4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

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4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

Updated on May 25, 2020

4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests
Mary Wickison


I’ve been entering sweepstakes and contests since I was young. Let me share some of my tips which will help you win more.

4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

Earning From Sweepstakes

If you think you can’t make money from sweepstakes think again. I’m going to tell you four different ways sweepstakes and giveaways can earn you money. If you have entered before and not won, then this could have put you off entering again. You might say, I’m not lucky or I never win anything, I’m going to show you how you can change this way of thinking. Let’s use fishing as an example, if you went fishing and didn’t catch anything would that make you not want to go again? I don’t think so, it would just mean you needed to try somewhere else, use different bait, or improve your technique. It’s the same for winning prizes.

You can greatly increase your chances of winning a prize by making a few changes to the way you enter. Some of these may include the types of giveaways you’re entering and others may be the frequency.

Besides entering to win, I will also show you other ways to generate money from contests. Get comfortable because what I am going to tell you, could change your life.

1. Entering Sweepstakes: Top Tips To Win More

Your first thought when you read the title of this article was probably, you make money by entering and winning sweepstakes, right? This is, of course, the obvious way. You enter and win prizes which you can either keep, give away or sell. I won’t kid you, it’s time consuming if you wish to make an impact on your family’s finances. The good thing though, now with many retailers offering online entries, there is no postage to pay like the old days when you had to mail in your name and address on a 3″ x 5″ card. Can you do this as your main source of income, probably not. There are people who use their winnings to supplement their household income however and some do quite nicely from it. A lady from Canada calls herself the ‘Contest Queen’. She is just one of a handful of people who are called Super Sweepers.

Some people say they aren’t lucky and don’t enter or complain they never win anything. I believe luck has very little to do with it, and those who don’t win normally don’t enter many. There are several ways to increase your chances of winning.

Enter More Often

This may be stating the obvious but the more you enter, the better your chances of winning. Many online giveaways offer daily entries, if that is an option, make sure you enter daily. This one step alone can see your winnings increase. Sure it can be time-consuming but if you get into a routine of doing it, you’ll find an efficient way of entering. If you spend time on Facebook watching cat videos, perhaps your time could be put to better use entering sweepstakes.

Enter More Contests

If you go back to our analogy of fishing, the more hooks you have in the water, the more likely you are to catch something. Enter as many different giveaways as you can.

Follow the Rules

Don’t waste your time entering a giveaway that you are not eligible to win. Don’t try and enter late or scam the system by entering more than once if it isn’t allowed.

Enter Skill-Based Contests

Skill-based competitions include photography, cooking, drawing, videoing, writing, or my personal favorite, creating a catchy phrase. Ones such as I love Dove soap because…. and then you have to come up with the ending in 10 words or less. I can’t stress this enough, skill-based contests offer the best chance of winning. The reason for this is there are fewer entries. The general public might be willing to fill their name out on a form but to do something more difficult such as writing down a recipe, many just won’t complete the requirements. Some of the prizes on offer for skill based competitions are fantastic: prizes such as a house, a Bed and Breakfast business, and also a movie theater!

2. Have a Promotional Giveaway

The second way to make money from giveaways is to run one yourself. Huh? If you’re wondering how giving away something is going to make you money, I’ll let you in on a not so little secret. Why do you think retailers give away prizes? This is a publicity maneuver which brings people to their products. They are hoping that when a person sees their product, even if they don’t buy it then and there, it is planting a seed for a future purchase. Running sweepstakes or giveaways is just one way retailers grab the public’s attention. Is this new? Of course not, this method of advertising has been around a long time. The famous Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes has been offering prizes since 1967.

That’s okay for them, you might be thinking, but what does that have to do with me? Now, many bloggers, authors, and small business owners find they too can run successful promotions which bring in a new batch of potential customers. In these giveaways, the contestant is normally asked for their email address. They are giving the company permission to add them to an email list and if an address is required, they are also giving them permission to mail them propaganda. Some may even sell those details to a marketing company or a (third party). When someone puts a tick in the box that they have read the terms and conditions or the official rules, they’re agreeing to this whether they’ve read the fine print or not.

There are companies that specialize in making it easy for you to run a giveaway on your blog or website. There is a fee for their service. Three of the most popular are:

  • Woobox
  • Gleam
  • Rafflecopter

These will offer the options for people to enter using their email address and then they can get bonus entries for following you or your business on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites. Some offer bonus entries if the giveaway is shared with friends.

To offset the cost, several bloggers or authors will pool their resources to promote and supply the prizes. These are often Amazon gift vouchers, books or products that have been given to the bloggers to review. It can be an interesting and eclectic mix of prizes.

At the end of the giveaway, your site will have had a spike in traffic and you will have new names on your email list. As the saying goes, The money is in the list. You can now market to these people who have opted in and supplied you with their email addresses. Be aware though, that people who enter sweepstakes, may or may not ever purchase from you. That is a chance you take.

3. Start A Contest Website

4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests
Contest Website

Have a Contest and Sweepstakes Website

The third way of making money from sweepstakes and contests is to have a website (or blog) promoting them. This is one of the avenues I have followed. People don’t have time to go hunting on the internet to find sweepstakes that are offered by the various companies, it’s too time consuming. For many sweepers, as they are called, it’s better to find sites, which have done the hunting for them. The sites are merely a portal of current giveaways and sweepstakes. As with anything, there are of course pros and cons to any idea.

The pros are you can earn money by placing ads (Google Adsense), Amazon or other affiliate companies on the site. I tend to use just a few, such as Google Adsense, Shareasale, and Zazzle. Although the people who come to view the site are there to find sweepstakes links, they are also looking at, and clicking on ads. This is where the money is to be made from having a sweepstakes website: it’s the revenue from the adverts, not from them clicking the links to the giveaways. The list of contests is merely a way of getting them to the site and providing them with a good selection of companies and bloggers who currently have contests running.

You may wonder where to find all those sweepstakes to put on such a site. I have several methods I use but here are the main ones. All of these I can do from home online.

  • Magazines and newspapers (online)
  • Television and radio stations (online)
  • Retail stores (online)

Then there are social media sites which are havens for finding new contests.

  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Redditt

The disadvantage of such a website is that it has to be constantly updated. It is not what is called an evergreen site. To ensure people continue to check back often, it is necessary to have fresh giveaways listed daily and archive expired ones.

4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

4. Selling The Sweepstakes Idea

The last way to make money is promoting this ‘way of life’ to others. This can be through books, videos, or talks. Carolyn Wilman, the author of the book below, is a good example of how this works. Her success began just with a love of entering sweepstakes, probably not that different than you. When television stations began requesting interviews she knew she had a skill that other people wanted to know about. Her list of wins is pretty impressive but she didn’t stop there.

  • She also has books (her second is listed below)
  • She give lectures/ workshops
  • She runs a website with competitions listed

She has packed all her knowledge into her book and her workshops. You might think that she would be lessening her chances of winning by providing this information, but with the amount of giveaways being run at any one time, it is unlikely.

4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

How To Win Cash, Cars, Trips & More!: 2nd Edition | You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter

This is the 2nd edition of Carolyn Wilman’s book. She is Canada’s Contest Queen and in her book she reveals the strategy she has used to win. Carolyn has appeared in television specials and been interviewed by journalists who want to know her secret. It’s a great read packed full of useful information, which if put into practice will help you win more. This would also make a wonderful gift for someone who is interested in entering sweepstakes.
 Buy Now

Closing Comments

There you have it, 4 different ways to earn from giveaways and contests. The internet has changed the face of entering sweepstakes making it much easier. The amount of prizes and value of these prizes is staggering.

**Be aware in most countries you will have to pay tax on your winnings.**

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Are there any worthwhile sweepstakes that don’t require a purchase/laying out some money?

    Yes, there are in fact, some companies will also give you a ‘free option’ to enter. This will often be in the rules, in the fine print.

    I don’t encourage you to buy anything to enter or pay for a phone call to enter.

    However, in bonafide contests, where you have to buy something the number of entries is lower. Sometimes there is an element of skill involved as well, such as making up a jingle. I once had to buy a shovel to enter to win a cargo van. I didn’t win the van, but the shovel is still used weekly.

    Helpful 80
  • How do you know if a sweepstake is legitimate?

    Enter sweepstakes that are sponsored by major retailers and companies. Their reputation is on the line and will ensure that the correct procedures, regulations and awarding of prizes is in place before the promotion is launched.

    Helpful 53
  • How does one pay taxes on winnings from sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests?

    It would depend on which country you live in. You will need to put the market value of the prize on your tax form and pay the tax on that, on top of your income.

    A good tax advisor would be able to help you.

    Helpful 41
  • How do you know the Big Name company is really them, I googled Amazon and was given a bogus site?

    That surprises me as the revenue Amazon spends on advertising normally keeps them at the top. I would suggest a couple of ways.

    Make sure you have an up to date security system running on your device.

    Helpful 24
  • Is there a place or something that can help a person make a sweepstakes website?

    You can simply buy a domain name and pay for hosting. If you choose to build it yourself, many sites offer a drag and drop building system. It’s easier than you think.

    If you don’t feel confident building your own, there are people on Fivver and other similar sites that will build it for you.

    I use to have a site that I built, and I will tell you it is a lot of work to keep the giveaways updated and archive the ones that have closed. Plus the people who are visiting will not necessarily click on other ads.

    Remember you only want to build a site if you can make money from it. Typically, the people who are entering sweepstakes are thrifty and are only there to get something for nothing. This type of person is difficult to earn money from.

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  • What about these other countries that contact you saying you won an email lottery for $3 million, and then ask you to pay for the release of funds? How can you tell if it’s the real thing and not a hoax to rip you off?

    The old adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is true. If you have to pay any money, it isn’t a legitimate giveaway. Do not part with any cash. In fact, many of those emails are phishing attempts. Mark them as spam and delete them.

    If you didn’t enter it before they contacted you, you didn’t win.

    Helpful 9
  • You mention newspapers and magazines online to make money from sweepstakes. Where can one get the links?

    Start with your local paper because the odds of winning will be better. It is very likely they have a website, go to their website and look. Some websites are easier to navigate than others. The companies want to keep you on their site as long as possible. You may find a tab that says, ‘giveaways,’ but sometimes it may be under titles such as fun, or even entertainment.

    You can also type in your favorite magazine titles, and they will usually have ongoing weekly or monthly giveaways.

    This also holds true for television programs; they often have links on their pages for giveaways.

    To find several in one place, there are websites that have links to various giveaways. Remember though, the people who visit those links are ‘hardcore’ sweepers and will often be entering the maximum number of times, so the odds of your winning will be less.

    Another place I found is Wikipedia. If you type in ‘Magazines’, you will get a list of many magazines, and some of these will be running giveaways. You can also do the same for newspapers. Just make sure you are eligible to win before you enter. Some regional publications may say you have to be within a certain area or pick up the prize in person.

    Also, if you are running an ad blocker, you should switch it off as many companies are promoting their giveaways on other sites, and you won’t see it if you have an ad blocker.

    Helpful 8
  • Is pch.com (Publishers Clearing House) a legitimate sweepstake?

    Yes, it is. You do not have to purchase a magazine subscription to win.

    They have received some criticism and been fined for some of the terminology they use in their literature. If you wish to read more about that, Wikipedia has links to some interesting articles.

    Helpful 7
  • How much tax would I have to pay on my sweepstakes, giveaways and contest winnings?

    That will depend where you live and how much the prize is valued at.

    For example, let’s talk about a lottery win in the USA.

    Federal tax will take 25%, and if your prize is more than $400,000 and you are a single person, then you are looking at 39.6% according to the website: https://money.howstuffworks.com.

    There are also state taxes again, depending on where you live.

    Helpful 3
  • I received a notice from Linda Suraci with June I Dairy Month Sweepstakes. I received it on July 11th saying I won a $500 grocery store certificate. She sent the paperwork I need to fill out but it asks for my Social Security Number. They shouldn’t need it since it is under $600. How do I find out if it is a legitimate win? And if it is, do I have to include my SSN? I have until the 19th to send the paperwork.

    The first question is, did you enter that sweepstakes? If so, then it sounds like you’ve won. If not, then throw the letter away.

    If you are concerned, there is probably a telephone number on your form that you can call. However, some sponsors will ask for your SSN no matter what the amount is. They too have to keep their records and tax returns in order.

    Telephone them, if possible and then sign the form and return it.

    Helpful 1

© 2016 Mary Wickison