Fundraising Raffles, Bingo/Loteria and Prize Give-a-Ways

Student organizations are prohibited from fundraising by sponsoring raffles, bingo or loteria games or prize giveaways regardless of the name of the activity.  Pursuant to California Penal Code 319, a prize giveaway is considered an illegal lottery if the giveaway contains the following:

  • A prize;
  • The element of chance;
  • Consideration (payment for a raffle/bingo ticket.)

If any of these elements are missing, the giveaway is permissible, as it is no longer breaking the law.  Therefore, as an example, an organization is prohibited from collecting money in exchange for a ticket to win a prize (s.)  Any person who prepares or operates a lottery, furnishes lottery tickets, or assists a lottery is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Only eligible private, tax-exempt nonprofit groups qualified to conduct business in California for at least one year prior to conducting the raffle may conduct raffles to raise funds (at least 90% of proceeds) for the organization and charitable or beneficial purposes in California.  Additionally, a nonprofit organization, unless specifically exempted, must register with the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts prior to conducting the raffle and file financial disclosure reports on each raffle event.  Whether any particular organization qualifies can best be determined by their legal counsel or by the state tax-exempt status determination letter that their legal counsel obtained for them. An organization does not become eligible merely by obtaining recognition by the University.

As fundraisers are considered student organization events, an Event Registration Form must be submitted to the Center for Student Involvement at least ten business days prior to the event date.

Yard Sales

Student organizations are prohibited from fundraising by means of holding yard sales on campus.