event raffle

Should Your Event Have a Contest or Raffle? 5 Things to Know

Posted on Posted in Blog

When brainstorming different ways to liven up an event and encourage more participation, it’s no long before someone mentions some sort of contest or giveaway. After all, raffles and the like are a great way to collect attendee information, raise excitement, and encourage attendees to participate – and stay around for the results. But for all they can accomplish, this kind of prize strategy can get complicated very fast. Here’s what you need to know before making a final decision.

1. Different Giveaways for Different Purposes

Not all giveaways are created equal! There are contests, sweepstakes, lotteries, raffles, and more – and they all have a unique set of rules that you need to be aware of. Contests, for example, tend to require some element of skill (sometimes with a generous interpretation of skill). Raffles don’t require skill, but they always reward the top prizes. Lotteries don’t guarantee that anyone will get the top prizes…and so on. Compare your different options and your ideas about prizes to see which would work best.

2. The Legal Angle is Important – and Complex

Laws about giveaways tend to be strict, and they vary from country to country and even state to state. In other words, get ready to do your research. You may not be able to do a raffle, for example, unless you are a nonprofit, which means bringing in another business partner for the contest. You may be limited in what prizes you can offer, when you can conduct the contest, and how you choose winners. Most states require you to register the giveaway and sometimes even take out a bond. These considerations are why it’s so important to start early – and ask your sponsors if they want to join in or donate a prize.

3. Know if You Are Raising Money or Not

Are you raising money for a particular cause via the giveaway? It’s an important question – not only does it affect your legal requirements, but it also influences the sponsorship of the event and how you may introduce the contest to attendees. Generally, raising money for a cause is a suitable focus for your giveaway, but you may struggle to tie this event to your presentations. No contest should be totally unrelated to the event itself!

4. The Participation Element

What role do you want your particular giveaway to serve? If the purpose is primarily to collect information, design it that way! If you want to add enthusiasm and engagement, pick a contest that allows for a lot of laughs and sportsmanship. If you want to reward skill, consider a contest that challenges teams to do their best on a particular project.

5. The Digital Side of Contests

Should you also open your contest up to online participation? This is a tricky area beset with even more legal questions. Generally, using online registration for contests is a good idea before the event, but you should probably limit contestants only to the attendees who are present. Remember, the giveaway should be a special part of the event that increases its value, which is difficult to do when anyone can join online.

For more help in designing the right kind of giveaway and finding the proper tools to manage it, contact us at Fourth Wall Eventsand we’ll help you get there!

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