Raffle vs Sweepstakes for Nonprofits: What’s the Difference?

Raffles for Nonprofit

Raffles are a type of lottery in which people purchase tickets for a chance to win a prize. The nonprofit sells the tickets and keeps all of the proceeds. Raffles are regulated by state law, so be sure to check the state regulations before running one.

Benefits of Running a Raffle vs. Sweepstakes

There are several benefits to running a raffle for your nonprofit listed below.

  1. Encourages People to Donate
  1. Encourages Mutual Relationships Between Nonprofits and Local Businesses
  1. Encourages a Productive Atmosphere

What is a Sweepstakes?

  • They require a method of entry
  • Random selection of the winner
  • Prize distribution

Social Sharing

A prize draws new contributors and encourages viral sharing.

Reach New Local and National Donors for Your Organization

Sweepstakes can be offered in all 50 states, even if your charity isn’t registered in each of them. This means you’ll be able to attract new contributors and sponsors from outside of your community. You’ll be able to achieve your objectives quicker by attracting donations from across the country.

Raffle vs. Sweepstakes

There are a lot of differences between a raffle and sweepstakes that should help you decide which one to run for your nonprofit organization.


  • Raffles: Are illegal in some states in the US and Canadian provinces. Please seek legal advice before planning or operating a raffle or lottery. A state or provincial license may be required to run a raffle.
  • Sweepstakes: It’s legal in all 50 states and every province in Canada.

Geographic Reach

  • Raffles: Limited to a specific set of US or Canadian provinces.
  • Sweepstakes: Expand your organization and gain more visibility by selling goods, advertising, and sponsorships to clients.

Numbers of Entries per Person

  • Raffles: Each person may have up to five entries.
  • Sweepstakes: One entry per person or as many as offered.
  • Raffles: can receive donations only from donors that are residents of the state(s) the nonprofit is registered in.
  • Sweepstakes: can receive donations from residents of any of the 50 states.


Running a raffle or sweepstakes is an excellent way for nonprofit organizations to raise funds. However, which one is best for your organization depends on your objectives and preferences.



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