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Running Charity Lotteries and Raffles in the UK

Running Charity Lotteries and Raffles in the UK

Charity lotteries, also known as charity raffles, tombolas, and sweepstakes, are a great way to raise money and support a good cause. It is exciting to give supporters a chance to win prizes in return for fundraising donations.  Raffles can be held solo or in conjunction with a variety of events, including coffee mornings, school fêtes, or your next charity golf tournament.

Getting the most enjoyment and donations from your charity raffle is our main aim, and by offering free and easy-to-use software to get you started, why wait?

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How to Set Up a Charity Lottery in the UK

First things first, with charity raffles and lotteries, there are a lot of legal considerations. We’ll review these as well as the 4 P’s when planning a charity raffle: Plan, Prize, Price, and Promotion. 

Charity raffles can be incredibly good fun and profitable at the same time. However, charity lotteries and raffles are controlled by the UK’s Gambling Commission, and you must ensure that your fundraising is legal. Follow these rules to lawfully set up your charity lottery and raise as much money and publicity as possible for your cause to make a lasting difference.

Please note that DoJiggy operates as a charity raffle website provider, not an External Lottery Manager (ELM). It is your organisation’s responsibility to ensure you have the correct authority/license to run a lottery or raffle. Unlawful lotteries may be closed down by the Gambling Commission.

Who Can Organise Charity Raffles?

Running Charity Lotteries and Raffles Volunteer

Many individuals, organisations, and groups can set up raffles to raise donations for their chosen charity. If you are a volunteer, it is important to inform your charity that you are planning a raffle to raise donations. Contact them and explain what you plan to do so there are no surprises or delays later with your campaign. Once in touch with your charity, they will need to write a Letter of Authorization for you to continue to carry out fundraising work on their behalf.

The following small raffles don’t need to be registered to raise funds:

An incidental non-commercial lottery

This type of raffle is held during the course of an event, such as a fundraising gala or a school fête. With this type of charity raffle, tickets must be sold and the winner must be announced at the event. The limit on organizing costs is £100 and no more than £500 can be spent on prizes.

 A private society lottery

With private society lotteries, the sales of tickets are limited to the people or members of your private club, group, or organization. There is an exception to sell tickets to non-members (guests) but they must be sold on the organization’s premises. All proceeds from the raffle must go to the organization or another charitable cause.

A work lottery and a residents’ lottery

The raffle tickets for these types of lotteries can only be sold to people who all work or live on the same premises.

Small Society Lotteries

Small Society Lotteries

Draws at fetes, bazaars, dinners, dances, and sporting events are commonplace for small society lotteries.

Small society lotteries are often referred to as raffles and are promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society, such as:

  • charitable purposes
  • enabling participation in sports or cultural activities, like theatre
  • any non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain
  • Small society lotteries cannot have proceeds that exceed £20,000 for a single draw nor have aggregated proceeds of more than £250,000 in a calendar year.
  • All tickets must cost the same and a ticket must be provided for each entry
  • You may not deduct more than £100 for expenses and £500 for prizes from the income from lottery ticket sales. There is no monetary limit on donated prizes in this type of lottery.
  • Lotteries can only be run for good causes and not for private or commercial gain.

Do small society lotteries need a license?

Generally, small societies do not require a license but must be registered (for a small annual fee) with the local authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located. If you need an application form from your local authority to set up your small society lottery, you can search here.

You will only need to obtain a gambling license if running a small society lottery when your lottery has proceeds that exceed £20,000 for a single draw or aggregated proceeds in excess of £250,000 in a calendar year. This is then classed as a Large Society Lottery.

Large Society Lotteries

Large society lotteries are required to have a lottery operating license.

For more information about gambling rules and setting up a charity raffle in the UK please check out this quick guide from the UK Gambling Commission.

Plan the Charity Lottery

Charity raffles can be relatively easy fundraising campaigns to plan. Still, don’t try to go it alone. Start by getting a raffle committee together to handle the various planning tasks. Determine your fundraising goals and create a roadmap to get there.

Source Raffle Prizes

You may be surprised at how generous businesses can be when asked to support a deserving charity. If they cannot donate goods, why not ask for a voucher as a prize to spend in their shop or business? It’s a win-win as you promote them on your raffle website.

Set Your Raffle Prices

Raffle ticket prices

Setting your raffle ticket prices is an integral part of the fundraiser planning process. After all, you don’t want to go too high so that you can’t sell enough and reach your fundraising goals. Our platform provides a lot of flexibility for structuring your raffle campaign to help you optimize donations. One of the primary methods you can use to do this is with entry levels, which allow you to encourage higher purchase amounts. But remember, for small society raffles, all tickets must cost the same. 

Read this article on strategies for raffle entry levels. 

Promote Your Charity Lottery Like Crazy

To maximize your outreach, promote your charity raffle campaign as much as possible through as many mediums as possible. Your social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great tools to achieve this. Also, be sure to email your constituents regularly.

Run Your Raffle Online with Our Raffle Websites

charity raffle websites

Our raffle software offers the most functionality in the marketplace. Software features include:

  • Ability to include free merchandise with raffle ticket purchases
  • Fundraising thermometer to track online fundraising progress
  • Live Stream video studio for virtual fundraising events
  • Sponsor and in-kind raffle donation promotion via sponsor logos and links to website and social media
  • Ability to incorporate peer to peer fundraising, where fundraisers sell raffle tickets via personal fundraising pages
  • The system can automatically draw winners from all entries or the administrator can draw winners
  • Include Social Media sharing options to reward supporters who share links and bring in other donors with more raffle entries
  • Mobile giving features to make promoting the raffle easy
  • Pricing flexibility – pay a percentage of credit card sales or use the platform for free with our optional tipping model
Sarah Bender

About Sarah Bender

Originally from Surrey, UK, Sarah has worked remotely in various online fields for the last 8 years. Currently, she is focusing on writing blogs on online fundraising and special events for a UK audience. When she is not spending her days researching and writing, you can find her running around after her two highly active young sons which constitutes a serious workout program!

See other posts from Sarah Bender