How do I get Prizes and How Many should I get?

How do I get Prizes and How Many should I get?

Buying Prizes

  • Do not rely solely on donations!
  • You may have to spend some money to make money, so look for the sales.
  • Save up your Air Miles, PC Points, or credit card points and purchase prizes
  • BBQ’s, TV’s, iPads, concert tickets, sporting event tickets, gift cards, or even gift baskets are great prizes and they are things that you can usually find on sale.
  • Never pay full price for prizes… there are deals everywhere.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open and ask around for some sales.
  • But really do your best to focus on donations so that you are not spending hundreds or event thousands on prizes. Free is better for Fundraisers!

How Many Prizes Should I Get

  • Be weary of one thing – sometimes people think the more prizes, the better.
  • It always looks impressive when the prize tables are absolutely loaded with loot.
  • Consider that it takes time to draw a ticket for a prize, so more prizes mean more time drawing, and guests can become agitated.
  • If you have a lot of smaller prizes, consider consolidating them into “Prize Packs” or letting the DJ give some away for spot dances – a great way to get your guests up dancing and enjoying themselves.
  • A good problem to have, is that you have TOO many prizes to give away.
  • If this is your case, then use these prizes for games, rather than giving away money.
  • Plan to have 1 huge Grand Prize, 2-3 smaller but still big prizes, and then a Raffle Table of about 20 -30 prizes.  You can consolidate some of them into baskets as we mentioned before.  Too many, and it will take too long to coordinate.  Too little, and nobody will want to buy tickets!
  • Consider renting our Raffle Containers as you see pictured above. Keeps things neat and tidy!

Carrie (owner of Jack of all Spades) just had her own Stag & Doe in June 2018, and 99.9% of her prizes were donated so pretty much….  All.  Of.  Them.  She bought an LCBO gift card for the toonie toss, but besides that, she was not out of pocket for anything.  She worked hard, and worked for months getting prizes, she got a quadrillion “NO’s”, but her persistence paid off.  Definitely get help though, as its a huge undertaking.  Good luck with requesting Donations for Fundraisers – see our other pages to help with Writing your Donation Request Letters and how to ask!

How to Write a Donation Letter Request

How to Write a Donation Letter Request
  • First of all, do not hand write your Donation Letter Request!  
  • Type it up and print in advance.  
  • Keep it in your car and when you are in the area, drop it off!  
  • Give to your committee members too if they live close to the location.

Step by Step Instructions on what your Letter should say:

should be addressed to their company name / person’s name – don’t make a generic one that you hand out to everyone

  • ie) To: Manager/Owner of Boston Pizza

include a picture of the person the Fundraiser is for, or a company logo on its letterhead if a Corporate Event

  • coloured picture is best!

who and what the Fundraiser is for (if different)

  • This letter is to request a donation for myself (first and last name) and my fiancé (first and last name) to use at our Stag & Doe (or insert type of Fundraiser) that we can use to raffle off for our Prize Table

say something unique about your sitaution

  • I can appreciate that you get a lot of donation requests, but we hope that you consider our circumstance a bit different. (insert your story in one sentence. Here is an example – My fiancé and I met in high school and we have been dating for the past 12 years. He has been overseas for work and has finally moved back to Ontario so we we have decided that now is the right time to tie the knot and start our new journey together!)

what type of donation you are looking for

  • Specifically, we are hoping that your company is either able to donate a $50 gift card, a free service, or a gift that we use to raffle off, however we would be grateful for whatever it is that you are able to donate!

when the event is

  • Our event is being held on (insert date with year)

where the event is

  • at the (insert hall name with city)

how many you expect to show up (be realistic and don’t inflate the number!)

  • We have already invited (insert number of people) and are expecting approximately (insert number of people) to attend our event in person

why you thought of this particular company

  • We love your company because we love (insert reason – your prices, your location, your staff, your line of products, etc. But be specific)

your favourite product

  • We especially love your (insert item that they sell that you legitimately enjoy. Google their company to get specifics and to spell things right, and don’t sound to general)

how you anticipate people will react to their gift card/prize, etc.

  • We know this will be a popular prize to win because (insert your reason such as – there will be a lot of golfers there, there are lots of people with young children in attendance, lots of moms who love wine, etc)

show your appreciation

  • We would be so grateful for whatever it is that you can to do help us out

how they can contact you – give several options (text, email, phone)

  • Please contact me anytime by text/call (905-555-5555) or by email (x@x.com)

tell them you will follow up if you don’t hear from them

  • If I do not hear from you within the next week, I will be following up with you as I am so excited about the prospect of using your product/service for a prize!

put your name down and sign

  • Thank you for your time, (insert name & then sign below)

Other Tips:

  • Staple an actual ticket of the Fundraiser to accompany it – it just shows it is more legitimate.
  • Do not make your letter sound vague (I am requesting a donation) but instead be straight to the point and clearly state what you want (I am requesting a gift certificate for $50).
  • Do not make it too generic like this one (I am asking for a donation to my stag and doe and appreciate your help). Boring!  Make yours stand out because they literally get these weekly if not daily, so make yours stand out from the rest, so they remember you.  Make it personal with something they can relate to you about.  Talk about how you and your hubby met if it is a romantic story, the kids you have, how much you love shopping there, or a memory of the first time you purchased from them, or a favourite product that you cannot live without.  Add a picture of you with your spouse or kids, as it is makes it much more personal.
  • Just remember you are in competition with a LOTTTTT of others, so make your letter and story special.

Ticket Packages

ticket packages

Package Signage

Ticket Packages are the most common way to sell tickets at Fundraisers now. People have gotten so creative and have come with some great ways to sell Packages. Here is an example of a local girl who put together these Packages. This kind of pricing is very common, but you can change it around however you want!

This trend has people offering 3 types of Packages at a Fundraiser:

  1. Couples
  2. Singles
  3. DD’s

Obviously the Couples Package will be the most enticing and will include the liquor tickets, but don’t leave out the Singles! And of course the DD’s need their own package, so we agree with this kind of pricing and try to promote this way of thinking. It encourages people to spend more than they might have originally, but it is easy for them to make decisions too. People want to go once, buy a Package, then sit down. They don’t want to keep going up to buy one ticket at at time whenever they need it. We really cannot see any downfalls with offering Ticket Packages. We just encourage you to be fair in your pricing and not overcharge by being greedy. You want people to feel like they are getting a deal, which is the way you are supposed to feel when you buy a Package deal. Now lets take a closer look:

Couples Package

This is what we have seen as being a common Couples Package, and we have seen them for somewhere between $40 – $60. We think this is a fair offering and it is the most popular package purchased.

  • 4 beer tickets
  • 2 refreshment tickets
  • 4-6 grand prize tickets
  • 2 penny sale sheets (or 2 arms lengths of Raffle Tickets)

Singles Package

The Singles will have about half the amount offered in a Couples Package, and it would be about half the price, plus a tiny bit more. It is common to see the Singles Packages for around $25 – $35. It might include:

  • 2-3 beer tickets
  • 1 refreshment ticket (optional)
  • 2 grand prize tickets
  • 1 penny sale sheet (or an arms length of Raffle Tickets)

DD Package

This Package won’t have any alcoholic beverage tickets and will be the cheapest package offered. We commonly see this Package listed for between $15 – $25. It might include:

  • 2-3 refreshment tickets
  • 2-3 grand prize tickets
  • 1 penny sale sheet (or an arms length of Raffle Tickets)

Nevertheless, having Ticket Packages is a great way to earn more money.  Otherwise, a couple may approach the booth, and just get 2 beer tickets, 1 grand prize ticket, and 1 penny sale sheet only.  So you are definitely encouraging people to buy more by offering Packages! Important Note: You cannot specifically say that they end up getting a free beer by getting a package.  Instead you must be careful by saying that the liquor prices have not been discounted somewhere on your sign.


Separate Signage

You will also want to have a separate sign advertising what they are per ticket, because some people are just more comfortable with that. Or they might have already bought a Package and just need 1 more drink. So make sure that is clearly outlined on a sign right next to it, how much you are selling per refreshment ticket, liquor ticket, beer ticket, penny sale sheet, or raffle ticket, or even game ticket. Just make sure you are not discounting drinks, as that is illegal (buy 1 drink ticket for $5 or 5 drinks for $20).

Here are some ideas (and have a pic of the ticket beside it as people are visual):

  • Liquor Ticket: $5 (if in Hamilton region, $4 if in Niagara region, $6 if in Halton region)
  • Refreshment Ticket: $2
  • Raffle Ticket: $10 for 5 tickets, $15 for arms length, $20 for wing span
  • Penny Sale Sheet: $10
  • 50/50 Tickets: 5 for $5, or 15 for $10
  • Grand Prize Ticket: $5 each or 3 for $10

Keep it Simple!

Just don’t confuse people with having too many options, or don’t confuse them by being too wordy or having a busy sign. Keep in mind that a confused mind says NO and will instead opt for the simplest thing, and therefore you could lose out on potential profit!

If you have some different ideas on pricing, make some comments below!

How to Save Money on Drinks

Measure!

You have to measure what you are pouring if you want to save money on drinks. Everyone loves a generous drink, but when you are trying to make a profit, you cannot be giving away drinks for free! See this image? That is all you need to know! Beauty!

Also have a sharpie at the bar, and have them write their name on their cup before pouring the drink. Then they can bring this cup back each time, thus saving you money on the cups.

Stay away from buying coolers – although it is nice for people to have some choices, you don’t make as much money on Coolers than you would a Beer or mixed drink. Save the coolers for home parties when entertaining a few close friends.

Lastly, if this is a Fundraiser, DO NOT buy all expensive brands. People will be happy with whatever you are serving. Do not buy super cheap brands too… just buy middle of the road brands that will be crowd pleasers.

How to Set up Your Hall?

how to set up your hall

Figuring out how to set up your hall can be tricky but we have some great tips.  Make sure that when you are setting up the tables, they are not all in straight lines like you would see at a bingo hall. Be creative and funky and change it up a bit. Maybe even draw out a layout ahead of time. From experience, we have found that you should have zones for everything: food, games, dance floor, seating area, bar, etc. This makes it easier for your guests to navigate and not miss anything. It also spreads the guests throughout the hall more evenly which will prevent people from feeling closed in and congested.  You want people to mingle and walk around rather than stay in one area the whole night.

You should put games like Blackjack, Poker, Roulette and Craps up against the wall so that your guests cannot go beside or behind the dealer and cheat. It is fun to place games like the Jail & Bail in the middle of the room, since it is free standing and will make people notice it.  Don’t throw this game in a dark corner – be strategic and place it where people will notice it!  A huge dance floor is not needed; you want the attention to be on the games, which is where you make your money. As games start to close at the end of the night around midnight, that is when the dancing may really take off, but probably not before.

How to Run Raffle Draws?

raffle draws

Need some help with how to run the Raffle Draws?  Plan to shut down the games no later than midnight, as you will need time to run the raffle draws.  When your guests purchased Raffle Tickets throughout the night, they would walk along the long line of prizes on the Prize Table, and choose which prize(s) they wanted the most.  Then they would tear half of their ticket and put it into a Raffle Container that corresponded with that Prize.

One big mistake people make when they have lots of raffle prizes, is that they use a microphone to draw the raffle prizes all at once which stops your party dead. It also drags on and on and on, and it can be annoying.  Especially if you are one of those parties that have 100 prizes.

It is a good idea to draw a couple of prizes publicly and either have the DJ announce the other winners in between songs or rent our Dry Erase Boards to post the winning numbers silently. This is a good way to keep the sale of Raffle Tickets going, as your guests will be constantly reminded about the prizes people keep winning. As the night goes on, the prizes get more expensive and more appealing, thus encouraging people to stay longer and spend more money.

Another idea is to have people write their names on the Raffle Tickets before they put them in a Raffle Container. This way, the announcer does not have to read the numbers eight times before people hear him correctly, they will understand a person’s name much easier and it will go faster.  Also, if they are not there anymore, you can get them the prize another day.  So people don’t have to stick around…. however you kind of want them too!  The longer they are there for, the more they will spend on drinks and games, so you choose what is best.

How to Sell the most Raffle Tickets at my Event?

Raffle Tickets

We hate to say it but if you must know how to sell the most Raffle Tickets at your event… but we are just going to say it.  Specifically choose some good looking men and women to sell these tickets.  Terrible isn’t it?  So shallow!  But it works.  Ev..ery..time.

Make sure they charm, smile, and hustle for best results. It is good to have a few different colours of Raffle Tickets too, because one girl can have the red tickets, and one girl can have the blue tickets. When the red ticket girl sells tickets to a group of people, the blue ticket girl can come around and ask them to buy tickets from her. When your guests say that they already have some, the blue ticket girl can say, “but you do not have my colour,” with a pouty look on her – works every time!

Typical pricing would be 3 tickets for $5, an arms length for $10, or a wing span for $20! Another good option is to also offer $15 for a hug, which means that a pretty girl will hold the tickets in her hands and will hug your guest. When her hands meet around their waist, then that is how many tickets they get. Guys are a sucker for this!

So we recognize how awful these tips are when trying to decide how to sell the most raffle tickets, but just trust us when we say it works.

Party Alcohol Liability Insurance (PAL)

PAL Insurance

Nowadays, most halls require you to get Party Liability Insurance, also known as PAL, when having a Wedding, Stag & Doe, etc. which will cover you for liability from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. Some halls have their own Insurance company that they work with and offer great rates. If fact, the Peach King Centre in Grimsby, offers a great rate so be sure to check them out! Would be nice to save you the hassle of having to apply for this separately – just another step in the planning process that you can avoid! If the hall does not offer its own Insurance, then we recommend using PAL Insurance Canada which is the most well known company that offers PAL for Stag & Doe’s and Fundraisers. Also check with your auto or home Insurance provider, as they may offer this.

The last time we checked (Feb 2019), their rates (including tax) were:

  • $150 if you have between 1 – 100 people
  • $188 if you have between 101 and 500 people
  • $220 if you have between 501 and 1000 people

Here is what PAL Insurance Canada’s website says about what they cover:

This program provides protection when lawsuits are brought against individuals, organizations or companies who host single/multi-day functions with alcohol service. Designed for event hosts who are holding reception-type events in a rented facility. A valid liquor permit or license must be in place for service of alcohol.
Events with live entertainment OR sports DO NOT qualify for this policy.
Note: DJ’s are not considered as live entertainment

https://www.palcanada.com/index.php/en-us/event-hosts/party-alcohol-liability

So just click here to fill out their simple online application, or feel free to shop around. Definitely ask your hall if they offer it though, as this could save you some time and money.

Do I Need a Gambling License?

do i need a gambling license

To help answer this common question about whether or not you need to get a Gambling License, we went to directly to the source and have copied and pasted excerpts right from representatives of the AGCO (Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario).  That way we know we are giving you the right info!  Keep in mind, that that you should definitely cross reference our advice with their website, as the information you are about to read was the most current that we knew about, at the time of writing the article (March 2019).  This is just advice that we are giving you here, but it would be wise to double check things to ensure you are doing everything by the book.

To be quite frank here, if everyone followed the AGCO’s rules perfectly, most halls would be out of business, and we would also be out of business!!  We believe you just have to be creative with how you do things.  Basically they do not like to see actual cash out at each game as they do not want people winning money.  We have been told that one idea is to instead sell raffle tickets at the front door as your guests enter, and they can use these raffle tickets to “gamble” with at the games.

They can give a raffle ticket to the person running the Golf Putt Challenge game for example vs. actual money and get a shot at it.  Just like they do when you go to a town fair – you give them money, they give you game tickets, and that is how you play their games.  The other way around things from what we have heard, is to not give away money as a prize, but instead an actual tangible prize.  If it is donated then even better!

One other important thing to note, is that they say Games of Skill are good but Games of Chance are bad.  So games like Hockey Shootout, Hole in One, Bra Pong, Bean Bag Toss – these all requires skill.  Other games like the Wheels and Plinko are all won by chance.  With that said, the Crown & Anchor and Plinko, are our most popular rentals, so figure that one out!

A spokesperson from the AGCO was quoted in this article saying that Games of Skill are acceptable as well as a few other ideas:

As for games of chance and 50-50 tickets, she said people holding a stag and doe can try different ones (games of skill are allowed) or an auction, or simply charge more for tickets.

So that is why it is important to ask the hall if they have a gambling license because then you are permitted to run raffles.  In this article, they are quoted saying that there are 5 ways to make money at your fundraiser:

– Ticket Sales
– Donations
– Silent Auctions – get prizes donated, but no liquor bottles.  You can get LCBO or Beer Store gift certificates and have people write their bids down on a piece of paper. Try to get the Bride’s side bidding against the Groom’s side to increase the bid amounts
– Live Auction (same as above except with a lively auctioneer!)
– Games of Skill – not chance (putting contests, scoring contests, nailing the log, guessing how many jelly beans in a jar etc.) and then all of the funds raised through these methods go directly to the Bride and Groom

So now that we have cleared that all up for you, are things clear as mud now?!

How Many Cases of Drinks to Buy?

How Many Cases of Drinks to Buy

Trying to figure out how many cases of Drinks to buy for your Fundraiser is certainly a huge task to take on – You don’t want too little, and don’t want too much! On average, each guest may drink 2 to 4 drinks, so you can use this number to judge how many drinks to buy.  All of our rolls of Drink Tickets come in rolls of 1000.  We will estimate that 30% of them are beer drinkers, 40% of them are mixed drink drinkers, 10% are wine drinkers, and 20% of them are non-alcoholic drinkers (pop/water) – so let’s say 10% will just drink pop, and 10% will just drink water.

Knowing this will also help you decide how many cups to purchase. Does that help? Of course, this is just a guide and you will know your crowd the best. We strongly advise you to buy MORE than you need, as things are fairly easy to return. Just advise your bartenders NOT to open up everything in the bar, and only open the case when its ready to use.

The Formula

So we have a formula for you! Just follow this formula, and it will help guide you to decide how many drinks to purchase ahead of time. Some people will have 6 drinks, others will have 1. We are using an estimate of 4 per person to simplify things, and encourage you to do the same. It is probably more like 3, but we have inflated it, because is easy drinks if you have got too much, later on.

Beer

Take the number of people expected to come x 0.3 (30% of guests drink beer) x 4 (4 drinks per person) / 24 (number of beers per case) = number of cases of 24 beers to buy. If you are using 3 kinds of beer, take that number and divide it buy 3 so you know how many of each brand of beer to buy (assuming you think people will drink all equally). Change this to 28 if you buy cases of 28.

ie) 150 expected to come x 0.3 = 45 people will drink beer
60 people x 4 drinks each = 180 beers to buy
180 beers / 24 per case = 7.5 cases to buy in total
7.5 cases / 3 brands = 3 cases of 24 beers, of EACH brand to buy

Hard Liquor

Take the number of people expected to come x 0.4 (40% of guests drink beer) x 4 (4 drinks per person) = number of people who will have mixed drinks. Give this number to the LCBO and they will advise you how many bottles of each to get – they are the experts in this area!

ie) 150 people expected x 0.4 = 60 people will drink mixed drinks
60 people x 4 per person = 240 mixed drinks will need to be made
Now give this number to the LCBO and they will direct you on what to buy

Mixers for Hard Liquor

Take number above from Hard Liquor and divide it by the number of mixers you want (usually gingerale, coke, cranberry juice, orange juice) assuming you think it will be equal amounts. So in this case you would divide that number by 4, and this will tell you how many people will be drinking each type of mixer. We will call this “X”. Then look at how many millilitres of mixer would be added to each cup, and multiply that by X, then divide that by how many millilitres are in each bottle/carton. This will tell you how many bottles or cartons to buy of EACH mixer.

ie) 240 (number from above which was how many mixed drinks to be made)
Take that number of 240 / 4 types of mixers = 60 people will be drinking a mixed drink
50ml of mixer will be added to each drink x 60 people = 3000 ml is needed in total of mixers
3000ml needed in total of mixers / 1000 (each bottle has 1000ml) = 3 bottles
So 3 bottles of EACH mixer is what you need to buy

Wine

Take the number of people attending and multiply it by 0.1 (10% of guests will drink wine only) x 4 (4 drinks per person) = number of glasses of wine to pour in total. Assuming that your guests will equally enjoy red and white, divide this number by 2 to find out how many glasses of wine you will need to put for red AND white. You should really just stick with super generic brands that will appeal to the most amount of people. Make sure to have a white AND red option, but don’t have any more than the two to choose from. Buying boxed wine is the easiest to work with, and the cheapest for you in the long run.

ie) 150 people expected to come x 0.1 = 15 people will be wine drinkers
15 people x 4 drinks per person = 60 drinks of wine to be served
60 drinks / 2 types of wine = 30 red to be served, 30 white to be served 
Take this number to the LCBO and they will help you decide which one to get

Pop

Take the number of people expected to come x 0.1 (10% of guests will drink pop only) x 4 (4 drinks per person) = number of cans to buy for people just drinking pop. If you have 3 types of pop, then take that number and divide by 3 and this will tell you how many people will be drinking each kind of pop. Remember to add this number to whatever you got from the previous calculation.

ie) 150 people expected to come x 0.1 = 15 people will drink pop
15 people drinking pop x 4 drinks per person = 60 cans of pop to buy
60 cans of pop / 3 types of pop = 20 cans of each type of pop to buy for people ONLY drinking pop.
This doesn't include the mixers so add that number to this one.

Water

Take the number of people expected to come x 0.1 (10% of guests will drink water bottles only) x 4 (4 drinks per person) = number of bottles to buy for people just drinking pop. Take this number and divide it by how many bottles are in a case, and that is how many cases of water you should buy. We think Costco sells them in cases of 30 which is the best bang for your buck!

ie) 150 people expected to come x 0.1 = 15 people will drink water
15 people drinking water x 4 bottles per person = 60 bottles needed
60 bottles / 30 per case = 2 cases to buy

Buy Extra!

Isn’t math fun?! Confused? Don’t be! It is fairly straight forward, just get your calculator out and take good notes. Now whatever you just learned in this above example, add a few on of each!! If you buy too much, just keep your receipts and return the extra pop cases you bought, or juice cartons you bought. Just ensure that they are still sealed. The LCBO and Beer Store will allow returns under some conditions. The AGCO Website says:

When returning unopened alcohol purchased from a government store, you must produce the permit and a copy of your payment records (e.g. receipts and/or invoices). Check with the retailer at which you purchased the alcohol for further details.

https://www.agco.ca/sites/default/files/sop1575_english_oct2018.pdf

Typically, The Beer Store will allow up to 20% of the beer you purchased to be returned, as long as it is a perforated case (not glued), you have your Special Occasions Permit with you, the seals of the case are not broken, and it is a full case that is unopened. The LCBO will allow returns as long as you have your receipt and it can be a saleable item again (not used).

Also one quick note, is we recommend to have a table near the bar off to the side, which has plastic cups and a jug of water.  That way the bartender won’t be overwhelmed with orders like this, when people can just do this themselves!  Shortens the line a bit and gives them a break.  All you have to do is put someone on water duty to ensure it is always full!