How Not To Break The Law

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How Not To Break The Law

raffle-ticket.jpgDid you know that you can’t send out raffle tickets via USPS?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is strictly enforcing regulations on mailing raffle tickets. If you plan to mail raffle tickets for a fundraiser, you must meet certain requirements or USPS could legally refuse to accept your direct mail. While it is legal to include advertising for a raffle, including a raffle or lottery ticket in a mailing is strictly prohibited unless you follow USPS guidelines.


Raffles are considered lotteries if they incorporate three elements: prize, chance and consideration (fee to enter). Tickets for such raffles are considered unlawful mail matter and are nonmailable. However, when one or more of those three elements are eliminated from a raffle, it no longer constitutes a lottery for postal purposes. For instance, consideration can be eliminated if persons may enter without payment of a fee. Thus, a non profit organization that designs a ticket for a raffle where it is clear that a donation is not required to enter may use the mail to distribute the tickets.

To avoid potential problems USPS requires the ticket makes clear that no payment is required to enter a raffle. The following elements should appear on each ticket in a mailing:

  1. Use the wording “suggested donation” before the price of the ticket.
  2. Use the wording “no donation required to enter” or add a check box “Please enter my name in the drawing. I do not wish to make a donation at this time.”

An alternative is to not include a ticket in the mailing. It is legal to advertise a raffle by mail, but you should still use the phrase “suggested donation” if you list the price of a ticket on the advertisement.

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