We've all been there before...you buy a ticket (or an armlength of tickets) for a 50/50 raffle then ask, "If I win, should I give the money back?"

It's exciting to win a 50/50.  How many times have you seen it happen?  A charity or a foundation decides to have a 50/50 fundraiser.  You know what that is.  They sell tickets and gather a pot of money.  Half of the money is supposed to go to the charity, the other half goes to the winner.  That's how the contest is supposed to go.  But then they pick a winner.  They come forward and announce that they would like to donate their half back to the charity.

It seems like the right thing to do, right? I'm here to say, stop doing this!

Hear me out...

It feels like you're helping, but really, you aren't.  Here's how you can really help, when you walk up to the stage (or wherever they announce the winner from) you show them your ticket, you smile and say thank you, then you walk back to your seat.  From there, you can either keep the money (Which is completely fine - that's your prize and your thank you for donating to the charity.  Don't feel bad about it!) or you can donate the money back to the charity at a different time.

When you donate the money back then and there it makes everyone else feel like they HAVE to give the money back if they win.  It discourages them from buying tickets in the future for that raffle and every other raffle that follows that one and that is trying to sell tickets.  Sure, it makes you look like the good guy, but in the long run, you could be hurting ticket sales, especially if they run multiple raffles in one night.

I know...there are some people that just enjoy winning.  It feels good to "win something."  But there are a ton of people who play because they can help the charity that way AND win a little cash.   Those people won't play if they don't think they can keep it.

It's a 50/50.  The charity gets half.  That's your contribution.  You've already donated.  You should never feel like you HAVE to give it back.  That's your prize.  It's ok to keep it.  Do you offer to leave a basket when you win a basket raffle?  Do you leave the wheelbarrow full of alcohol when you win that?  Do you feel bad about taking meat when you win at a meat raffle?  Nope...that's your prize.

Again, I'm not saying that you shouldn't donate the money back.  If that's what you want to do, go for it.  That is an incredibly generous gesture.  All I'm saying is if you want to be a real hero, donate the money back after you're out of the spotlight.  But if you want people to keep buying tickets, they have to believe they can win.

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