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4 Ways to Make Money From Sweepstakes, Giveaways and Contests

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


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, this could have prevented you from 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 significantly 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 or method.

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 for the better.

1. Enter Sweepstakes

Your first thought when you read the title of this article was probably that you make money by entering and winning sweepstakes, right? That is, of course, the obvious way. You enter and win prizes that 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, is that now with many retailers offering online entries, there is no postage to pay like in 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 primary source of income? Probably not. Some people use their winnings to supplement their household income and 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 usually don't enter many. There are several ways to increase your chances of winning.

Enter More Often

I 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 you could put your time to better use by entering sweepstakes.

Enter More Contests

If you go back to our fishing analogy, the more hooks you have in the water, the more likely you will 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... followed by your 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 many won't complete the requirements to do something more challenging, such as writing down a recipe. Some of the prizes on offer for skill-based competitions are fantastic: prizes such as a house, a Bed and Breakfast business, and 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 will make you money, I'll let you in on a not-so-little secret. Why do you think retailers give away prizes? Doing so brings publicity to the company's product. They hope when a person sees their promoted item, 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 for 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? Many bloggers, authors, and small business owners find they, too, can run successful promotions that bring in a new batch of potential customers. In these giveaways, the contestant supplies 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 permitting them 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 agree to this whether they've read the fine print or not.

Some companies 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 people the option to enter using their email address and get bonus entries for following you or your business on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites. Some offer bonus entries if they share with them among their friends.

Several bloggers or authors will pool their resources to promote and supply the prizes to offset the cost. These are often Amazon gift vouchers, books, or products that have been given to the bloggers to review. It can be an exciting 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 the chance you take.

Contest websites

Contest websites

3. Start a Blog or Website About Contests and Sweepstakes

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
  • Reddit

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. Sell Sweepstakes Ideas and Advice

The last way to make money is by 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 gives 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 number of giveaways being run at any one time, it is unlikely.

This is the second 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.

Good Luck!

There you have it—four 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.

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

Question: Are there any worthwhile sweepstakes that don't require a purchase/laying out some money?

Answer: 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.

Question: How do you know if a sweepstake is legitimate?

Answer: 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.

Question: How does one pay taxes on winnings from sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests?

Answer: 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.

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

Answer: 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.

Question: Is there a place or something that can help a person make a sweepstakes website?

Answer: 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.

Question: 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?

Answer: 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.

Question: You mention newspapers and magazines online to make money from sweepstakes. Where can one get the links?

Answer: 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.

Question: Is (Publishers Clearing House) a legitimate sweepstake?

Answer: 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.

Question: How much tax would I have to pay on my sweepstakes, giveaways and contest winnings?

Answer: 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:

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

Question: 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.

Answer: 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.

© 2016 Mary Wickison


Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 11, 2018:

Hi Calisto,

No matter what country you are in you will need to check to see if you are eligible by reading the rules of each sweepstakes. Some countries do not allow gambling and that includes sweepstakes or giveaways.

calisto on September 11, 2018:

Can I get shipments to come to my country(uganda

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 10, 2018:

Hi Joseph,

To know if you are eligible for any giveaway you will have to check the rules associated with each specific contest. In the rules it will tell you which countries or regions can participate. It will also say the deadline for entries, if there are age restrictions and more. Before spending any time entering a sweepstakes or contest, the rules should be read first to be certain you're eligible to enter.

Joseph on September 09, 2018:

I am from Nigeria can I register and participate?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 05, 2018:

That is very cool.

Yes, radio contests are a great way. I won not cash but a trip to Nashville on a radio giveaway. It was to see a showing of the Dolly Parton film 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at the Grand Ol' Opry. It was a wonderful trip.

Thanks for sharing your story, and you're right, don't listen to those voices that say you can't win. Your mother is proof that you can.

angelawr7777 on September 05, 2018:

One often overlooked method of winning monetary prizes are radio giveaways. My mom two times from the same radio station. Her job required long hours and tedious work, so she listened daily to this station. She had to call them if they called out her birthday or other qualifying event. She first won $25k back in 1989 and the second time $10k. We couldn't believe it the first time! We often made fun of her for entering contests, but we stopped after that! I remind myself of this when the little voice inside says "you can't win." haha We needed that money, too. She was a single parent and she was able to buy a house for us. She even bought a used car for me (which was beyond sweet of her). How cool is that?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 04, 2018:

Hi Kevin,

Unfortunately there are many companies that say you've won when in fact you have either 'won' something with no value, or are trying to get you to give them money.

Never give them money to get a prize.

If you didn't enter the sweepstakes before receiving the notice, you haven't won.

The instructions to claim any prize will be in the small print that has the terms and conditions, read it carefully.

kevin barasa on September 04, 2018:

have been sent congratulations, is it true that I have won.secondly am from Kenya how can I get that reward

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on August 30, 2018:

I'm sorry to hear that Mark. Seek out competitions that have fewer entries. Avoid those that are simply a 'fill in your name', as everyone will enter those.

Contests that have an element of skill such as writing a jingle, writing an essay, or coming up with a new recipe, receive fewer entries so the chances of winning are greater.

Good luck and stick with it.

Mark Smith on August 30, 2018:

Never won anything!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on August 04, 2018:

Hi Sandra,

I'm sorry to hear this. The only papers you should have to sign is perhaps a tax form declaring your winnings and also a consent form. The consent form entitles the company to use your likeness or story to assist in their promotional efforts.

If a company is asking you to pay, don't, it isn't a genuine prize or win.

sandra sitton on August 03, 2018:

It since to me everytime they say you won you have to pay before you win and filling out papers and never gettting it.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 26, 2018:

Hi Kiran,

If you are getting emails about contests or sweepstakes you didn't enter, then it is a scam. Just delete those or report them as spam.

Go to the websites of reputable firms that you know, it is likely they have giveaways from time to time.

Once you begin entering that type, you will be able to spot 'scam' giveaways more easily.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 16, 2018:

Hi Darshan,

There are strict regulations and rules on all sweepstakes, competitions and contests. It is best you check these to see if you are eligible to win. Some contests do not allow entries from locations other than their own country. The rules should be the first thing you check otherwise you could be wasting your time entering.

It also may be that your country may not permit this type of 'gaming or gambling'.

Any legitimate contests will have a clear and concise set of rules and eligibility requirements.

Darshan on July 16, 2018:

I live india.i summit this?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 16, 2018:

Hi Finn,

I believe we make our own luck. It seems the luckiest people are also those that work the hardest and the smartest.

I believe that holds true for many things in life.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 16, 2018:

Hi Jamie,

Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams and it is necessary to be cautious. My best advice is, if you didn't enter it, then you didn't win.

Finn from Barstow on July 13, 2018:

Well some good ideas. I think luck has a lot to do with it plus you have to have a lot of time on your hands and be able to narrow down various places to enter.

sounds like you had success and congratulations to you on that.

Jamie spriggs on July 06, 2018:

I been getting messages saying I win 1000$ I was wanting to know if I did

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 30, 2018:

It's a case of entering ones which attract fewer entries, entering frequently, following the rules, and sticking with it.

Douglas Ausborn on June 30, 2018:

I can never get my winnings when i do win im glad you did

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 24, 2018:

Hi Judith,

You should see a reddish-orange button in the top right corner that says, join. It may be slightly different if you're viewing on a mobile device.

Judith Morgan on June 18, 2018:

How do I get a Hub Pages Network account

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on February 17, 2018:

Hi Sarah,

I hope it happens for you soon. Keep entering and your odds are much better.

Good luck to you.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on January 22, 2017:

You're welcome. Once you scratch the surface of most things, there are often more ways to gain from them. Glad you like it.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on January 11, 2017:

Now this, for me, is a brand new view on sweepstakes. Thanks for all the ideas!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on January 02, 2017:

There are so many avenues open to people to use giveaways for promotional purposes.

Great to hear from you.

Nell Rose from England on January 02, 2017:

You clever thing you! lol! I would never have thought of it! something to look into, and thanks!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 10, 2016:

You're very welcome. Now is a great time for in store giveaways. When you train your eyes to spot them, you'll be amazed how many you can see.

Thanks for your comment.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 10, 2016:

You're very welcome. Now is a great time for in store giveaways. When you train your eyes to spot them, you'll be amazed how many you can see.

Thanks for your comment.

teaches12345 on December 10, 2016:

This is wonderful advice. I will keep this all in mind. THanks for sharing and doing the leg work for us.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 06, 2016:

Hi Dora,

The internet has changed many things including entering contests. It has not only made it easier and cheaper for people to enter, but also it also people to run their own giveaways. It's an exciting time for both the entrants and the prize givers.

Thank you for your comment.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 05, 2016:

Interesting and informative facts about winning. Inspiring to hear from one who actually wins.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 04, 2016:

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think the best thing I won was a trip to Nasheville. It was a radio competition. Myself and another lady won a trip to see the premier of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. It was at the Grand Ole Opry, and Waylon Jennings was sitting just a few rows down from us.

After the show we went to a party where Dolly Parton and Loni Anderson were. I was about 20 at the time and it was such a thrill for me.

happymommy2520 on December 04, 2016:

I really loved this Hub. I am going to visit your web-site. I am also thinking about reading that book. Entering sweepstakes is fun. What is the best thing you have won?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 04, 2016:

Hi Suhail,

There are many avenues to make revenue from them. Although entering them is fun and often the prizes are wonderful, there are other ways to generate an income from them.

I'm pleased you enjoyed the article, thanks for your visit.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on December 03, 2016:

Great suggestions, Mary.

I never paid attention to sweepstakes and other contests and now i think I should.

Very well written hub!


Mary Wickison (author) from USA on December 03, 2016:

Hi Bill,

I've been entering since I was young. I think the bug bit when I won a fishing contest as a kid. I had gone deep sea fishing and my mom put in a dollar as my entry money. The ocean was really choppy and many people were seasick but I just kept fishing.

At the end of the day, I had caught the biggest fish and won $32. Not a fortune but for a 12 year old it was exciting.

Thanks for your continued support and congratulations on your latest book.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 03, 2016:

Wow! You've given this a great deal of thought, and you're experienced in it. This is something I've never done. No reason other than I've never done it. :) It was helpful, your reminder to give something away for free. I need to keep that in mind with the release of my new book. Thanks, Mary!