How to Win Sweepstakes and Contests

Entering sweepstakes and contests can be a very exciting and rewarding hobby. This article will show you how you can “beat the odds” and win frequently. Anyone can with the right knowledge.

What Are Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes are random drawings for prizes sponsored by various organizations to draw attention to their product or service. When an organization offers a sweepstakes it must adhere to many state and federal laws. One of the most important laws for you to understand is that no purchase is required to enter a sweepstakes. Many people believe that you won’t win unless you buy the sponsors product, this is not true. Many winners of sweepstakes do not purchase the sponsors product. The sponsor is hoping you will become aware of and try their product by offering a sweepstakes to draw your attention to the product. Most larger sweepstakes are handled by an outside judging agency. This helps the promoter insure that everything will be handled properly and legally.

Skill Contests

Do not confuse sweepstakes with contests. Contests winners are judged to win by their skill. When an organization offers a contest, it often will require a proof of purchase. This is legal because a contest is not a random drawing, winners are chosen by judges for their skill. Some of the more common contests are for recipes, writing, or drawing. Winning contests can be easy if you are skilled in the area required. There are usually far fewer entries in a contest than a sweepstakes.

Game Sweepstakes And Lotteries

Game sweepstakes are different from other sweepstakes because they have predetermined odds. There are only so many game pieces printed or game plays available, so the odds can be calculated. The odds are displayed in the rules. There are many types of game sweepstakes. Some of the more common ones are instant win games, match and win games, and collect to win games. Instant win games are the easiest to play, usually you scratch off the game piece with a coin and see if you are a winner. In match to win games you usually must bring the game piece to a display (if you can find one) to determine if you are a winner.

Collect and win games require that you save game pieces and try to complete a phrase or complete a picture, etc. These usually have one rare piece, necessary to win. In most games the odds are very remote of winning a major prize. Occasionally you will find a game that has quite reasonable odds, and it is worth the effort to send for additional game pieces. I have found this to be rare though. The best part about game sweepstakes is the second chance drawing that many of them offer to win prizes that go unclaimed in the game portion of the sweepstakes. Online games are very popular. usually the entry time is predetermined, so that when you enter a game online the prizes are predetermined to be awarded at various time throughout the promotion period. Some of the most winnable online games are ones that require a unique code to enter.

Unique codes are usually available on the sponsors products, or by mailing for a game code (no purchase can be required). Lotteries are not really a good investment. Winning depends only on luck. unlike sweepstakes you must pay for a lottery ticket. The value of the prizes offered must be less than the amount taken in for all the lottery tickets sold. For this reason on the average if you kept buying lottery tickets until you won, you would spend more than you would win. Sweepstakes prizes on the other hand, are paid for by the promoter and an entry is the cost of a stamp. Many sweepstakes entries have a far greater value than the postage they cost. When this is the case, you can win a far greater amount than you spend entering the sweepstakes.

Finding Sweepstakes To Enter

Sweepstakes are everywhere. they are often advertised on the TV, in the newspaper, on the radio, in magazines and in stores. A simple online search for sweepstakes will bring up hundreds of current sweepstakes also. When your shopping, look for “take one” forms offering sweepstakes and make sure to enter local contests when shopping. The inserts in the Sunday newspaper are also a good source of sweepstakes.

Reading The Rules

It is important to read the rules. Do not enter a sweepstakes without first reading the rules. This is important for online sweepstakes and mail-in sweepstakes. Most mail-in entries will consist of a 3X5 card or a 3×5 piece of paper with your name and address on it. Some sweepstakes will require a “qualifier” to be sent with your entry. A qualifier is usually a phrase or the name of the sponsors product on a 3X5 card or paper.

Many sweepstakes allow you to enter as often as you like, but on many others, only one entry is allowed. Every sweepstakes is different so you must follow the rules. Why go to the work of preparing several entries in a particular sweepstakes, only to have them disqualified because you did not prepare the entries correctly? Always hand print your mail-in entries, any mechanically produced entries will be disqualified.

Entering Sweepstakes

You will usually enter online sweepstakes on the promoters website. If you are entering online sweepstakes regularly, it will be a big time-saver to use the autofill feature on your browser. There are many ways to find online sweepstakes. You may do your own searching on a search engine, but websites that list links to sweepstakes will be a great time saver. Before entering mail-in sweepstakes, you should go down to the local office supply store and purchase these items: plain 3×5 cards, plain 3×5 paper, #10 or smaller envelopes, pens and possibly a clipboard. Work on one job at a time. Filling out 3×5’s at one time and addressing envelopes at another. This way you will be more productive than if you assembled one entry at a time. You may want to put your name and address on 3×5’s and stockpile them for future entries. We recommend a good newsletter to find mail-in sweepstakes.

Improving your odds

Entering as many sweepstakes as you can find that appeal to you is one good way to start winning, but being selective can help you win without as much time and effort. Being selective of what you enter is one of the best ways to win often. Obviously, a sweepstakes that offers thousands of valuable prizes is a better sweepstakes than one that offers only one large prize. Entering several sweeps many times is also better than entering many different sweepstakes one time each. Think of the difference of entering a sweepstakes with one prize once as opposed to entering a sweepstakes with thousands of prizes 50 times. The latter example would have thousands of times better of a chance to win than the first example. What you want to do is win, and you can win by getting the odds in your favor. Below are some examples of good and bad sweepstakes, I will explain each of these below.

Good sweeps:

Many valuable prizes

2nd chance sweepstakes

Local sweepstakes

Sweepstakes that are difficult to enter

Hard to find sweepstakes

Sweeps that have a very short entry deadline

Sweeps that are for a targeted audience

Games requiring a unique code

Bad Sweeps:

One or a few prizes

Multiple ways of entering (coupon or rebate form)

Only one entry allowed

Heavily advertised sweeps

Sweeps with a very long duration

Here is a brief discussion of the aspects of a good sweeps, enter these!

Many valuable prizes – This one is obvious. The more prizes available, the better your odds of winning one will be.

2nd chance drawings – Believe it or not! Most prizes in collect and win or match type games go unclaimed. Even in instant win type games a good percentage of prizes go unclaimed. Many of these games offer a second chance drawing for all prizes not claimed in the game portion of the sweepstakes. This is great for us since most people don’t bother to enter the second chance drawing for unclaimed prizes. Your odds of winning some second chance drawings can be fantastic!

Local sweepstakes – Because they are local there are far fewer entries than in a nationally advertised sweepstakes. Some local sweepstakes offer very nice prizes.

Sweepstakes that are difficult to enter – These include a number of different types of sweepstakes, such as: Sweeps that have long qualifiers. Sweeps that require you to send a self addressed stamped envelope to receive each entry or entry code. Sweeps that require you to answer a difficult question or fill out a survey. Many types of sweepstakes could fit into this category.

Hard to find sweeps – These are sweepstakes that are not heavily advertised and are not found in the typically high circulation magazines and newspapers.

Sweeps that have a very short entry deadline – These sweeps you must enter fast. There is not time for many people to enter them especially with multiple entries.

Sweeps that are to a targeted audience – These are sweepstakes that are open to certain people. For example, a sweepstakes might be restricted to a certain age group.

Games requiring a unique code – These online sweepstakes are limited in entries to people who have either purchased the sponsors product or send for a code by mail.

Now you will see what kind of sweepstakes to spend less time on:

One or few prizes – Chances are slim of winning with only one prize offered, especially with only one entry.

Multiple ways of entering – You see a lot of these lately. The ones you can enter online or via a coupon or a rebate form. These sweeps should have more than an average amount of entries, lowering your chances of winning.

Only one entry allowed – It is more difficult to win a sweeps with one entry. Multiple entries is your best way of getting the odds of winning in your favor, if allowed.

Heavily advertised sweeps – You know the ones! They are everywhere, on TV on the radio, in the newspaper. These sweeps will draw huge amounts of entries.

Sweeps with a very long duration – These sweepstakes give the promoter a lot of time to advertise the sweeps and also allows the entrants a lot of time to enter and enter again and again.

Now you’re starting to get an idea of what to look for. Once you find a desirable sweepstakes to enter, remember to enter often.

Enter Often

Entering often, is the key to winning. The more entries you send in, the better chance you have of winning. The number of times you enter a sweepstakes depends on your budget for mail-in sweepstakes and if allowed for online sweeps. Keep in mind that you’re not going to win in every sweeps you enter but if you follow these guidelines you will win and win frequently.

When You Win

First off a warning! If you receive a notice or phone call stating you won a sweepstakes, and they ask for a fee to claim your prize, or require a purchase, THIS IS A SCAM! NEVER SEND MONEY TO CLAIM A PRIZE! It is very exciting when you win your first sweepstakes prize. Usually you will be required to fill out an affidavit and have it notarized and send it back to the judging agency. When you win a smaller prize you may just receive the prize in the mail. Most winners will be notified within a month or two of the end of the sweepstakes but occasionally it will take longer. Trust the judging agency, if you’re a winner they will notify you. Some people will send for the winners list to see if they are on it, if you’re on it you will already know, so don’t bother.