Creating a successful lottery for your organization

A fresh way to get more people involved in your mission, and more funding to grow your  impact. Raffles and lotteries are super attractive, but with regulations and logistics, they can seem challenging to set up. Here is a guide for you!

With so many great organizations in Canada looking to stand out, it’s important to create new ways to engage with your donors. This means using interactive and fun fundraising! Although charitable lotteries are nothing new, they are a great way to attract donors and increase revenue to grow your impact. That being said, creating a successful lottery for your organization  can seem daunting due to the various provincial regulations. Don’t let this dissuade you from taking this opportunity to grow your organization’s community!

Lotteries for organizations are different from ordinary fundraising tactics. They offer a reward to the person giving to your cause. 50-70% of ticket buyers are motivated by the prizes, not your organization’s mission (Charity Village). This creates an opportunity to attract participants who wouldn’t be inclined to donating normally. What’s great is that even if they first got involved because of the lottery, you can use this opportunity to increase your new supporters awareness of your cause.

To start your successful lottery, here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Choose the type of lottery
  • Create your tickets
  • Get legal approval

Choosing the type of lottery for your organization

When you host a lottery for your organization, you are raising money by selling numbered tickets, with which the winners will be drawn at random according to their number and given a prize. You can hold different types of lotteries. The most relevant for charities like your own are raffles, 50/50 draws and bingo. For raffles and 50/50 you sell individual tickets that are numbered. When the winners are drawn, in the case of a raffle they will receive a prize, in 50/50, they will receive 50% of the money that was raised. For a raffle, the total value of the prizes usually represent 30-40% of the amount predicted from ticket sales (Charity Intelligence).

As an organization, you can choose your fundraising strategy depending on the audience you are targeting. If people know your mission well, you may want to maximize the income you can make in order to further your mission, so choosing a raffle may be  best. If you want to reach people motivated mainly by the prize, hosting 50-50 might be better! For a bingo, you will need to sell bingo cards, which can be paper or electronic. Bingo is most often held as an event with participants attending and the draw completed in person, so if you are looking to have a game mostly online, this might not be the best option for you.

You must also set a date for your draw, well in advance so you have time to prepare. This is important because although lotteries are fun, they do take time to plan. The date should be set a minimum of 3 months in advance to allow for the preparation explained below.

Set up your lottery tickets

You need to create your tickets, which will have to include all the necessary information required by your provincial gaming regulatory body. There are requirements for the ticket and the stub that the buyer will keep. The information required on the ticket may include:

  • Date and time of draw
  • Location of draw
  • List of prizes
  • Individual prize value
  • Number of tickets
  • Ticket number
  • Price of the ticket
  • Date of deadline to claim prize
  • Location of prize pickup
  • Lottery license number

Be sure to add the sponsors for your event! This template is a great example of what your tickets should look like. This one was made using a ticket template on Canva, it’s quick, easy and free!

Lottery ticket for organizations

ticket 2 - lottery for your organization

Contact your regulatory body

After establishing your prizes and a date for your draw, you will need to contact your province’s gaming regulatory body to receive a license for your lottery. This must be done before announcing the game to the public, because you must meet multiple criteria to get a license. The rules, requirements and prize limits are different in each province. 

We’ve sorted through all of these regulations for you. Check out what you need to know by clicking on your province:

*If you would like to perform your raffle in a way that is not outlined by your regulatory body’s licenses, contact them directly to discuss your options.*

Reach out to sponsors

To have a successful lottery for your organization that interests people in buying tickets, you are going to need great sponsors and prizes! To get these prizes donated, you’ll need to reach out to current donors as well as companies that have shown interest in supporting your mission. Start with those in your community, who will have a closer tie to your organization. When you are reaching out, present the opportunity as a collaboration by emphasizing what’s in it for them. You are providing free advertising for the company, they just need to offer a prize! Their advantage is to develop a greater impact in their community and receive publicity, especially when you share how amazing the winners experience will be with their product. If you have a point of contact or are approaching a local business, make the request in person. If not, send a formal email. Many large companies have donation requests forms on their websites. They usually indicate how far in advance you should be making your request, but for most big companies, the earlier the better because they use up their yearly donation quota quickly.

Not all prizes have to be merchandise – they could include services, experiences or gift cards. It’s important to get creative and use your entire community when looking for prizes, because the more exciting they are, the more people will want to participate.

Set up how you will sell and distribute tickets

Now that you have your template, how do you plan on selling your tickets? These days, using both online and in person sales is a great way to get the word out. Setting up this type of ticketing is also easier than ever. Keep in mind that every ticket needs its own serial number, meaning if you want to have a lottery with a mix of online and paper ticketing, they need to be numbered in a sequence. Simplyk offers easy and free ticketing services, that allows you to customize the sale of your tickets. Using our platform, you can create a ticketing form, for online, separate printed tickets and mixed pricing. You can also integrate the buyer data you collect from your sales to any application you use.

Depending on the rules set out by your regulatory body, you may be permitted to sell your tickets solely online, both online and offline or in some cases, only offline. Simplyk can help you with all of these options! We can generate and send tickets to participants, or you can simply use the platform to make the transactions. It will all depend on the regulations in your province and the type of raffle you are running. You must ensure you conform to the rules set out by your regulatory body. If you are unsure, it is best to consult with your gaming commission on the best use of Simplyk.

Get ticket sales

Once you’ve set up the administrative part of your lottery, you have to find ticket buyers! This is where you can flex your fundraising skills. You are now providing entertainment and not just asking for donations, so selling tickets will be easier. Target groups within your community that you want to get more involved in your mission. They will be able to reach others and spread the excitement about your lottery. This means contacting local shops to sell your tickets in, engaging with youth groups or encouraging companies to share it their employees.

If you have hosted lotteries for your charity in the past, get people excited by sharing past winners’ stories! Post online about what they did with their prizes and how the money raised from the event was used towards achieving your organization’s mission. This part is just as fun as winning, because your community gets to share in the excitement of their impact!

The advantages of online ticketing

Online ticketing can be really interesting, because it allows you to save the participants’ contact information. When selling actual paper tickets, you might record participants’ information, but online ticketing allows you to organize and store their data. This is useful to reach out to participants for future events and campaigns.

Online ticketing also allows you to easily manage mixed price ticketing. That way, you can sell different types of tickets, with different prices. The variety in prizes will intrigue potential buyers!

Now that you have all the steps to follow, it’s time to start planning your lottery and make it a success!

Want to set up your raffle quickly? Check out examples of other charities using Simplyk and create your page for free.


Charitable Lottery Regulations in Quebec

Quebec has its own criteria when it comes to hosting a legal lottery as a non profit organization. At Simplyk, we strive to make your work simpler, so we’ve broken down Quebec’s regulations for you and explained some of the trickier parts. If you are looking to raise money through a lottery, raffle 50/50 draw or other game, you will need to follow the regulations imposed by the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux Québec (RACJ). Here are the important elements to consider for charitable lottery regulations in Quebec.

*We try to keep this information up to date, but we recommend you consult the RACJ guidelines when you begin organizing your lottery. Find the list of regulations and requirements on their website.

Request a License

You should request a license if:

  • You are offering your game to the public to make money
  • The game allows for a gain for those participating, whether it is a prize, other types of games or free participation to more games

Lottery License Fees

License fees depend on the type of lottery. These fees cover the cost for the rights and study of your lottery. You must pay them to the RACJ when applying for the license.


  • Request your license a minimum 30 days before the beginning of ticket sales.
  • The license will be valid for a maximum of one year, and only operational for the time requested.
  • Additional documents are required after your license is issued, within 30 days to 12 months, depending on the document


Your organization is eligible for a license if the lottery is aimed at:

  • Responding to or decreasing poverty
  • Promoting education
  • Realizing any other action that promotes the collective through arts, culture, sports and community
  • Using the profits for charitable or religious use.

Important aspects for charitable lottery regulations in Quebec

  • Exclude any price for an event or dinner from the price of the ticket for the draw
  • Only the holder of the license can officially publicize the lottery. This means that advertising for the event needs to be done by the organization.
  • Physical copies of the tickets are required by the RACJ, meaning the lottery cannot be completely online. However, you can sell your tickets online. Sell them easily using our free ticketing service at Simplyk. Setting it up takes only a few minutes!
  • You can only sell your tickets to residents of Quebec. Keep this in mind if you have donors from multiple provinces. You can state on the tickets or within the rules that only Quebec residents are eligible.
  • You must apply for a different license for each game you host.
  • Half and half draws are not allowed to be held electronically. Tickets for this type of raffle must be sold and distributed offline.

Completing the forms required by the RACJ

Complete the forms provided by the RACJ to apply for a license. You will also need to attach documents with general information about your organization: your mission, patents, budget and financial status.

You will need to identify one person from your organization as the individual responsible for the lottery. They will be the point of contact between your organization and the RACJ. Give permission to this individual to represent your organization.

You will also need to establish exactly what project the proceeds of the lottery will be going towards. Provide a description of the project and its budget and then complete the project within the year that the license is valid.

A guarantee of distribution of the prizes is also required. The RACJ offers different options for proving this, such as making a deposit to them or an independent financial actor. The most simple solution for your organization may be to write a guarantee letter, an example of which is provided by the RACJ, in the Annexe B of their license request document.

You will also need to provide an example of a ticket for your lottery. Use this template to create your own:

ticket - charitable lottery regulations in quebec

What to submit after receiving your license

Once you have received your license, there are several documents you must submit about the outcome of the lottery. Find the list on page 6 of the license request document. Each have a different deadline for submission. 

One document that you’ll need that you might not expect is the original printing certificate for your tickets. Although you may be selling your tickets entirely online, you are still required to print the tickets through a printing company. You must submit the certificate along with one ticket, labelled 000, within 30 days of receiving the license.

At Simplyk, we can help you host a lottery for your charity using our free ticketing service and many other features. Feel free to send us any questions you may have at !


Improving Your Donor Conversion Rate

Simple steps to turn visitors to your site into donors.

You work hard to show how important your nonprofit is to the community. You send newsletters, host events, publish on social media platforms and more. Eventually, when the word gets out, people want to support your cause and will visit your site’s donation page. At this point, you may think that you have done all you can to get people interested in donating, but you are not done yet! Only a small percentage of individuals visiting your site will actually donate. You’ll need to implement ways to convert these visitors into donors. This is where knowing how to use a donor conversion rate, and leveraging it, will help you. But first, what is a conversion rate?

Conversion Rate = Donations Received / Unique Visitors

This means that the higher your conversion rate, the more people visiting your donation page actually donate. When you want to improve your donations, you need to make sure you convert well before spending a lot of energy on getting them to your page.

Think about it, if you double your conversion rate, it means that every action you will take to raise donations will have twice as much impact. You can improve your conversion rate instantly by creating a form with Simplyk.

How do you measure your donor conversion rate?

To measure your organization’s rate, you’ll need to embed your donation form into your website. If you are using fundraising platforms like Simplyk, it’s simple to embed the form directly onto your website. Then, using Google Analytics, you can compare the number of unique visitors to your form to the number of donations received. You can even link your Simplyk form to your analytics tool. And just like that, you will have calculated your conversion rate!

What should your conversion rate be?

The industry conversion rate is 15%, and drops to 9% on cell phones.

If you are at 20% or more congrats! You are doing a great job. If you are at 10% or below, that’s also a good news! It means you can easily double your donation volume.

At Simplyk, we worked hard to get conversion rates to 23%. Here are the methods you can use to get to that.

Increase your conversion rate

To do so, you need to understand what’s creating friction between browsing and actual donations. What is stopping potential donors from clicking on that final donate button? There are so many small changes you can make to your donation page to turn that half completed form into actual revenue, so you can have greater social impact!  

Explain how the donations are being used

Users visiting your site know your mission, but are more inclined to donate if they really understand how their gift will be used. You will need to show the work you are doing to accomplish your goals. By making the impact of their contribution obvious, donors are more eager to give.  For example, your mission might be to eliminate hunger in your community, so tell your donors how they will help you get there! It could be that their $100 will provide 1000 meals to children.

donor conversion rate by explaining your cause
The For Good Foundation does a great job of this by adding images showing the impact of each donation amount.

Craft a straightforward flow

Sometimes, you miss out on donors because they just get lost. Too often, people arrive on a donation page, click on the donate button, and get sent right back to the home page ! Make sure that once someone is on your donation page, they don’t get distracted. Their experience must be as straightforward as possible. Your donation form should be visible immediately and ready to fill out, as shown  below.

rea- donor conversion rate

Minimize the number of clicks on your form

If your donors need to click through less options, they will spend less time on the form, which increases the likelihood that they will complete it. Another way of speeding up the process is by creating smart defaults for the responses. For example, if you know your donors are all from Canada, you can set the country response to that. The more responses you can set, the better! Here’s an example of what to avoid:

improving conversion rates by making simple forms

Make sure your form is cell phone friendly

Just like online shopping has increased on cell phones, so has making donations. You can check how many people are visiting your organization’s site on their mobile device by using Google Analytics. It is extremely important to make sure that your site and donation forms adjust to cell phones. For all 4000 organizations receiving donations through Simplyk, 40% of donors gave using their smartphone, as displayed in the chart below:

improving donor conversion rate - mobile donations

How Simplyk increases your conversion rate

We managed, at Simplyk, to dramatically increase our rate because we applied all the tips mentioned above. We have a reduced number of clicks; only 7 are required to complete a donation!

The mobile experience is also simplified because we accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. With the growing popularity of mobile wallets, having these payment methods is a must! Especially if you want to increase younger donors. Users under 35 make up 55% of e-payment methods and around 1.2 billion people use mobile wallets in 2020 (FinTech News). Adapting to the rise of  Google and Apple Pay is important, making it more likely for people to donate!

There is also a unique way that Simplyk provides added value. 100% of donations made using our platform go directly to your organization, no exceptions. Donors know that the entirety of their gift goes towards your mission, making them more willing to give. Our creative model offers the option to leave us a contribution at the end of the transaction. Donors like our model because they value the transparency of knowing where their donation is going. The proof is in our conversion rate, it’s 150% better than the industry average.

Simplyk’s conversion rate across all devices hovers around 25%

By combining all these tips to improve your donation page, your conversion rate is sure to increase, making you on your way to creating a bigger impact! 

Have questions about your conversion rate and how to improve it? Write to us at .


The Best Online Donation Platforms in Canada

As a nonprofit organization, it can be a challenge finding the online donation platforms in Canada that best suits your needs. All nonprofits are different, but you will always want to look at the pricing, the donor experience, and the possibilities as an admin. As almost half of all donations are made using smartphones, you will also want to keep an eye on the experience on cellphones.  To help navigate the different possibilities, here is a description of the best and most popular sites that can streamline donations to your organization, with an analysis for each criteria :

  • Pricing
  • Donor Experience on all Devices
  • Admin possibilities
  • Integrations to Database
best online donation platforms in Canada
Simplyk - best online donation platforms

1) Simplyk

Created in Montréal in 2016, Simplyk wants to empower all nonprofits to change the world, thanks to better technology. 4000 organizations across Canada use the platform.


Simplyk is the only donation platform in Canada that is entirely free to use. Donors enjoy knowing that when they donate to you, 100% of the donation really goes to your organization. They are funded thanks to a tip based business model, where each donor can add whatever amount they’d like to support the platform.

Donor Experience on all Devices

Simplyk strives to provide the best donor experience. The platform optimizes donor conversion, by having the lowest number of clicks out of all the platforms below. Simplyk’s interface is extremely mobile friendly, providing a seamless experience on smartphones and other devices. It is worth noting that Simplyk is one of the only platforms that accept Google Pay and Apple Pay, both of which are used by 500M people. This leads to a conversion rate of 130% better than the industry average. Learn how Simplyk can improve your conversion rate.

Admin possibilities

The administrative dashboard is simple to navigate, yet offers a lot of possibilities. Setting up donation forms, ticketing and peer-to-peer campaigns is super straightforward and requires very little time. You can also easily automate tax receipts, and manage all your donor data.

Integrations to Database

Simplyk has a Zapier app, which allows you to connect Simplyk to any popular tool you may use. You can choose to automatically transfer your data to platforms like Salesforce, MailChimp, Airtable, SQL, FileMaker and 1,000 more apps with Simplyk.

2) CanadaHelps

CanadaHelps is a donation platform looking to serve charities and donors. As a registered charity itself, CanadaHelps has facilitated over $1 billion in giving in over 19 years of operation. They host profiles of all registered Canadian charities, through which individuals can make donations.


CanadaHelps charges 4-5% per donation depending on the type of donation form. These include customizable donation forms, embedded donation buttons on organization’s websites, peer-peer fundraising and more.

Donor Experience on all Devices

Donating through this platform is rather easy and mobile friendly. However, the donation form requires a page change, more than 14 clicks and few pre-filled fields. It also does not support Apple Pay and Google pay. This may affect the time it takes for donors to fill out the forms.

Admin possibilities

CanadaHelps goal is to reduce the time nonprofits spend on administrating their donations. The administrative dashboard allows for easy set up of donation forms, ticketing and peer-to-peer fundraising. It provides reports that capture data from donors, donation amounts and number of donations. It also provides benchmark reports comparing data from past months and to other Canadian charities. The overall layout of the dashboard is clear but requires some time to understand when you are beginning.

Integrations to Database

CanadaHelps allows organization’s to import their data into popular customer relationship management technologies such as SalesForce and Raser’s Edge, but does not have its own management technology. Download complete reports of donations and donor information in CSV and then import them to other tools.

3) PayPal

PayPal is popular payment application that aims to simplify everyday online transactions. They are now providing donation options for charities through PayPal Donations and the PayPal Giving Fund.


Using PayPal Donations, Canadian charities are charged a rate of 1.6% per donation and $0.30 per transaction. All transaction fees are covered and 100% of donations are transferred to the charity recommended by the donor using the Paypal Giving Fund.

Donor Experience on all Devices

The interface is quick and easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices. However, in 2018, only 9% of donors preferred using PayPal, with most opting to use their credit card (Nonprofit Source).

Admin possibilities

PayPal donation offers very basic administration services. Creating a donation form and capturing donor information will require programming expertise from your organization. It is possible to track the small amount of data acquired through donations using PayPal donations, but not through the PayPal Giving Fund. If you are looking to analyze your data to increase donations, only PayPal donations allows for this. The Giving Fund is best suited for organizations receiving fewer donations or if they do not need to manage their donations to increase their income. PayPal donations does not offer automatic receipt generation .

Integrations to Database

Paypal does integrate to popular data management tools such as Salesforces. However, it provides small amounts of data which may not be beneficial for managing donors.

4) Je donne en ligne

This online platform works with Prodon to create customizable donation forms for charitable organizations.


It requires the purchase of Prodon, a software that manages donors, donations, volunteers and employees.

Donor Experience on all Devices

Je donne en ligne’s has one of the longest forms to fill out as a donor, which may be a disadvantage if you want a high conversion rate. The experience does not seem optimized for cellphone use either, with a large number of clicks and three pages of forms to complete. Their less modern interface may be also be an issue if you are interested in attracting younger donors.

Admin possibilities

Using Prodon, all donation information acquired through Je donne en ligne is integrated into the software which then manages the data. There is no need for an additional management tool when using this service.

Integration to Database

Although it offers a management software, Prodon does not integrate to external tools such as Slack, Mailchimp and other customer relationship management. This could be an issue if you need to use your donor data on platforms for events such as Eventbrite or Simplyk.

5) Yapla

Yapla’s software offers a transactionnal platform along with a task and customer management tool.


The platform presents bundled features varying in price point from $0 to $99 a month. There are added charges of 3.9% and $0.30 per donation.

Donor Experience on all Devices

After a recent rebranding of their platform, the interface is more visual and allows for quicker access to information. The donation process is quite mobile friendly, but is broken down into multiple pages which can increase the time required to complete it.

Admin possibilities

Yapla allows you to create customizable campaigns for different types of fundraising . The service is targeting organizations looking for a management platform as it offers features outside of donations, like communications and invoicing. It can be a good choice to do everything with one platform, but you may find important features missing in the fundraising part of the platform.

Integration to Database

Much like Prodon, Yapla does not integrate with other applications.