A Penny for Your Prize

This past Thursday, I took a break from my normal volunteer duties at Suas to attend the American Women’s Club November meeting. This particular meeting would be a little different, as we were holding our annual Penny Raffle, and I was very much looking forward to it. So, instead of hopping on the LUAS to make my way down to City Centre, I dropped Matt off at work and went to the Bewley’s hotel, our normal meeting venue.

Some of the tables set up with their prizes.

The Penny Raffle is an annual activity instituted to raise money for the Club itself. Since all of our events are either for entertainment purposes or to raise money for our charity, we need to have some sort of event to fund all of the Club’s costs. My knowledge is that the Penny Raffle has been their source of income for many years now and it works like a well-oiled machine. The event is simple: all of the women donate a prize worth around 25 euros. Then, at our November meeting, the prizes are placed on tables in a large room with buckets in front of each. Upon arrival, the members purchase an envelope with raffle tickets: 5 euros buys 10 tickets; 10 euros buys 20 tickets; and 20 euros buys 50 tickets. You then make your way around the room, dropping tickets in the buckets of items that appeal to you. After the bidding process, each item is brought to the front, a ticket is drawn, and the subsequent holder is awarded the item. Basically, it doesn’t feel like you are just giving money to the Club, as there is a chance to walk away with a prize.

I bought 50 tickets, so a bit of strategy was involved as I made my bids. There were items, like a Coach wallet and a wall painting, that I desired a bit more, so I dropped more tickets in those buckets. There were also items that appealed to me, but didn’t have many bids, so I’d throw a few tickets in those too, hoping the lack of interest would increase my odds. During the entire process, I sipped coffee, munched on snacks, and chatted with some girlfriends as we walked around browsing.

Entertaining the masses! Although, I'm not sure what's going on with my face...

When it was time to hold the raffle, I didn’t just sit back and cross my fingers for a win. My friend, Carrie, and I were asked to emcee the event since we are easily the youngest members of the Club and our president was hoping we’d add a bit of humor and spirit to the raffle call. We made our way up to the microphone and proceeded to engage in energetic banter while presenting each prize and announcing the winner. We had quite the entertaining time doing this. Come on: for those of you who know me, you know that I can’t be given a microphone and placed on a stage without going wild!

In the end, I didn’t win the wallet or the painting, but I made sure to make a joke on the loudspeakers about the items being “stolen” from me by the winners. I did leave with an adorable recipe organizer, though. I’m going to need it, too, because I’ve become quite the cook. I’ve got to feed Matt now!

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