By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
BURLINGTON — Notre Dame Catholic School set a new goal for its annual Pot O’ Blue and Gold fundraiser this year — sell raffle tickets in all 50 states.
The raffle started in July, just as new development director Lindsay Knudson was settling into her new position. She noticed that raffle tickets were being sold to individuals in other states beyond Iowa and neighboring Illinois. “It got me thinking: What if we put this challenge out there and see if people get behind it?”
She placed a United States map in her office. The first person to sell a ticket in a particular state got to place a pushpin on that state. “It makes you think of someone other than the same neighbors you always go to,” Knudson said.
One by one, states were crossed off the list as students, families, Burlington-area Catholics and school supporters sold the $100 tickets, which support curriculum, technology, teacher endowment and teacher support. The school shared photos on Facebook each time a state received a pin, along with a reminder of which states remained.
The school accomplished its 50-state goal with one day to spare, selling a ticket in the last remaining state — Vermont. At the drawing Sept. 28, Individuals from Georgia, Massachusetts and Colorado each won monetary prizes. The $100,000 grand prize winner, Karen Erickson, lives in Burlington and plans to donate a large portion of the winnings to local charities, Knudson said. A total of $139,000 was distributed to raffle winners, who didn’t need to be present to win.
Based on the number of tickets sold this year, Knudson believes the map helped motivate ticket-sellers. A total of 3,197 tickets were sold, more than 200 over the previous year. She noticed that families as a whole sold about 500 more tickets than they did the previous year. This year’s total may be a record for the 22-year-old fundraiser; usually, between 2,500 and 3,000 tickets are sold annually.
“It was something fun and the families really got behind it,” Knudson said. “They were rock stars!”