1. How To Pick a Winner
Winners should be picked entirely at random. So that means no favouritism based on friendship, email addresses, or anything else. If you've ran a free prize draw then don't just pick the first entry as the winner unless your rules clearly stated that that was how winners were picked! Try and get an independent person involved in picking the winners.
If your entries are stored in a database, use a RAND() SQL call to pick a random name. Alternatively you can use something like Raffle King or Randomizer.
2. What To Do If The Winner Doesn't Reply?
Occasionally a winner may not respond to your "you've won a prize" email. Our advice is to try and contact them after 14 days and 28 days. At 28 days inform them via email that if no reply is received within 7 days that the prize will be redrawn. If the time has expired then redraw the competition.
In cases where the prizes are time sensitive, e.g concert tickets, then apply common sense but do ensure that your communication indicates that prizes must be claimed.
3. Don't Abandon Your Competition
Don't forget about the competition! It's bad practice to leave a page saying "winners announced shortly" for months on end - and on the web it is something that even the major websites do!
Perform the draw, judge the competition, choose a winner as soon as possible. Inform the lucky winners by email, and if they're willing announce their names on the webpage.
4. Get The Prizes Sent Out
Once you've announced the winner, send the prize out as soon as possible. If
there are problems regarding the prize, such as a delay in getting it
mailed off, stay in contact with the winner letting them know of any
This is very important. Winners can often become frustrated (and even irate) when their prize doesn't show up (some people are impatient and expect their prizes the next day, but 14-28 days after notification is a reasonable and adequate time period). By maintaining contact and keeping them informed of progress they will at least know you are doing all you can to help them.
5. Post Your Winners on Loquax
We have a Winners List section on Loquax and you're more than welcome (in fact you're encouraged) to post your latest winners on the site. Some of our users do this for you, but if you can do it then that'd be great.