How this Canadian tech company helped raise over $120 million through online raffles

Matthew Broussard and Simon Cusack thought fundraising needed to move into the 21st century. So they led the charge, building an online platform that would handle the tedious regulatory and administrative work for charities and non-profits of all sizes—Rafflebox. 

What they do: Rafflebox helps thousands of charities and non-profits across Canada boost their fundraising revenue by providing online 50/50 tickets. Traditionally, 50/50 raffles have taken place at in-person events. Rafflebox shifted fundraising online, making it easy for anyone to participate. 

How they started: Matthew Broussard, one of the founders, wanted to buy a 50/50 ticket at the Calgary Stampede—but he didn't want to have to leave his seat, find an ATM to get cash and then stand in line to buy the ticket. 

  • "I thought, 'There has to be an easier way. Why can't I buy the tickets on my phone?'"

So he reached out to his childhood friends with the idea of creating a digital platform that would streamline the process. 

What it cost: Broussard and Cusack bootstrapped their business, putting in $100,000 to start. With their two other founders, they raised $350,000 more from friends and family to launch Rafflebox in 2019, but the business hit its stride in March 2020. 

Their advantage: Rafflebox eliminated up-front fees, removing the most significant barrier for small to medium-sized charities that can't spend hundreds of dollars to set up a raffle. 

  • "The idea was, 'it doesn't cost you anything. Just try it.' If they don't make any money, we don't invoice them," said co-founder Simon Cusack. "Anybody who wants to run with us can run with us. Some do millions of dollars, and some do a hundred dollars, but those groups that do a hundred bucks are happy."

Another advantage: Organizations hosting live events can give themselves a bigger window to fundraise through Rafflebox by opening up online ticket sales early. The pot gets bigger and more attractive, enticing more people to buy in.

  • "It's about hitting those marks where people just kind of get FOMO and they want to buy tickets—that's really what the online element helps a ton," said Broussard.

How much they've helped raise: Over $120 million.

  • One of the benefits Rafflebox offers is the chance for hyperlocal, community-focused fundraising. They received Digital Nova Scotia's "2022 Best in Tech" award.

  • "When we started, many of our clients were just single hockey teams with 15 kids. From running one Rafflebox with us, they would raise $5,000 to $20,000 in three or four weeks, which is more than they would ever fundraise in an entire year," said Broussard. 

What's next: Rafflebox plans to become the premier name in online raffles for North America and has expanded into the US, registered in 20 states with an office in Miami.