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Revision as of 19:16, 3 April 2020 by JulieSwierczek (Talk | contribs) (added part about printing certificates to hand out codes)

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Raffle tool

Kyle Bannerjee has a raffle tool here:

Lessons Learned

If you have too much stuff to give away, let winners select more than one prize.

It's useful to break up the giveaways into groups of three. This takes about 5-7 minutes, and still leaves time for other announcements at the podium.

At least two people should handle the raffle so that one person can call the names and the other person can handle prize distribution. Also, someone needs to note the names of the winners so they can be removed from the next raffle.

Timing is critical. Giveaways immediately after lunch go faster because most attendees come back to the room for the next session. Slots after a poster session or between lightning talks and breakout sessions are much slower, as many people choose to take a break and not return to the room. It is therefore necessary to call lots of names before selecting someone present in the room. Giveaways on the final day are avoided since attendance is lower that day.

If you have software codes or coupon codes as prizes, it can be helpful to print them onto individual certificates that can be handed out to winners.

For fun, have a sound tech add a drum roll.

In 2020, several publishers gave an ebook license or discount code for all attendees. It might be better to request more of those kinds of rewards from publishers and do fewer individuals prizes.

Publishing and software companies

Be sure to include companies in a "Giveaway Sponsors" section on the conference sponsorship page.

The following companies have contributed prizes:

  • ALA Publishing
  • APress
  • Balsamiq
  • CRC press
  • Manning
  • Morgan & Claypool
  • No Starch Press
  • Oxygen XML
  • Pragmatic Programmers
  • Rosenfeld Media


A variation of the following was sent to each company:

I am writing on behalf of the code4lib {year} conference Book Giveaway Committee to request a contribution to give away at our annual conference. All conference attendees are included in the drawing for prizes.

code4lib ( is a community of programmers and technologists who largely work for and with libraries. At our annual conference, we like to do multiple drawings for free books and software licenses. We would be grateful to have a few {books or licenses} to giveaway at the conference, which will be in {location} on {date}. {In some cases, it is helpful to suggest titles: A range of our participants would be interested in titles such as x, y, and z.}

We will gladly include the {company} name in our acknowledgement of supporters for the giveaways; please let me know how you would like the name to be written.

If you have any questions or if you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.