Just saw an ad with you in it, for a chance to win a new Sprinter van? It looks pretty sweet. Is it legit? Does the money really go to mikeroweWORKS? What are my odds of winning this thing? Frank Huntington
Yeah, that was me, and yes, it’s totally legit. The company running the sweepstakes is called Omaze, and over the years, they’ve helped raise millions of dollars for all kinds of worthwhile non-profits, including mine. I did a sweepstakes with them a couple years ago, where the “prize” was crabcakes and a beer with me and my parents. The winner was great, the “beer” turned into “beers,” and we raised a few hundred thousand dollars for MRW, mostly through thousands of modest donations. This year, the prize is a bit more elaborate – a Mercedes Benz Sprinter van with $80,000 of upgrades. The whole thing is worth over $140,000. It’s pretty great.
As for your odds of winning, I have no idea. I can only tell you that the more entries you buy, the more your odds will improve, and the cheaper each entry will become. A $10 donation for instance, buys you 20 chances to win. A $25 donation, buys you 125 chances. A $50 donation buys you 500 chances. A $100 donation buys you 1,200 chances. And $150 donation will buy you 2,000 chances, at which point, the chances don’t get any cheaper to purchase. Thus, if I’m if I’m doing the math right, a $150,000 donation would buy you 2 million chances to win.
Those odds are better, for sure, but there’s still a good chance that someone who donated just $10 could win, so if I were you, and I really wanted that sprinter van, and I had a $150,000 to spend, I just buy the van and increase my odds to 100%. Why take chances, right? Likewise, if I really wanted to support mikeroweWORKS with a $150,000 donation, I’d just donate directly. However, if you’d like a chance to win the van, AND enjoy the warm glow that comes from supporting a great cause with a modest donation, I’d probably drop $25 on 125 chances and let the good times roll.
Also, I feel obliged to tell you that sweepstakes laws – often buried in the fine print – permit anyone to enter a contest like this without making a donation of any kind. Obviously, pointing this out is completely counterintuitive to the goals of a fundraiser, but the rules are the rules – even the inexplicable ones – and I’d prefer to make sure everyone understands that they have the right to enter this contest without donating a single penny to my foundation. How such a person could live with themselves is another matter, but I’m not here to judge.
Having said all that, Frank, whatever course you choose – good luck! It’s an amazing van…