Can we use Text Raffles in conjunction with physical raffle tickets?

Donr’s Text Raffles solution can be used in conjunction with physical raffle tickets, as long as certain conditions are met.

Yes, it is possible to use Donr’s Text Raffles solution to offer supporters a digital, cashless option, in addition to the traditional physical raffle ticket, as long as certain conditions are met.

The main thing you need to ensure is that supporters are made aware that there is a way to enter the raffle for free by text.

Regulations stipulate that any funds given to a charity via text must be donations, not payments. Donations are optional; payments are mandatory. What this means in practice is that a supporter cannot be refused goods/services/entry into an event (including a raffle) because they choose not to donate.

Donr’s Text Raffles solution helps charities navigate this regulation by allowing any supporter who enters the raffle via text the option to do so without donating. As the supporter can enter the raffle for free, any funds they choose to give to the charity at the same time qualify as an optional donation, not a payment. This means that regulations are complied with and that any donations that are made qualify for Gift Aid funding.

If your charity would like to supplement your use of Donr’s Text Raffles service with traditional physical raffle tickets, you should be careful to let supporters know that they will be expected to part with cash to receive a physical ticket but that entry into the raffle without payment is also possible, and that they can do this via text.

In the following example, a charity has set up a Donr Text Raffles campaign with the keyword GUITAR on the shortcode phone number 70215. When a supporter texts GUITAR to 70215, they will receive a bounce-back message telling them how to enter the raffle and donate at the same time, and, crucially, how to enter the raffle without making a donation. If the charity is also offering physical raffle tickets for cash, the following promotional wording would be suitable, to ensure supporters are made aware that they can also enter the raffle for free via text message:

Raffle tickets cost £1 or you can text GUITAR to 70215 to enter for free or pay with your mobile phone (standard message rates apply).

This wording lets the supporter know how much a physical raffle ticket will cost but also, crucially, gives them an option to enter the raffle for free, thereby making any 'payment' entirely optional – those 'payments' therefore become 'donations' and this ensures that the raffle is compliant with regulations.

After your charity has promoted its raffle correctly, you must be careful to ensure that all entrants have an equal chance to win i.e. all entrants, whether physical or digital, must be placed in the same draw and have an equal chance of being pulled out of the hat as the winner.

For instance, if 100 raffle entrants have entered via text, the Entrants Spreadsheet (downloadable from the Donr Dashboard) will have 100 entries filling rows 1-100. If a further 50 entrants have obtained physical tickets, they should be added to the Entrants Spreadsheet, filling rows 101-150. You should then use an online random number generator to select the winning spreadsheet row. This method ensures that all entrants – whether physical or digital – have been entered into the same draw and all have an equal chance of being selected as the winner.

Donr’s Text Raffles solution does not have the ability to collect entrants’ names. If a winner is selected who has entered via Text Raffles, they’ll need to be contacted via mobile phone (either via call or text message) to let them know they’ve won and to arrange prize delivery. This being the case, we’d suggest asking all supporters who enter the raffle with a physical ticket to provide their phone number, rather than their name, so that the winner is contacted via the same method, no matter how they’ve entered the raffle.

Other points to note:

  • The price of a physical ticket and the suggested donation amount for a digital raffle entry should be the same, regardless of whether the supporter is obtaining their raffle entry physically or digitally. The minimum suggested donation amount available on Donr's Text Raffles solution is £1.
  • Physical and digital raffle ticket 'sales' should open and close on the same date and at the same time. This ensures there can be no bias towards one method of obtaining tickets over another.
  • As there is a way to enter the raffle for free, you may choose to interpret any funds – physical or digital – given to your charity as a donation, rather than a payment, and you may therefore decide that all funds are eligible to have Gift Aid added to them. If you have any further queries about this, you should seek guidance from an appropriate legal professional.