Raffles are a powerful tool in fundraising, and one great way to stimulate a room full of donors is to introduce some wine to the situation. This effective combination has served many fundraisers well and is gaining popularity among nonprofits and charities as a way of adding a fun and mature tweak to the traditional raffle format.
This is what’s known as a wine pull, and we’re going to go over how you can get one started for your organization. However, it’s not right for everyone, and to make it work, you’ll need to put in some planning. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered there too, so let’s get started with some context!
How a Wine Pull Raffle Works
It might be a good idea to start with some definitions. There are a number of ways to run a wine or “bottle pull” fundraiser, but they’re all roughly the same principle. It’s essentially a raffle, with wines of different qualities as the prize.
This form of raffle has some immediately obvious benefits and drawbacks, as we’ll discuss later, and it can be a really fun and exciting way to reach your audience. As you’d expect, it’s more customized than a normal raffle, and so won’t be appealing to everyone, but if you have the right audience, it can be a very engaging way of generating funds for your nonprofit.
So, how does it work? Well, there are a few common variants on the standard raffle theme. A typical wine pull raffle takes place after raffle tickets have been sold. Each sold ticket corresponds to a particular bottle of wine, and there can be as many bottles as you need.
Normally, the more bottles, the more money you can bring in. It’s important to calculate the value of the wines, particularly if you are buying them, and set the ticket price accordingly. You’ll need bottles with a huge degree of variety in price, usually weighted heavily against the most expensive. We’ll go into a few ways to get your hands on these later on.
A standard price is $20, but it can be cheaper or more expensive depending on several factors. You’ll consider all of these in your plan, which we will also go into shortly. Once a person buys a ticket, they find the corresponding bottle and this will be claimed as their prize.
Variations on this theme might include:
- Ticketless raffles – Bottles are wrapped to hide their value, perhaps in paper bags
- Donation-based tickets – Donations replace tickets, either a fixed amount that corresponds to a random bottle or bracketed donations that correspond to a wine of a certain price range
- Large, elaborate pulls – Displaying the wine as your organization’s logo, or having supporters do something fun like catch a floating raffle ticket with a net from a pool
So, there are countless ways to customize your wine pull and make it more interesting and appropriate to the theme of the evening. The main point is to be sure that the ticket price covers the cost of the wine but is significantly cheaper than the most expensive bottle. That way, your supporters will always be in with a chance of winning much more than they put in.
What makes this form of raffle so appealing is how it complements many types of events. A wine raffle can be a stand-alone event, or it can be a component of a much larger fundraiser. Typically, it fits where there will be adults, preferably eating and drinking, like a gala or fundraising dinner. This fundraiser offers a lot of the same benefits as a regular raffle, with a few extras.
Hosting a Wine Pull Fundraiser: Benefits
As you can probably tell, a wine pull isn’t going to garner interest from every demographic. It’s probably going to appeal more to adults than children, for example, and regardless, it’s only likely to go down well with adults who actually like wine. There are also contexts where it might be insensitive, such as raising funds for a rehab organization or survivors of domestic abuse.
Still, a wine pull has its place as an entertaining fundraiser, and there are numerous good reasons to host one. Here are a few:
- It’s a great after-party – If you’ve had a long day of events or talks and the drinks are already flowing, a raffle like this should match the mood very well.
- It promotes generosity – If you’ve got a room full of donors and supporters, there’s nothing that will make them more inclined to contribute than a little social lubricant.
- It’s variable – As we mentioned, you can alter it to suit your needs. You can even replace the wine with beer, or soda!
- It’s engaging – Any good raffle gets everyone involved but in the process of designing your wine pull raffle you’ll engage with your supporters from the start.
- It’s relatively unique – It’s not often you get the opportunity to attend, let alone host one of these events, so it’s immediately eye-catching.
- It can be hosted almost anywhere – Of course, they’ll be best suited for in-person meetings, but wine pulls can be online events in some situations. Otherwise, wherever there is a space for the wine, you can host this type of fundraiser.
So, you can leverage the popularity of a raffle with the appeal of social drinking. That’s a recipe for generosity, and that’s exactly what makes the bottle pull so powerful. Those are all the good reasons, now how about the limitations?
Things to Consider Before Hosting a Wine Pull Fundraiser
We’ve mentioned a couple of the obvious things already, but it’s worth going a little deeper into them, so here are a few reasons to hesitate before throwing a wine pull fundraiser.
Any event you put together is going to have its limitations. Anything to do with alcohol needs to consider the legal drinking age of the audience, and if anything is being poured at the venue, there will be licensing requirements to consider too. You might need to look into state regulations to make sure that you don’t need a license to run the event in the first place.
Florida nonprofits, for example, can apply for a temporary liquor license or “special sales” license to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in a specific venue for a specific event. This license typically lasts 3 days and costs $25. If the venue already has a license, you may still need a temporary convention permit. Regardless, this is an additional hoop to jump through and could discourage some.
Ultimately, this all means that there are certain circumstances where this type of raffle will be inappropriate and others where it should fit well but there will still need to be some preparation beforehand.
Consider too the location of your event. If you’re hosting the event in the middle of the countryside and supporters will have to be driving to attend it, you could either be incentivizing drunk driving or missing out on some ticket purchases due to those who are more responsible.
Finally, and this should be an obvious one, as fun as it can be, it’s not going to appeal to every demographic. While most adults can be catered to in most contexts by designing the event in a way that resonates with them, certain people just won’t be interested. Before you invest time, money, and effort into setting one up, make sure it’s what your supporters really want.
If it is, then it’s time to figure out how you’ll pull it off.
How to Host your Own Wine Pull: An Example
There are several steps to running any fundraising event, and this is no different. Before we get into the specific guide, there are some assumptions to make to know exactly how you’re going to go about it.
Let’s assume you’re running an event for 150 to 200 people. For this size, you’ll probably be looking for at least one hundred bottles. We can also assume that you’re going to be wrapping the bottles to hide their value and that each ticket will allow a donor to go up and select one bottle from the selection.
Now, we will assume that your attendees will have a budget of around $20 per ticket and you’ll be holding the event as an after-party at a local school to raise money for a sports center. Now you’re ready to get started.
Step 1. Plan your event
Before you put down any money or elbow grease, it’s important to get the planning in order. You have a few parameters to work with from the information above, but you’ll also need to plan which day of the week the fundraiser will be held, between which times, and how you’ll run your promotional content to draw people in so that you get the most out of the attendance.
Once you’ve got your venue, you’ll have to be informed of the state laws and licensing requirements, if there are any, that you’ll have to be compliant with. It’s important not to leave this until the last minute, so be sure to research your specific regulations before you get started.
Then, decide on your theme. If you’re fundraising for a sports center, perhaps you can arrange the bottles to cover a photo of the local sports team so that with each bottle removed, another member of the team is exposed. If you want to boost the fun element, you could number some basketballs or tennis balls to correspond to the bottles, and even have people throw them through a hoop to claim the bottles.
Once you’ve set up your plan, it’s time to begin promoting.
Step 2. Your media
Start promoting it as soon as possible and tailor your content to get as many people to notice your upcoming event as possible. Try to incorporate your brand consistently, and focus initially on getting the word out there without being too specific. As the days draw near, you’ll want to up the anticipation and shift the focus away from recruiting attention and towards engaging that which you’ve already gathered. At this point, it’s a good idea to run a countdown alongside your posts to drive anticipation.
Your media will run the duration of the campaign all the way up to the event and beyond, so it might be a good idea to have a single person or team responsible for this. Check out Rally Corp for some help. We provide mobile messaging services that you’ll be able to use to motivate and mobilize your followers for your wine pull, generating interest and allowing followers to use convenient texts and QR codes to get involved.
Step 3. Gather your supplies
You’ll know how many bottles you need (in this example, about 100), but you need to plan how much you’ll spend on them and how you’ll get your hands on some good deals. In general, the more bottles you’ve got, the more you can make, but of course, there’s a point of diminishing returns, and you don’t want to be left with any at the end of the night if you can avoid it. This is doubly true if you haven’t made the money back on the wine purchase!
The most important thing is to set your price ranges. For $20 a ticket, consider having one bottle at $80, 2 at $50, five at $25, and the rest at $20 and below. Of course, the more of these you can have donated, the better, so visit local bars, restaurants, and small businesses, and reach out to your supporters too, to ask for help. Wine merchants might give you a discount, especially if they can get some exposure from the event.
You’ll be wrapping your bottles, so you’ll need to get the supplies for this too. If you can find enough sports-related equipment to wrap them in, that’s something that could be fun, or if you want to print some branded paper, this could help with your brand awareness. Otherwise, brown paper works well too.
If you’re using the ball idea, you’ll need to get those too. If you’re going with plain old tickets, you can find books of those in stores or online. Other things you might need to put together are furniture, uniforms, or costumes if you’re using them, and get all of your posters and fliers updated and printed off so that visitors can leave with some of your branded content.
As the date draws near it’s time to prepare your space.
Step 3: Set up the space
Recruit a small team of volunteers to go in and start setting up. Decorate the place, present the wines, and wrap them well. Set up all your physical media for people to access as they come in, and put a table from where to sell the tickets. By now you’ll know what to do, and if your social media drive has done its job, your supporters will be as excited as you are to get started.
If you’re going to have a lot of other things going on at the same event, it’s a good idea to label the wines so that guests don’t have to carry them around all night. Wine pull tickets can be bought on entry and then exchanged for bottles on the way out.
Consider the through traffic you’ll have. It’s generally a good idea to put the wine display somewhere where people will naturally pass it, and to make it simple to take part. The more appealing your display, the more people you will attract, so consider both the position and the design. Once that’s all set up, you’re ready to receive your first visitors.
Step 4: Run the wine pull!
When people start coming in, you should be situated in a visible position so that everyone has to walk past as they head to the other attractions at the event. Wines may sell out quickly, or there may be some left over at the end. If this is the case, it’s possible to have a live auction to sell off the remaining bottles.
If, as in this example, this is an after-party with dinner, let guests choose to have their bottle of wine delivered to their table as they eat.
Step 4: Follow up
Once everything’s over and the place is cleared up, reach out to your followers to say thanks, and update them on the funds you managed to raise. It’s important to engage thoroughly with your supporters after an event to promote engagement and allow them to really feel your gratitude. This will significantly increase the chances of them coming back next time.
During this stage, go over with your teams what went well and what could have been done better. This will help you plan the next one to be even more engaging!
A wine pull is a deeply engaging complementary factor in a larger fundraiser, or can even be run as its own event. It has all the power of a raffle but in a more engaging and potentially stimulating environment. It goes particularly well with a dinner group or an after-party and can mobilize supporters from the preparatory stages all the way through to the follow-up.