If you have self-sponsored a giveaway on your blog, or are a small business that hosted a giveaway, here are a few things you’ll want to know when it comes to providing and shipping prizes.
What You Need to Know About Giveaway Prizes
The cost of the prize, postage and packing material is tax-deductible. Giving away and mailing a prize is a promotional or advertising expense.
Presenting Your Prize
Speaking of advertising, that’s why you ran a giveaway, right? So make sure you package the prize attractively. It’s nice to include a little note, a business card or even an extra freebie like a small sample of another product. The idea is to reward your winner for entering and sharing the giveaway and get him or her to come back to your site on a regular basis.
Announcing a Winner
Be careful about how you announce the winner. It’s good to disclose in your giveaway terms when and how the winner will be notified and announced. Standard practice is to have all entrants agree that their first name and last initial may be published. For a Facebook-only giveaway, it is acceptable to publish the full name, especially since it pops up automatically when you “tag” the winner. For winners who are randomly drawn using a third-party app like Rafflecopter, Giveaway Tools, Gleam, etc., the general rule is to notify by email first before announcing on social media channels.
If your winner was from a country outside yours, a customs form will be required at mailing. Generally, you must disclose the contents and declare the value of the prize. Give your winner a heads up about possible duties and taxes; they vary from country to country and are often based on the value of the gift. Prizes coming into the US usually do not require extra duty or tax; prizes coming into Canada don’t if they are worth $20 CAD or less.
Give your winner some idea of when to expect the prize, or you’ll likely have them checking back with you at some point and asking “where’s my stuff?” If the giveaway has been sponsored by someone else, find out from the business what their timeframe is for shipping prizes and pass that information along to your winner.
Tracking and Insurance
Whether you want to purchase insurance in case of loss is up to you, but some type of tracking is always recommended. Winners are usually pretty excited about their prize, and being able to provide a tracking number is appreciated. It will also give you confirmation when the prize is delivered.
Have you ever run a giveaway, or hosted one for a sponsor? What have you learned when it comes to sending out prizes?