10 FREE ways to choose a random winner

If you host prize draws on your website or social media then you need to have a demonstrably fair way of selecting your random winner(s). It’s not OK to choose a winner by scrolling through Instagram comments and stopping on a name you like, and it’s not OK to choose a Facebook comment at random because it makes you chuckle. A random prize draw (or sweepstakes) winner should be chosen fairly from all valid entries – and there are plenty of free tools that can help!

In the UK, all prize promotions should follow the CAP Code, which states:

8.24: Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.

If challenged, a promoter must be able to show that a winner was chosen at random. It’s sufficient to provide screenshots, spreadsheets or videos of a computer process that chooses at random – here I’ve shared ten FREE tools that can choose a random winner.

1. Random.org

This is the best way to choose your winner if you have access to a numbered list – eg. a spreadsheet of email addresses. On the website, enter the maximum number (eg. if you have 125 entrants, it’s 125) and click to generate a random number between 1 and 125. Then go back to your list – that number entry is your winner. You can also use their List Randomizer by pasting in your list of names – use this function, and your list will be shown in random order – most people choose the the top name/email address/entry as the winner.

www.random.org

2. Random Name Picker

The Random Name Picker is fun if you want to record or broadcast your random prize draw live. Simply click the arrow, paste in your list of names and click to select one at random from the spinning wheel.

www.abcya.com

3. Good Luck Fairy

This tool, by Fanpage Karma, is an easy way to choose a random winner for a Facebook prize draw. Enter the URL (link) for any public Facebook post and you’ll see a selection of options to choose from – likes, comments, reactions, etc. In addition, you can use a search term – for example to choose your random winner from people who commented with the correct answer.

www.fanpagekarma.com

4. Tweetdraw

Tweetdraw will give you a random winner for a Twitter retweet or hashtag promotion. Enter the tweet URL to select a random retweet (you can only link to one tweet for this method). You can also choose a random tweet using a set hashtag – this is a better option if you’ve sent several tweets about the competition.

www.competitionagency.com

5. GetComBot

GetComBot is an easy way to choose a winner for an Instagram comment prize draw. Simply give them your email address and a link to the Instagram post – you’ll shortly receive a link in your inbox to view a list of all the comments. Select options to specify if the winner had to tag 0, 1, 2 or 3 friends. Each comment will be a separate entry in the draw – if it’s only one comment allowed per entrant, select ‘Unique by user’ at the top. When you’re ready, click Get winner!

www.getcombot.com

6. Tintup

Tintup offer a hashtag picker tool for Instagram prize draws and sweepstakes – enter your hashtag and your email address. It’s a good idea to create a unique hashtag for your promotion – this could be a regram prize draw, or a competition where entrants upload original content.

www.tintup.com

7. Pick Giveaway Winner

Perfect for bloggers who run comment-to-win giveaways, install this WordPress plug in, and access it via your Tools menu. Select a blog post, and it will choose a random comment and display their name and email address. You can even tell it to discard multiple entries from the same person.

Pick Giveaway Winner

8. YouTube Random Comment Picker

Use this tool to select a winner from anyone who’s left a comment on a YouTube video. Enter the URL of your video, click Go then ‘Start raffle and pick random winner’.

www.commentpicker.com

9. Gleam

If you’re hosting a simple prize draw on your blog or website, Gleam is a flexible and clever embeddable widget that will effortlessly choose a random winner for you – simply click the ‘Draw winners…’ button when your giveaway ends.

www.gleam.io

10. Rafflecopter

Like Gleam, Rafflecopter offers a easy flexible way to host a prize draw with a random winner. Simply click the Entries tab to select your winner when the giveaway ends.

www.rafflecopter.com

Hopefully these tools will help you choose your random winner fairly!

When you’ve chosen your winner, read my blog post How to contact winners for the most reliable ways to contact them (and successfully get a reply!)

If you’d like more guidance on running a fair and successful prize draw, check my post on Hosting a Legal and Successful Blog Giveaway – or why not buy my e-book on running giveaways for just £1.99?

16 Responses

  1. Tamara Jackson says:

    I am looking for a free random name picker that allows for multiple entries per name (people are recognizing fellow employees for outstanding work, and there may be employees recognized by several people so I would want their names weighted accordingly). Any ideas? I don’t want an embeddable app.

    • Di says:

      Hmmm, can you import every nomination into a spreadsheet – including all duplicates – then simply use random.org to choose a numbered row from the spreadsheet?

  2. Brett says:

    Number 2, random name picker, appears to be a monthly subscription only. Is there a free option that I am missing somewhere on there site? That random name picker will be perfect for our group, if it were free.

    • Di says:

      To use the name picker you just click on the play button on screen, then type the list of names in – there’s no log in or registration required!

  3. Cristina G. says:

    Absolutely brilliant. I had no idea that I had so many options. I was panicking a bit. Phew!
    Random winners, bring it on!
    Thanks a bunch.

  4. C says:

    Anyone know how to do a random winner when you have two accounts doing a giveaway, how do you load up both sets of information?

  5. Andrey says:

    Giveawation did not work now with >150 comments… But getcombot.com is correct now. Yesterday i get more than 27,000 comments by it 🙂 Regards.

  6. MOKHTAR says:

    It’s a nice and informative post. I own a website and wanted to announce a winner for a USB flash drive for those who subscribed to our newsletter so now I can do that. Thank you very much.

  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much Di… you solved my problem.. i had just published my first giveaway blogpost.. thanks for Pick Giveaway Winner ☺

  8. Jamie says:

    Very interesting. I’m thinking about delving into prize draws myself using some kind of hybrid entry method (follow on Twitter and enter via online form on website to collect email addresses in a tidy CSV). I’ll follow your advice and give one of the free services above a try.. I guess if I come a cropper, so to speak I can always try a different service next time. What in your opinion is a good value of a prize, if say for instance I wanted to attract 1000 entrants?

  9. PrizeDeck says:

    Good article as always and good research too. We use random.org to select the winner but actually add an extra step or two in the process. We randomize the list of entrants first so the entrants are in no particular order on the list and then we randomize once again to get the winner. We then randomize those entrants remaining to select up to 5 runners-up in the event that the winner fails to claim their prize. We take screenshots of the process(es) and archive all spreadsheets/files of entrants. All our prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and it does not matter when you entered, how many likes/followers you have or any other stat/act which you think may give you preference/favour over another entrant!

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