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Raffle Prizes:
Where to Get a Great Prize When You Can't
Find Anyone to Donate One

by Sherry Truhlar

When conducting a raffle to raise money, the best raffle prize is often one which is donated. This allows all of the collected raffle money to be used by the organization.

But if no appropriate donations are forthcoming, another option is to buy an inexpensive raffle prize. The rationale of this approach is that your modest investment (i.e. buying the prize) will be handsomely rewarded in many raffle ticket sales. Your target market will be excited about winning the prize, and will therefore buy multiple raffle tickets.

If you've reached that point where you are looking to buy the prize, consider shopping (or at least monitoring) the Website Woot. Woot sells one product per day, and its prices are worth watching.

Here's how Woot works:

Woot sells one product per day until it's sold out, or until 11:59 PM central time when that item is replaced with a new product. If the featured daily item sells out, you must wait until midnight to learn about the new featured product.

Most of the prices (current as of August 2009) seem to be about 50% of what that same item might cost elsewhere.

* Philips 52? 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV: Woot sold at $1200; Amazon lists at $2115.

* Memorex 4GB Media Player: Woot sold for $30; various stores list at $60 to $150

* Ion Audio USB Turntable (This system enables you to play records and record directly into your MP3 player.): Woot sold for $50; Wal-mart lists at $115

* Dell Inspiron Dual Core 1.8 Ghz 14? Notebook: Woot sold for $439.

Here are some other reasons to enjoy Woot:

  • Shipping is an easy-to-calculate flat rate of $5.00. Regardless of whether you buy a $40 item or a $1000 item, or whether you buy one item or three items, the shipping is $5.00.

  • Missed an item? Wait for a Woot-Off. During a Woot-Off, all of the items which didn't sell out are offered for sale again (at the same price as before). So, if 40 routers and 125 weather stations didn't sell, those items would be sold - one product after another - during the day of the Woot-Off. If you didn't buy the product during its 24-hour window, you might be able to buy it during the Woot-Off.

  • The site is fun to read because it's cleverly written. The first person to buy each day is called the "First Sucker." On the "What is Woot" page, the authors write, "We anticipate profitability by 2043."

  • The site allows you to see cool statistics. By clicking into the "comments" area of any product, you can see some interesting metrics about Woot's sales. For instance, you'll see that Woot is most popular in the Midwest, and you can review sales-by-hour to see when Woot sells the most product.

  • Woot has an engaged user community with product feedback. If you like to read product opinions, you'll find many useful comments from Woot's buyers.

As a side, cameras (regular and video cameras) are good raffle items, and these items seem to come up for sale regularly on the site. Keep your eyes peeled - a good deal might be on sale today.

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About the Author:

Auctioneer Sherry Truhlar dishes out free benefit auction ideas to improve the ROI of charitable benefit auctions. Her popular Auction Item Guide has been downloaded by hundreds of non-profits and features 100+ of the top-selling items Sherry sold in benefit auctions around the country last year. Get your own free copy at

copyright © 2009 Reprinted with permission.

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