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Sweepstake success

Our step by step guide to holding your own sweepstake

Sweepstake competitions are a simple, effective and fun way to raise money for Dementia UK.

We love a sweepstake fundraiser! They are easy to set up, usually require little planning, and present a fantastic opportunity to involve your friends, family and colleagues in supporting Dementia UK’s work. You can create a sweepstake for just about anything, from predicting a finish time for a sponsored run to guessing numbers and totals, and they can be easily adapted to focus on different hobbies and interests.

The thing we love most about sweepstakes is that they can be arranged from the comfort of your own home.

Step one: decide the competition

Are you planning to ask people to guess something? For example, the number of sweets in a jar? The name of a teddy bear?

Step two: consider the interests of your participants

Think about who your target audience is and how you can reach them. So a local crafting group might be more interested in guessing the number of beads in a jar than sweets! A dog-walking group could prefer to guess the name of a cuddly dog than a teddy bear.

If you want to keep things simple, keep your sweepstake private by only inviting friends and family to take part.

If you do want to open it to the public, keep in mind that there are rules around this, and you may need to obtain a licence as these events can be classed as a form of lottery. Please make sure you read the guidelines around this by searching ‘running a lottery quick guide’ on www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk. If you are unsure about any of the guidelines, please email fundraising@dementiauk.org.

Step three: attach a prize to your sweepstake

The winner could either get the item itself or a portion of the funds you raise.

Step four: work out the details

How many entries are you hoping for? Are the answers limited or open ended? This could be asking people to guess the teddy’s name from a list of provided options (limiting your number of entries) or asking participants to think of their own answer?

Step five: decide the price

Set a realistic price of each entry based on your anticipated number of entries. For example, if you are limiting your entries to 20, you could ask for a higher donation per entry than if the number of entries are limitless. Think carefully about how you will collect donations – you could set up a Just Giving page or ask people to send you their entry fee via PayPal, then pay in the final amount to Dementia UK after your sweepstake is done.

Step six: consider how you will make the sweepstake fair

Will you ask an independent adjudicator to count the sweets? Will you keep the ‘true’ name of the Teddy in a sealed envelope to be revealed at the end? What will you do if two people put forward the same answer?

Step seven: launch your sweepstake

Let everyone know about your sweepstake! Share it on social media, send messages to your friends and family, and post it on local groups and websites (if you have checked whether you need a license first). Make sure you let everyone know when the sweepstake will end so that they know how long they have to enter.

Step eight: pick and announce the winner

Once the sweepstake has ended, make sure you let everyone who took part know who won and how much they have helped raise to support families facing dementia. You could even create and share a video to reveal the winner!