Tombola! It's just fun to say, isn't it? Tombola! It's one of those words that just begs to be yelled; you can't say "tombola" quietly, it just wouldn't be right. But what the heck is it?

The tombola is the basket or drum used in a lottery or raffle. It can also refer to a lottery in which the winning ticket is drawn from a revolving drum. Funny enough, it's also an Italian expression for when someone trips, like "oops." How tripping and picking a Raffle Ticket are connected is anyone's guess, although perhaps it has something to do with luck.

Clearly, a tombola is going to be involved in any raffle. In fact, when that magical hour hits and it's time to draw the winning ticket, all eyes are on the tombola; it becomes the most important object in the room, for that brief moment even outshining the raffle prize itself. Given how important the tombola is, and how much attention it will receive, it's a good idea to come up with something creative to hold the Raffle Tickets. Here are a few suggestions, including some old stand-bys:

  • Fishbowl -- one of the easiest, but great for any nautically themed event
  • Hat – the classic one, especially because it can tailored by type of hat
  • Martini Shaker – perfect for small, high end raffles
  • Basket – decorated specifically for the occasion
  • Thermos – perfect for a back to school raffle
  • Bag/Bucket – for those last minute raffles

If you want to think outside the box (literally, as you could use a box for your tombola), something like a Jack O'Lantern would really be unique, and could be perfect for a raffle in the autumn. But why stay small? Imagine holding a raffle large enough where you can fill a child's wagon with tickets, then have a lucky youngster pick the winner!

The tombola – not just a drum, but a way to drum up interest!