A New Way to Fundraise: Selling Online Raffle Tickets

Guest Blog by Cassie Bohannon from Interstate Merchant Services

My company, Interstate Merchant Services, is a family owned business that was started over 25 years ago by my dad, Jerry Bohannon. His goal has always been to help small businesses with their bankcard processing needs while providing excellent and personalized customer service. This is the way we do business! We now have customers in Washington, Oregon, and Montana and have distinguished ourselves as a top notch, niche market, bank card processing business.

We have been working with Montana Casinos for several years now providing a state-approved Debit Card Program that acts like a casino online ATM. It has been exciting and rewarding to see the extra revenue that is being brought in by these Casinos. Times are tough and what a huge difference this program has made to their monthly cashflow. As members of the Montana Tavern Association we also created a revenue sharing program so that all involved would benefit.

Late last year, we were contacted about creating a new debit card program for Montana nonprofits to sell online raffle tickets. We know, historically, that since raffles are considered gambling, it was illegal to pay for a raffle ticket with a bankcard – only cash, checks, or eChecks were allowed – and the state prohibited any online sales of raffle tickets period.

But now the rules have relaxed in terms of nonprofit raffles and it is now legal for a nonprofit to sell online raffle tickets on their website using a debit card. We joined Montana Nonprofit Association so we could find out what they knew about some of the specialized needs that they see in the nonprofit arena and they have been very helpful.

As you know, fundraising is an important part of a nonprofit’s survival. Nonprofits depend heavily on donations and volunteers throughout the year, so being able to sell raffle tickets on their website is huge. What an exciting and awesome development for fundraising! The fact is that people like convenience. By providing an easy and convenient way for folks to use their debit card to purchase raffle tickets online, you can increase your raffle sales dramatically.

With this in mind, we put together a program for nonprofits that is Montana state-approved and completely free – this keeps the nonprofit in complete compliance with state laws. This is a debit card program only – you cannot use a credit card. It is also important to note that nonprofits are prohibited in using any raffle proceeds to pay for the administration costs of the raffle.

For the program to be free, a fee is passed on to the customer – it’s like an online ATM where all fees are paid up front instead of a fee at the ATM and also a fee at the cardholders’ bank.  All the transactions are processed through a payment gateway on a nonprofit’s website and the funds are deposited in the nonprofit’s bank account automatically.

We have a lot of ideas on how this program can work for each nonprofit and how you can expand your fundraising capabilities. It is important to us that the set-up process is easy and quick to get up and running. We have a very easy application and we will work with you individually to get you going on your website and provide all the training needed.  Are you ready for the next level in Fundraising? Please give me a call and I’ll fill you in on all the details.


Cassandra Bohannon
Interstate Merchant Services
12505 Bel-Red Road, Suite 211
Bellevue, WA 98005
(206) 352-3294
(800) 488-3559
[email protected]


Leave a Reply