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/spreadsheet – 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

(see also my guide on how to run a Facebook competition)

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

(see my guide on how to run an Twitter giveaway)

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

(see my guide on how to run an Instagram giveaway)

6. Tintup

NOTE: As of 2018, Tintup no longer works – I’ve yet to find a free alternative for tracking all entries using an Instagram hashtag!  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 join my mailing list for promoters and bloggers by clicking here.

This post contains affiliate links

39 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this information.

  2. Antonia says:

    Hi Di,

    Great post!
    I’m looking to launch a Facebook comment competition and I was thinking to pick a winner by time the comment was posted because the idea of the contest it that whoever publishes their comment last by a set time gets the prize. My question is do you know any winner picker tools that has time figure amongst other post data to export?
    Thanks

    • Di says:

      Ah – last comment wins. I hate those! It encourages people to spam with comments, looks messy and has the big risk that entrants will get banned from commenting on Facebook for a week (it wouldn’t be good for your page to be responsible for that ban!). I’m afraid I don’t know of a tool that downloads precise timestamps for Facebook comments!

  3. mahsa says:

    i have decided to use getcombot but will it work if i close my comments on that Instagram post?

    • Di says:

      No – Getcombot can only see what’s public (as it doesn’t actually log in to your Instagram account) so you would have to leave the comments visible until the draw had been done.

  4. I’m looking to do a Facebook drawing giveaway away what would be the best way to do this

  5. Mei says:

    Hi! I’m doing an Instagram giveaway where users can tag others for additional entries. So if someone tags 4 different people in addition to following all the rules they’ll have 5 entries. Will one of these sites work for this? Thanks!

    • Di says:

      You can – but you would have to specify that they tag each one in a new comment – ‘tag up to 8 friends in seperate comments and receive a bonus entry for each’ for example. Use http://www.getcombot.com but DON’T check the ‘Unique by user’ box – then every comment is a new entry. If your giveaway has started though, unfortunately you’ll need to manually create a spreadsheet for this one!

  6. Sam ng says:

    we use lucky draw kit for our events

  7. Bongenie says:

    Our club has several drawings every year at our Christmas party with runner-ups in the event a winner can’t use the prize which may be a trip. Usually, my friend and I are the ones cutting up all the little pieces of paper to put in a hat for multiple drawings. This would be wonderful, except I wondering if it will accommodate about 200+ names with many multiples and having a total of approximately 1500+ entries. How would we eliminate duplicate drawings in that case? Is it possible to just draw again if a duplicate is drawn either for a winner or a runner-up?

    • Di says:

      I”m not sure I fully understand this one! Why are there duplicate names in the draw? Would it be easier to give each entrant/member a numbered raffle ticket to avoid cutting up names to go into a hat?

      • Bongenie says:

        We have over 500 members. For every hour a member volunteers. whether it’s cooking, cleaning, teaching, attending meetings, etc, that member earns 1 chance into the yearly drawing provided he logs it into our point book and it’s entered into our point spreadsheet. Hence, at the end of the year, some members may have 20 hours (20 chances) and others may have 200 hours (200 chances). It seems this is the only way to encourage people to volunteer throughout the year. As you can imagine, numbered raffle tickets would also be a hassle not taking in to consideration the cost of tickets. Since I input the names, hours, etc of those who volunteer into a spreadsheet, I thought it would be easier to copy the list and paste it in the Random Name Picker and let it pick the names and alternates during our holiday party. I tried it with a partial list and it worked but it seemed to choose the same name multiple times. That’s why I was questioning if there was a way to eliminate duplicate names once a name is drawn.

        • Di says:

          Ah I see! It’s a similar problem to the reply below. I can’t find any free tools that enable you to do this online. My suggestion (as below) would be to have someone at the drawing with a computer/tablet showing a spreadsheet of all entries (in name order) then use random.org to draw a winning row. That winner’s entry rows are then all deleted from the spreadsheet, and then use random.org to draw again.

  8. Sharifah Syahirah Tuan Abdul Rahim says:

    Hi, this is a great article. But which one is the best to use for a lucky draw? because I need to find on online generator to pick out lucky draw winner for multiple sessions during our Annual Dinner. So, those who already being picked out, will not get another chance to win again, how do I do that yea? Please help me. Thank you.

    • Di says:

      Random.org is your best bet! Simply have a spreadsheet with all your attendees in (numbered) and then have a new browser window with random.org. For example, with 250 attendees – put in 1 and 250 to random.org. When you’ve got your first winning number, announce it and then move their name to the end of your attendee list (number 250) and then use random.org to choose between 1 and 249. Then move your next winner to the bottom of your list again, and choose again between 1 and 248. Does that make sense?

  9. Thanks for sharing this nice information.

  10. Hi, Have you seen the Good luck Fairy now requires you to give them access to your Facebook page (the default options which come up if agreed to would have given them full access to my Facebook and Instagram. And then they ask for a GDPR form to be completed which asks for full name, address and a load of information they have no reason to have! I can appreciate they made need access to a page (although the information is publicly visible so not sure why) but it all seems a bit much so I canceled out of it.

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Michelle says:

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

  18. 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?

  19. 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!

  1. 30/09/2018

    […] enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on my blog by Sunday, October 7, 2018. I will then randomly choose three winners and announce the results on my […]

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