House raffle may end - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

House raffle may end

DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- A local non profit group may junk it's popular, well known raffle, in which the grand prize winner, gets a brand new house.

State officials forced Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County to stop a successful marketing technique this year.

Organization officials said for years, previous raffle ticket purchasers had been sent tickets in the mail to for an upcoming raffle, with an invitation to buy again.

But state officials told the non-profit's leadership,  it's a violation of federal law to mail raffle tickets, and the marketing practice had to stop.

Big Brothers Big Sisters executive director Dora Zuniga said her organization's raffle ticket sales were off by as much as $100,000 this year because of the state's enforcement.

Zuniga said the cost of doing solicitations exclusively face-to-face may be prohibitive for the non-profit group.

"We raise as much money as possible so we can match a number of kids out in the community who need a mentor in their lives,"  Zuniga told 27 News.   "And nobody's out to make money, we're out to make a difference in children's lives.   And so we have to reevaluate, 'Is this the most efficient method, if we cannot sell tickets to past purchasers?' "   Zuniga said past raffle ticket buyers can be out of state, and the combination solicitation-ticket mailing is the least expensive direct mail marketing method.

The non profit's executive board meets next month to decide on whether "Incredible House Raffle" will continue in the future.

If it does not, Zuniga said new revenue streams will have to be tapped, to support Big Brothers Big Sisters $1 million annual budget.

Big Brothers Big Sisters officials said one-thousand children are provided mentoring through the organization's work.

A state department of administration official has yet to respond to our questions on whether a complaint led to this year's enforcement, or whether it was the result of a regularly scheduled audit, and why the group's marketing technique was not flagged by state regulators in past years.

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