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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giveawation’s website doesn’t have the best grasp of the English language, but it’s an easy way to choose a winner for an Instagram like or comment prize draw. You’ll need to authorize them to access your Instagram account, and then choose the relevant photo from your stream. Tick boxes to specify the entry requirements – you can even specify that the winner tagged a certain number of friends, or used a hashtag in their comment. By default, your winner and photo will show on the Giveawation front page – change this to NO if you want it kept private.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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!)