tennis, rock climbing, kayaking, SUPing, squash, basketball
    • Music lessons
    • Car washing
    • Flower arrangements

Doing a raffle is just one way to fundraise for charity. For other ideas check out: Easy fundraising ideas for small groups

Top tip: Producers rather than suppliers

Generally, it’s better to approach the producer of a product rather than a company who supplies different products.  For example, a specific shoe brand 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.

Extra resources and tips for raffle prizes

Hopefully, this list has given you some helpful ideas for raffle prizes you can hunt down for your event.

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 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.

Good luck with your prize hunting!

If you’ve found this helpful, please do take a minute to follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. I share all my advice and tips for free. Most of my blogs are written from cafes so if you’d like to buy me a cup of tea as a thanks, you can do so via Ko-fi.

And please do share successes or new ideas with others in the comments box below.