3 Lessons You can Learn from My Failed Quilt Raffle

I held the fish bowl up so my pastor wouldn’t see the winning ticket he was about to draw. The truth is, he had to reach to the bottom of the bowl for the tickets because there were so few. How embarrassing! I felt like a failure.

Back in September, a kind lady in our church came up to me after we announced that a team from our church was going to Asia to work with university students. She offered to donate a quilt as a fund raiser. Last year, she donated a beautiful blue Christmas quilt for another project. It had a picture of the nativity and a brilliant star in the corner. So I was thrilled at her offer. When she asked what kind of quilt I wanted, I said, “A Christmas quilt.”

“A Christmas quilt?” she asked.

“Yes. A Christmas quilt,” I confirmed. I thought her question odd, but didn’t think much about it until she produced a red and green Santa Claus quilt a month later. I assumed she knew I wanted a quilt like the blue one she donated last year. Though I was a little disappointed, I thanked her for the quilt and took it home.

I put some pictures on Facebook,created a Facebook event, and in the month before the drawing, I displayed the quilt every Sunday morning to entice people to buy tickets. Yet, last Sunday, we only had about 75 tickets to choose from for the drawing. What painful lessons did the Santa quilt teach me?

1. Wing-it presentations get wing-it results.

When we started to sell tickets, I wasn’t prepared to conduct a raffle. I relied on Facebook and pulpit announcements to market the raffle. Had I spend just half an hour in preparation, I would have created clear goals and a marketing strategy to achieve those goals and raise more money. As Eric Lofholm says, “When you wing it, you get wing it results!” Lesson to learn: Take time to clarify your goals and map out a strategy to achieve them.

2. If you don’t promote, you won’t sell.

Getting back to the marketing strategy, I relied on one or two avenues of publicity to reach my target market.  Had I distributed flyers and called businesses, I could have reached more people than just the ones in the church congregation. Lesson to learn: Promote, promote promote!

3. Know your target market.

Many people in our conservative congregation have trouble with Santa, and therefore would not buy tickets to win the quilt. This was shared with me after the raffle was over. I needed to know what people would buy. Lesson to learn: Find out what your target market wants, and give it to them.

What other lessons can you think of? Have you tried something and failed? What lessons did you learn?

Comment in the space below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.