Prize-led Fundraising Benchmarking and Trends 2021

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Published by Laura Illsley

2020 charity raffle trends and 2021 top tips to make your raffle perform

Laura Illsley, Account Director, Woods Valldata

At Woods Valldata we have a wealth of knowledge and experience in prize-led fundraising. Laura Illsley, Account Director at Woods Valldata, has been working strategically with our client partners on all things raffle and weekly lottery for over 10 years. Here’s what she has to say about the trends for Christmas 2020 raffle campaigns and what she sees coming into 2021.

Charity approach to raffle during the pandemic

I think the first trend I’ve noticed in raffle is that charities have divided into two main groups as a result of the pandemic: those more cautious and those more adventurous.

It’s been quite a year for charity fundraising. COVID-19 hit part way through or towards the end of Spring raffle campaigns and charities went one of two ways. Some charities were apprehensive about running raffle during the first lockdown. Other charities carried on with Summer raffle campaigns and saw fantastic raffle performance. Raffle, like other cash campaigns (see our Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Giving Report for more information), saw brilliant response and gift over the summer months.

Coming into Christmas and all charities had their raffles back in action. Those more apprehensive charities have focused on banker packs. On the other side of the spectrum, charities, buoyed by the successful summer campaigns, have been exploring new creative, incentives, thanking and more. I’d like to pick up on some of the raffle trends I’ve been seeing here.

Testing

We’re seeing a lot of appetite for testing in raffle mainly around creative and incentive draws.

Creative: We’ve been working with charity partners to make packs even more visually exciting, really playing with the outer envelope window and the address area of the letter. We’ve included more personalisation, used labels in more interesting ways and changed up the pack formats to see which performs better.

Incentives: Incentives draws are increasingly popular and we’re seeing great raffle performance uplift from these tests. We look to match the incentive and accompanying message to the charity partner objective and data segment so that it’s much more targeted and relevant.

Test packs are outperforming the banker packs, highlighting the importance of making the raffle more relevant to the data segment whilst changing things up a bit for the supporter, adding interest, keeping the raffle fresh.

Acquisition

The past few years have been challenging for acquisition across all cash campaigns and raffle has been no different. I’m really excited about charities investing more in acquisition again just recently, and Christmas has been no exception.

Door Drops, Partially Addressed Mail and Cold data have all increased in popularity for raffle – and we’re seeing really positive results. Check out Royal Mail Market Reach Guides for more information on Door Drops and other useful stuff.

Digital media continues to grow in importance as an acquisition channel for raffle with Facebook paid media driving online traffic. This is a raffle trend which has really grown in popularity over the last year.

Top tips for 2021

Raffle is always a strong performer – even when things like Covid hit or we enter recession. But it still needs love and attention. New ideas and approaches keep it fresh and keep it performing. As I’m starting to work with our charity partners on their 2021 program planning, I’d like to share some of the things we’ll be discussing to continually improve their campaigns and increase raffle performance:

1. Retention

Nothing new here. Keeping players playing is one of the key criteria for a successful raffle. Our challenge for 2021 is to keep players engaged in an increasingly crowded ‘charity gaming’ market-place. It’s more competitive than ever out there. I’ll be looking at keeping creative fresh, incentives interesting and ramping up the personalisation.

2. Acquisition

With more budget being released for acquisition activity in raffle I’m looking forward to talking channel, ask, message and data strategy for acquisition and journey planning further to that – we need to make sure once we get people playing, we keep them.

3. Stewardship

Linked to both of the above, stewardship is high on the agenda. Thanking is getting increasingly sophisticated and we can do great things now on a simple thank you letter to help players feel valued and special. For more on stewardship you can check out some of our other blogs: Get to know your supporters’ personas and The key to effective supporter journeys.

4. Channel

With access and willingness to donate online increasing, now is the time to review the digital raffle strategy. With a raffle online there’s lots we can explore from text-to-play through to QR codes. Exciting stuff.

5. Testing

No matter how good the raffle is, there’s always room for improvement and always something else we can test: from ask strategy to pack creative.

I love working in raffle. My reward comes from seeing the results come in and knowing that the strategy I’ve recommended for my clients’ programmes is working!
There’s lots we can do based on current raffle trends and looking to new and innovative things in the future. I’m looking forward to driving our partners’ programmes into further raffle performance successes in 2021.

Find out more

If you’re looking for support on how you can build and develop your raffle programme, save costs or even set up a raffle we’d be happy to speak to you. You can read more about our Raffle service, look through a case study or simply drop us a line [email protected] for more information.

** Look out for our Prize-led Fundraising report and webinar focusing on weekly lottery and raffle trends. It’s happening in the New Year. Drop us an email now to register your interest **

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