The Best Way to Notify Winners
Notifying a winner may seem like one of the simplest components of a sweepstakes, contest or game. After all, it's the grand finale of this great promotion you've created and it means at least one person will be receiving something really awesome!
While winner notification goes right most of the time, there are a couple of things that can trip up the process – a winner who is not eligible, a winner with special personal or medical circumstances, a winner who (gasp) asks for more or declines the prize (yes, it happens).
Because of these hiccups, it's always best to hire a third party to handle winner verification and notification – once complete, the winner information is handed over to you to make the personal connection and maximize PR efforts.
- Telephone Notification: Telephone notifications work great when you have a prize that has to be awarded fast. Once the winner is pre-qualified over the phone (are they eligible based upon the Official Rules? can they attend on the date required? Do they accept the prize or decline?) they receive an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and Publicity Release (if applicable) and any other important documents, notices, releases, and tickets by email or overnight mail.
- Email Notification: Email notification is one of the most ideal ways to notify winners if the prize is not time sensitive. With email notification, you can track your efforts and provide an audit trail should an issue arise - any time you can track the trail of communication between yourself and the winner is best (trust us). Email notification is also a great solution when you have multiple winners and didn't collect shipping information and verify date of birth at point of entry (for example, if they entered via social media or by simply submitting their name and email address). We can email them a link to a data collection page and collect the information for you after the fact!
- Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability, and Publicity Release: As an industry standard, winners who are receiving a prize in excess of $600 should receive an "Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability and Publicity" Release. This release requires the winner to sign (in front of a notary) stating that they are in fact eligible in accordance with the Official Rules, they understand the publicity that may be involved as a result of their acceptance of the prize, and that they release the Sponsor and other promotion entities of any liability as a result of their acceptance of the prize. It also indicates the tax liability as a result of receiving a prize valued over $600. These affidavits are typically sent by email with deadlines for return clearly outlined.
- Misc. Since no two promotions are alike, there may be other requirements when notifying winners - such as additional parental consent for promotions involving kids, or the administration of a mathematical skills testing question for Canadian winners. We'll advise you of what needs to take place when we quote the project so there are no surprises!
Stay tuned for a follow up post, which will include the steps involved in the various methods of winner notification as well as a sample timeline. Follow us on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn to be notified when the post is up!