Raffle tickets

The subject of this post is a very prevalent thing in my own country, the UK: I don’t know whether it’s equally common, or less so, in other parts of the world.

A wide variety of “interest groups” – in the senses both of “topic or avocation that interests one”, and “group campaigning for something” – have a practice of sending out to those who pay a subscription to belong to an “outfit” which supports whatever-it-is, and wishes to be kept in touch with its doings – booklets of raffle tickets. The idea is, that the recipient should try to sell to people with whom they’re acquainted, said tickets: to be sold at a fixed, modest price, most commonly one British pound per ticket – with several quite valuable prizes (sometimes money, sometimes in other forms) to go to the few lucky winners. The rest of the takings go, of course, into the group’s coffers to further its work.

I belong to an assortment of groups as above, which all seem to do this thing of sending me raffle-ticket booklets to sell. This is something which I find embarrassing and unwelcome. I dislike the whole idea and prospect of pestering relatives / friends / associates for money, in exchange for raffle tickets in support of something in which they probably have minimal, or no, interest. I feel that it potentially makes me an annoying pest to such people – with connotations of putting them on the spot, whereby if they say “no”, they are liable to feel embarrassedly, like cheapskates; and if they say “yes”, they are liable to quietly resent experiencing mild blackmail at my hands. When I get this stuff from these outfits: usually I either buy a very few tickets (considerably less than the total number sent to me) in my own name; or I just throw the ticket booklets away, “end-of”.

Would be interested to hear from others – if there are any here – who encounter this business in any capacity: how they feel about the matter, and how they deal with it. I feel that I must be far from the only outfit-member who finds the whole carry-on awkward, embarrassing, and unwelcome – and so, essentially, doesn’t take part in it. Common sense would suggest that there must be many people who are happy to tout around to those with whom they’re acquainted, trying to sell raffle tickets to them; and many of the targeted people must – however willingly or less willingly – buy the things: if this whole routine didn’t raise a lot of money, the organisations concerned would not engage in it. It all just seems to me to have such a potential for awkwardness and negative feelings, both for “perpetrators” and for “victims”. To a great extent, people are averse to being hassled to disgorge money, even with the minuscule chance of turning out to be a lucky winner. People who actually want to gamble, will go out and find their preferred mode of gambling; that’s an active, not a passive, thing.

Views on the issue, from people who have been on either end, would be welcome.

I don’t know about anywhere else, but that is illegal in my state and could be considered racketeering. But the way you describe it it’s more like parents selling stuff for their kids for fundraisers. Always annoying.

Exactly what I would do.

Actually, I haven’t seen anyone come to my door selling raffle tickets in years, and the few times I do remember seeing them, it was kids selling them for the school sports team they were on. I even had to sell raffle tickets myself once, when I was 10 years old; the only problem was, there were dozens of other kids trying to sell tickets to the same people.

Nowadays, instead of raffle tickets, people either (a) call you on the phone asking for an outright donation, or (b) sell things like coupon books / wrapping paper / boxes of cookie dough / tins of popcorn.

I haven’t seen anyone selling raffle tickets in a couple of decades. (i.e., no actual people on actual streets or going door-to-door.) I do buy a few raffle tickets a year though, by visiting organisations that are raffling off airplanes.

Our local rec baseball league used to something similar, not sure if they still do. One would pay $X to sign up your child(ren). That fee included “Y” number of raffle tickets that one could sell and pocket the money - a kind of rebate, I suppose. I always hated it and, after letting the kids hit up their grandparents and maybe a few neighbors, would fill out the remaining tickets with my name. Never won a blasted thing.

Thanks for all thoughts. The raffle-tickets-for-all-manner-of-organisations caper still goes on at full blast in the UK, as it has done for all my life; but (taking it that all responders are in the US) – it would seem to be a thing which, nowadays anyway, is uncommon in the US.

I was initially a bit surprised to read this – but it could be that raffle-ticket doings are something which we’re so very accustomed to over here: it would seem that the worst construction anyone in the UK would put on this thing, is “innocent but annoying”. Not intending to “rubbish” the US; but it does strike me that American local laws and ordinances can, in various ways, be rather extreme.

I had a conversation with my mother about this recently - she often gets books of raffle tickets accompanied by sheets of address labels from various chariites that she donates to. She said she was considering stopping her direct debit contributions because she felt so much money was being wasted on these things. She didn’t ask for address labels and has no use for them so I have to take them home and put them through my shredder.

As for the raffle tickets, she said she would feel awkward trying to sell them amongst her friends and fellow residents (she lives in sheltered housing so there are plenty of people around who might buy them), and she would then be stuck with the faff of dealing with the money raised. She also then feels guilty that she’s not doing something with them and just binning them. I told her should could always send them back to the charity and request that they don’t send any more, but she didn’t think that would be successful.

My feeling is that I’m giving them money every month at a level I can afford. I’m doing that because I don’t have time or inclination to stand in the street with a collecting bucket or to try to sell raffle tickets anywhere. It’s not a problem, it’s just an annoyance.

I donate to charities by standing orders and the like, and occasional supplements when there’s a special crisis on. Most of them will do a quarterly mailing, often with some sort of news about what they’re doing and including a further standard begging letter; some will do a raffle every now and again, but all of this stuff I just tear up and put in the recycling. No-one’s under any obligation to do anything with the raffle tickets, but if you want to donate some more, either do that or buy all the raffle tickets yourself. No-one’s going to come chasing you for them, it’s just another way of suggesting some sort of moral obligation that they hope will be self-reinforcing in enough people.

Is this any different from charities who sell off opportunities to take part in marathons and the like, for a minimum donation, and invite you to raise that and more in “sponsorship” for friends and family?

I suppose, in general, the raffle-tickets thing is just a fairly minor annoyance. scareyfaerie, your mother’s unwillingness to try to sell them among her friends and fellow residents (the “faff of dealing with the money raised” being, I feel, a separate issue), chimes in with my sentiments – per my experience, people don’t like being pestered in this way. Per you and PatrickLondon – indeed, nobody is under any obligation to do anything with the raffle tickets. It just surprises me a bit, that seemingly many people are happy to be, raffle-ticket-wise, both “perpetrators” and “victims” – while there are so many of us, who find the whole thing embarrassing. It must be that as above, “many people are happy to…” – otherwise, this ploy would not make any significant money for the raffle-ticket-issuers, and they’d drop it.

Perhaps I’m over-thinking this whole thing: and it’s just that “humans are very different and diverse and various”. PatrickLondon’s “if you want to donate some more, either do that or buy all the raffle tickets yourself” – I’ve found an entertaining variant on that, for times when feeling relatively affluent: buy half the book of tickets for oneself; buy the other half, but write on the stubs, “nonsense” supposed purchasers – either historical personages long dead, or characters from fiction. That makes a donation to the cause; and perhaps (“fringe” hope?) sends a bit of a message to the ticket-issuers, that this is a scene about which many of their supporters feel awkward.

I belong to the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – have recently received from them (causing opening of this thread) a booklet of twelve raffle tickets, for me to sell at one UK pound apiece. Have been having some fun writing on the stubs of the six which I’ll “donate” (if I participate at all), daft imaginary purchasers and details thereof – such as St. Francis of Assisi, the bird-mad wizard Radagast from LOTR, and Martha the last passenger pigeon, deceased 1914.

There are only a handful of state where raffles are illegal, but they are highly regulated in most of the others. Often only non-profit groups are allowed to have a raffle and they are subject to the rules put forth by the state. Most states see raffles as non-State sponsored gambling, which is illegal in all but a few. The State has to get their cut, ya know. There is also the potential for fraud where prizes don’t get awarded, money gets pocketed, etc. I’ll bet the UK has regulations around the raffles, even if they just mandate the charity maintain good records and verify prize awards.

Again, not meaning to “Yank-bash”; but the area of gambling in general, is one of those where the US strikes Britons as definitely puritanical – sometimes bordering on the repressive – in contrast to the more relaxed view taken in the UK. Agreed: there is, as you say, the potential for abuse of raffles – money going into pockets where it shouldn’t; and presumably there are indeed rules and regulations applied to such things, over here – but that is a contingency, which I have the impression tends just not to occur to most Brits !

There was an urban legend at my previous place of work that one of the factory workers used to raffle his paycheck off every payday, making more from the raffle than the value of his paycheck.