Balsamiq Raffles: Free Tickets to Great UX Events

We are always exploring new ways to connect with our community and reciprocate their love and support. We give free licenses to educators and do-gooders, we open-source part of our software, we sponsor lots of events in the industry, and much more.

Sponsorships are particularly important to us. They allow us to help the community grow and educate the world on User Experience (UX), which is one of the reasons our company exists.

Occasionally, the events we endorse come with free tickets in the sponsorship package. Since we rarely use the conference passes for ourselves, we've decided to raffle the free tickets to our community as another way to give back.


How We Run our Conference Ticket Raffles

It all starts when we decide to sponsor an event. We ask the organizers if there are free tickets included in the package and if we can raffle them. We get a positive answer almost every time, and most organizers will even offer their help publicizing the raffle.

The next step is to check how and by what date the winner(s) should collect their prize. With that information, we’re ready to create the raffle.

The Raffles Page

Not so long ago, we used to prepare a Google Form to collect the participants’ entries for each raffle. We’d give general information about the event and ask for two pieces of personal data and two feedback questions:

  • Name
  • Email
  • What's the single most frustrating issue you encounter when you use Balsamiq Mockups?
  • What's the most important feature missing from Balsamiq Mockups?

Balsamiq Raffle in Google FormsThis is what our Google Form Raffle used to look like

This quick-and-dirty solution was just that: quick, but dirty. It didn't fit in with our brand.

Also, we weren’t able to add as much detail as we would have liked so that the potential winners could make a well-informed decision about their participation in the raffles.

The form itself also presented some restrictions: we weren’t able to apply some advanced settings like conditional logic to ask customized questions.

Another important drawback was that the forms were not accessible on our website. It was impossible for our visitors to find out about the raffles.

Given all of this, we decided to work on a new strategy to bring the raffles to our site and align them with our brand and company goals.

Now we have a customized, in-house tool that allows us to offer these opportunities to all our visitors. We accomplished the task by employing available resources in a smarter way: Balsamiq Mockups for the wireframes, Google Sheets and Google Drive for the Admin UI and a robust React-powered front-end.

Wireframe vs. Raffle PageFrom the wireframe to the live page

We also made the raffles more inclusive. Before, the feedback questions were only for Balsamiq users. Now we can ask people if they use our tool or not, and ask them more relevant questions.

It’s too soon to quantify the results. However, the changes have already had a positive impact on the quality of the interactions. We have received more and richer replies, whereas in the previous form we got very basic answers or no answers at all.

We Always Have a Winner

Picking a winner is the hardest part: we would love to have tickets for everyone!

To choose the person we'll give the ticket to, we use Random.org. This service helps us sort the list of participants in random order. We assign the ticket(s) following the new order of the list.

If the winner is not able to go to the conference, we contact the next person in line. In case no one can go, we give the ticket back to the organizers with the request to donate it in our name to someone they know will appreciate it.

An example of randomized list with raffle resultsAn example of a randomized list

How To Find Out About New Free Tickets Raffles

Each time we open a new raffle, we share it via our Twitter account and our Facebook page. It's also possible to access them directly from our Company page.

We keep the raffles open for at least one month and close them early enough to allow the winners to make arrangements for travel and accommodations, in case they need to. (Travel, accommodations, and workshops are not included in the prize.)

Sounds interesting? Don't wait any longer! Check our open raffles right now, there might be one for that great event you'd like to attend.


Getting Better

Since we started organizing the raffles, we have introduced countless changes with the scope to offer a better and better experience for our participants. Each raffle teaches us a new lesson and helps us improve our products and our internal process.

If you have any tips for us on how to make this kind of giveaway better, we're all ears!

So, did you check the open raffles yet? Go, do it now, and good luck!

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