Want to run a DIY Sweepstakes? Read this first.
So, you have a sweepstakes idea. And, you have a good idea of how you want to run it, so why not forgo hiring a Sweepstakes Administrator and DIY it?
Although a DIY Sweepstakes might appeal to some, it’s definitely not for all (meaning, if you’re running a sweepstakes sans an administrators help, you’ll want to be up to snuff on the law).
Here are 5 reasons to forgo the DIY and have a Sweepstakes Administrator on your side:
If you know the basics of running a sweepstakes, you know that you cannot require a purchase as the sole method of entry and if you do have a purchase involved, you have to also offer a free method of entry. But, it’s not always that simple.
If you have a free method of entry, you have to comply with certain laws when it comes to those entrants who choose to enter by making a purchase. For example, you cannot merely ask entrants to pay a “fee” to enter and not offer something of value in return.
The structure of the promotion may not always be as straight forward as you think. It’s always best to run your ideas by a trusted source to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered.
Speaking of having your bases covered. Over the years we’ve encountered clients who ran a DIY Sweepstakes and found themselves in hot water because they copied and pasted someone else's rules and changed out the basics. They appeared “official”, so why the issue?
Well, if you don’t know where the rules originated from, you can’t ensure the language within them meet the requirements of your particular promotion. You also can’t ensure that the language being used is consistent or compliant with current promotional law.
Of course, we recommend a new set of official rules each time you run a promotion to ensure the utmost compliance. But, if you’re determined to DIY, have a template drawn up by an administrator first.
You’re going to be advertising your DIY sweepstakes, right? I sure hope so! Legal disclaimers are a must and certain forms of advertising require extra legal language (like direct mailings). There are font size requirements, requirements for where the disclaimers reside...and, well it’s not always easy to find the information you need to be compliant in google searches.
Did you know there are laws surrounding certain types of prizes? Alcohol is a biggy (you can never award it...no, not ever). And, you can’t award prizes that require the winner to pay an absorbent amount of their own money to use it (sorry, offering a hotel stay in another country without airfare and other spending money is a huge no-no). See where we’re going with this one?
If you have a good accountant, they can advise you on the various tax laws surrounding sweepstakes prizes and the thresholds for issuing 1099’s to winner. But, if you are a small business and handing your accounting on your own, you may need some official help here when it comes to awarding prizes and notifying the IRS.
STILL WANT TO RUN A DIY SWEEPSTAKES?
You may! And, that’s okay. However, we’ve posed quite a few compelling reasons to hire a savvy sidekick to ensure you are in compliance – after all, the end goal is a successful sweepstakes (sans any unforseen hiccups) right? We’re here to help!