Charity Sweepstakes Drawings vs. Raffles—Which is the Better Nonprofit Fundraiser?

two paths diverge in a green wood

May 30, 2024

Sweepstakes are easier than raffles. There. We said it. Not that raffles aren’t terrific fundraising tools—the problem is that, due to raffle laws, they aren’t accessible to all nonprofits.

When you think of a sweepstakes or giveaway, big, nationwide for-profit brands might leap to mind. However, as we’ll explain below, charity sweepstakes (also known as opportunity drawings) are actually a super raffle alternative for nonprofits that can’t host a raffle due to their local laws.

The Difference Between a Raffle and a Sweepstakes

However, raffle laws in AUS vary depending on the type of draw and are strictly regulated (so be sure to review laws and regulations. Thus, lots of nonprofits can’t even run a raffle draw, or, if they can, there are so many restrictions that it’s too much of a hassle. The reason nonprofit raffles are so high maintenance is that they’re considered gambling since raffle participants pay for the chance to win.

several cocktail sized Australian flags on a grey background

When you run a free draw or charity sweepstakes, it is not strictly gambling because participants aren’t required to pay an entry fee.

We know you’re asking yourself, “Why on earth would a person pay anything when they don’t have to?!” When it’s for a good cause, people are more than willing to donate (check out this article about the psychology of 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 fundraising raffles.

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

Benefits of Charity Sweepstakes Drawings vs. Raffles

Charity giveaways are scalable outside of your geographic location because they are not considered gambling and thus legal. In other words, your fundraising event won’t be limited by your locality! Plus, they’re perfectly legal online, which means your fundraiser is open to everyone in the country. Giveaways also offer the possibility to expand your fundraiser internationally as they’re legal in many countries.

Things to Keep In Mind When Running a Charity Sweepstakes

  • Entries: All purchased tickets in a sweepstakes have a chance to win any prize.
  • Official Rules:  Your sweepstakes must have official rules that detail the terms of the campaign. When you use our fundraising platform for your campaign, legally compliant official rules for each sweepstakes are built in. Plus, the rules cover a worldwide drawing where people can pay the entry fee 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 for a charitable cause. 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.
  • Location: Sweepstakes must be run online, and you can’t include physical entries.
  • Drawing: Sweepstakes prize winners must be chosen through a random drawing using a using a random number generator.

Is a Charity Sweepstakes Right for Your Nonprofit?

We’ve put together a simple breakdown 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.

What Sort of Prizes Work Best?

Similar to raffles, your fundraiser’s goal and target audience should 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 organisation to invest in, however, if marketed well, the proceeds will compound.”

Charity Sweepstakes Marketing Tips

Reach more potential giveaway participants by incorporate all the promotional tools at your disposal.


  • Utilise Social Media: Promote your sweepstakes or fundraiser on all your social media platforms. Use engaging posts, stories, and live videos to capture the interest of your followers.
  • Email Campaigns: Send emails to supporters and donors with a link to your sweepstakes site. Personalise your messages to increase engagement and highlight the importance of participating.
  • Print Marketing Materials: Create and distribute custom printed flyers and postcards with QR codes. Place posters in high-traffic areas and at community events, making it easy for people to enter the sweepstakes by simply scanning the code with their phones.
  • Leverage Your Website: Make sure to feature the sweepstakes prominently on your nonprofit’s homepage. Use a pop-up or a banner to catch visitors’ attention immediately. Include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that direct visitors to enter the sweepstakes.
  • Use Paid Advertising: Utilise Google Ads grants available for nonprofits or run targeted ads on social media platforms. Paid ads can significantly boost visibility and attract new participants who may not be reached through organic methods.
  • Content Marketing: Write blog posts or create videos about the impact of your nonprofit’s work and how the funds raised from the sweepstakes will be used.
  • Engage with Participants: Share updates, thank participants, and remind them to enter or donate. User-generated content, like posts or stories from participants, can also create a buzz.
  • Optimize for Mobile: Ensure that your nonprofit sweepstakes site is mobile-friendly. Many people will enter via their smartphones, so a seamless mobile experience is crucial.
Nonprofit Sweepstakes with Eventgroove

Our all-in-one fundraising platform makes setting up your opportunity drawing a snap. All you have to do is follow the prompts to create your nonprofit’s unique fundraiser.

Your campaign is automatically equipped with an auto-number generator for winner selection and the necessary official rules to keep things legal.

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:

Get Started!

At Eventgroove, we’re all about making things easier. In the ease-of-use department, a sweepstakes campaign comes out on top. Charity giveaways offer numerous benefits and may be a better option than holding a raffle.

Not only are these campaigns simple to set up and run on our fundraising platform, but they also have the potential to reach a wider audience. Launch your charity sweepstakes today!

Want to see Eventgroove in action?

We’d love to show you! Schedule a one-on-one demo with our expert sales team.

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