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Lottery Lunacy

The W.T. Clarke Athletic Parents & Booster Club holds an annual night of games, fun, and food that has not only become a staple in the community, but the main fundraiser, this year bringing in $7,00.

By Wally Kakareko
Co-President, W.T. Clark Athletic Parents & Booster Club
W.T. Clarke High School
Westbury, New York

We've held a fundraiser for the past four years called Lottery Lunacy. It's a reverse number drawing. We post the numbers, say 1 to 300, on a board, and then we pick the numbers in reverse order. So if your number is drawn, you get taken off the board until there is one number left, who is the winner and receives $1,000. In between, every 25 tickets or so, we do something fun, like trivia or a question for a prize.

We call it an indoor tailgate party. You sit at a table and bring whatever you want to eat and drink: whether it's champagne and caviar or Buffalo wings and a bottle of wine. It's BYOB.

We sell tickets at $20 for two people. Most people reserve a table of 10 for $200. Or you can sit wherever you want to meet people and make new friends.

We set up the hall at around 5 p.m., putting the tables up, etc., then we start pulling the numbers around 7:30 p.m. I handle the MC duties and keep things fun and loose. It also keeps costs down so we don't have to hire anyone.

Every 15 minutes we try to break things up with a trivia question. We pass out a sheet with 10 questions on it and whoever gets the most right without Googling on their cell phones wins a prize.

We also spice things up a bit by asking if people have certain items in their possession at the time. For example, we might ask who has the most toothbrushes or the most credit cards. We once had a woman who had 47 credit cards. The winners get $25.

We also do a 50/50 raffle by using playing cards. I have four decks of cards with blue backs and red backs. We charge $5 a card. I rip the cards in half, with half going to the person and the other half in a bag. Then I pick the cards in reverse. I will tease the audience and say, "OK, who has a red back? Everybody with a red back stand up." Then when they stand up I tell them to sit down because they're out.

We continue until the last card is drawn. Then I might say, "OK, who has the 8 of spades?" Then one person will get up screaming thinking they've won. But they forget there are four decks of cards. It's a lot of fun.

This is our main fundraising event each year. The first year we only had about 110 people but we've gotten it to a high as 465 people. We advertise the event via the school website, Facebook, and word of mouth.

We go around to local businesses and solicit donations and prizes. We have a local deli that donates a six-foot hero. We also receive gift certificates to local restaurants, sports tickets, and gift baskets (e.g., basket of cheer or a day at the spa) from various businesses in town. Our local businesses have been very benevolent over the past few years.

This year's fundraiser was held April 30 at the Levittown Hall in Levittown, N.Y., which is near us. We rent the hall for five hours for $150. At the end of the night we tip some of the workers for helping us clean up. This year we made $7,000.

The planning for this event is about a month to six weeks in advance. It's a pretty easy fundraiser to do if you have four to six reliable people to help make it work. is brought to you by a recognized and established name in the school athletics arena, MomentumMedia—publisher of Athletic Management, Coaching Management and Training & Conditioning magazines.