There’s one thing that can definitely be said about most burners everywhere – they speak their mind. You don’t end up at a 50,000 person art party in the desert by keeping your head down, your nose to the grind stone and your mouth shut. Wonderful; burners are opinionated and invested in the Burning Man community – what’s the downside? There’s always someone to naysay, disagree or play devil’s advocate.
This is exactly what’s happening with the various Burning Man 2012 art projects who are using ticket raffles as a fundraising modality. Burning Man ticket raffles have been around for a while now, last year even the Temple of Transition raffled two tickets to the Burn during their final phase of fundraising. Even though in years past, ticket raffling has gotten some flack from the community, the new lottery system and ticket scarcity has made many burners cry “scalper” at raffles. Raffling is a difficult subject, especially now that so many burners are without tickets. Raffles do provide burners with a low cost option, as most raffles are between $1-$25 to enter, but your chances of getting a ticket fluctuate greatly depending on entry numbers. People have a much higher likelihood of winning a raffle ticket from a small art group than they did in the initial Burning Man ticket lottery, but they do have to make a donation to the art piece in order to enter.
Groups like the San Diego C.O.R.E project have previously done well with raffles. Last year, they were able to surpass their fundraising goal of $1,000 by selling $1 raffle tickets. Over 1,100 contestants participated in the raffle and one lucky person got their Burning Man ticket for a buck! Here’s what Camber from San Diego C.O.R.E had to say about the raffle, “I found the raffle to be a great success. It
provided an opportunity to really engage with the larger San Diego Burning Man community and share our enthusiasm for the project. The tickets were only sold for $1 each so really nobody was excluded from getting involved. The final total was over $1,100 raised from the raffle, but honestly the money was secondary to the enthusiasm generated in the community. The enthusiasm lead to people volunteering and also to larger donations in Kickstarter.” This year the San Diego C.O.R.E is using a combination of Kickstarter and We Pay to fund their newest effigy, the CarouShell. A really fantastic and fun design incorporating, you guessed it, a carousel and a sea shell!
Current Burning Man ticket raffles are catching a ton of heat from the community, receiving hate emails, nasty Facebook posts and negative comments on Reddit and Eplaya. Most raffles in the spotlight are trying to raise funds to get their large scale art to the playa, a difficult task in today’s economic climate,
especially post-ticket fiasco. Social media is currently flooded with crowd source fundraising pages trying their best to entice passionate art-lovers to make a small investment to the cause. Indiegogo, Kickstarter and WePay are swamped with kinetic sculptures and effigies. New Mexico C.O.R.E is attempting to stay ahead of the game by raffling one of their personal BM 2012 ticket to fund building and transportation of Kokopelli Rising. The raffle should be showing up on the Kokopelli Rising Facebook fanpage soon. Tickets will be $10 for one or $50 for six.
One of the most notable raffles right now is Breaking Wave, a 2012 BM art sculpture using reclaimed drift lumber to raise awareness around ocean pollution. The sculpture will also honor those who perished in the Japanese Tsunami by using building materials that washed onto West Coast beaches during the Tsunami after-math. They hope to make the wave approximately 16′ in height and about 10′x 10′ at its base with solar-powered LED’s and EL wire for night lighting.
Burn After Reading talked to James Deane, one of the main organizers of Breaking Wave, about their ticket raffle.
Why did you choose to raffle a BM ticket?
Well, our group in the beginning was only four members, and we had an extra ticket that was won in the general lottery hosted by Burning Man, so with the options available to us, and the current ticket situation, it seemed the easiest way to generate some income for the project.
Throwing an event is something we have done in the past, but our crew was only four people strong, so the event would have been fairly small, and really there are so many events to choose from nowadays. It would not have brought in that much income for the expense in time and effort. The other option we discussed was an Indiegogo campaign, this option is still something we plan to follow up on, if the BM ticket raffle does not bring in enough cash.
How did you get your extra ticket?
As I stated above, we won it in the general Burning Man lottery, all our tickets for our crew were won in the general lottery, and all at the highest tier. This means we need to raise $400, or sell 40 raffle tickets @ $10 a piece just to cover the cost of the BM ticket. That’s a pretty steep entry cost for us, and something we didn’t know if we would be able to achieve, but we felt that with enough promotion, and a strong marketing campaign we would achieve this goal. So far, our raffle has run for about 4 weeks, with another 4 weeks till we draw the winner, and we have not covered the original cost of the ticket.
What are your feelings about civic responsibility and tickets?
We have encountered a couple people citing such rules, as some kind of protest to our raffle, thinking we’re getting rich off this thing. We did research this position prior to launching this raffle, and we discovered that we are allowed to do what we are doing and are completely legal in our effort. Our project, and all our crew are Canadian, the laws that govern raffles, and lotteries in the US are not the same up north. We are not just a different state, but an entirely different country.
Do you have any other things you’d like to add about Breaking Wave and the raffle?
Well, it seems to me that anyone hating on a ticket raffle is just looking for something to complain about, too bad they didn’t get a ticket, but hey that’s how it goes this year… If the BMorg can lottery the ticket then why can’t we? If my local CORE project, sanctioned by my local regional BM rep’s Raffle off a BM ticket they got for “free” why can’t we..?
Plus, to be honest, I would have much rather given this ticket to a friend, or one of the many local Burners that I know who did not get a ticket. But instead we will give it away to some random person that enters our drawing. The actual love and gift of the ticket has been almost removed, for the sake of cash. But as we all know, money makes the world go round, and without it, playa art does not happen…. To realize our dream of Breaking Wave, we need money for nails, fuel, truck or trailer rental, 2 loads of decomposed granite from the BMorg, LED lighting, and solar panels, these things all add up. Our crew is small, currently we are five people, and to accomplish this project, we would each have to invest way more than what’s possible if we didn’t fundraise.
You can enter the Breaking Wave raffle at their website or via their Facebook page. Breaking Wave is $10 per entry, the draw date is June 1st. Also keep your eyes peeled for the Kokopelli Rising effigy raffle on their fan page. Who knows, you may even win a Burning Man ticket for just $10 this year. Good Luck, ticket-less burners and ticketed art projects! See you all on the playa!