Raffle tips and advice

Raffles are frequently run alongside big PTA events. Find out how much other PTAs charge, where to have raffle tickets printed and get tips for pulling out winners...

Sourcing raffle prizes

Charlotta Trygg Bolton: 'We ask local businesses for donations, like vouchers for hair dressers, beauty salons, shops, etc. Last year, we asked each year group to combine hampers with various themes (alcohol, movies, pampering).'Dawn Deacon: 'A great prize we had donated from a local farm was £50 of lamb!'

Kathryn Morley: 'We usually buy the main prize (Kindle, TV) for about £80-£100. Last year, our new head teacher put together a list for a hamper, and the staff all brought in one thing each.'

Poppy Mander: 'We always buy according to the theme of the fair. This year, we had a beach theme, so rented a beach hut for the week for our main prize. We asked for sponsorship from an estate agents to cover the cost, in exchange for advertising at the fair.'

Shirley Higgins: 'We send a ParentMail out requesting raffle donations and state the kind of items we're looking for. A number of parents run their own businesses, so we've obtained an iPad and a Kindle this year! In return our sponsors are named in our programme.'

Allie Evans: 'We write to local attractions, such as soft play centres, childrens farms, adventure parks, cinemas, National Trust venues and castles. We also pop into pubs and other food outlets for prizes.'

Sarah Christie: 'We target local companies with letters and get amazing responses. Our main prizes this year are: £500 cash, Sonos system, a widescreen TV, a mini iPad and a 4-person Segway experience.'

Rebecca Bradley: 'I do a mix of sending letters and contacting parents for help. Thank you letters after the event are also very important. We always thank our supporters via our Facebook page and on large posters at the fairs, too.'

Hellen Dunne: 'We contacted lots of local businesses via email and over the phone, and ended up with some pretty good donations. They ranged from the usual boxes of chocolates, bottles of wine, etc. to restaurant vouchers and photoshoots.'

Zoe Symonds: 'We have secured some really good prizes this year, such as a restaurant meal, a round at a local golf club, hair cuts and beauty treatments. Local companies have been very generous, and we followed up a thank you in the form of a certificate so they can display it in their window. A win-win for both of us!'

How much to charge for raffle tickets

Suzanna Pearce: 'We send home two books of give tickets and charge £1 per book. We do it this way as we have quite a few donation days leading up to the fair and so don't want to put too much more on the parents. However, as they are so cheap, lots of parents ask for more books!'

Syreeta Oakes: 'I would say it depends on how good your prizes are! We usually charge £1 a ticket.'

Elaine Croft: 'We used to sell ours at 25p but this is far too low and we don't make much money. £1 is much better but depends on quality of prizes too I guess.'

Gabby Johnston: 'Ours are £1 per book of five, or 20p a ticket. Never had any complaints, even I buy them.'

Sally Edwards: 'We tentatively sent out a book for £10 instead of £5 (£1 per ticket). Sales doubled and no complaints. Felt naughty but nice. Possible theory: people who buy, buy. People who don't, don't. No one was hurt during this operation!'

Anne Kelly: 'We are doubling the price to £1 each and doubling the 1st prize to £200. We think this will increase overall takings, even if ticket sales go down.'

Rachel Pearce: 'Our Xmas raffle is our main one – we send out two books with 10 tickets in teach and they are 50p each. If children don't sell them all, they can just send them back to us to give to someone else or sell on the day. We're considering upping the price to £1 a ticket as we do have some quite good prizes at Xmas.'

Angie Stewart: 'Our summer fayre raffle has prizes worth over £1,000 so we send out books of five tickets, £1 a ticket. Our Christmas raffle is a bit more low key, so we have 50p tickets for that.'

Lynne McFarlane: 'We send £2 worth of 20p tickets home. At Christmas, about half sold. People who sold them, sold all. Maybe an argument for increasing the number!'

Roo Kanis-Buck: '50p a ticket. Send home £10-worth per family.'

Lesley Black: 'We send out a book of 10 printed tickets to each family, £1 a ticket. Goes down really well and last year we sold about 1,800 tickets.'

Drawing the winning raffle ticket

Lucy-Claire Duckworth: 'We list our prizes in prize order and work from the smallest prizes up to the biggest. That way, everyone stays until the end. One or two people have grumbled, but everyone else was happy and we find the excitement grows to fever pitch by the end! We've done it this way for at least three years.'

Lisa McCluskey: 'We have a list of all the prizes and let first drawn out choose, if the person isn't there at the time we choose a prize for them.'

Emma Holmes: 'We let people choose their prize if they are there, and if not, we either pick something we know they would like (very small school!) or if we don't know them, we give the next highest in value.'

Sue Blake: 'We call first prize first.'

Tina Tanswell: 'We number each prize and stick all the numbers in a hat. When the winner comes up, they then pick a number out of the hat and that then corresponds to a prize.'

Syreeta Oakes: 'We always draw bottom to top. It means that people stay until the end of the raffle.'

Francesca Gubbay: 'We draw smaller prizes first and then work in reverse order. Best prize is drawn last!'

Elizabeth Whyman: 'You can do what you like as long as you announce it like "and for first prize...". We have tried both ways, having a list or letting people pick from the table.'