Why a Winner Might Turn Away Your Prize & What to Do About It

Congratulations! You’ve won! You’ve announced a text sweepstakes winner, but unfortunately that person isn’t able or willing to collect the prize. So what happens now?

Here are some of the reasons why a winner might turn away your prize and what to do about it.

“I Don’t Believe it. Sounds Like a Scam.”

Some people are suspicious of any “you’ve won” messages. You can counteract that by reminding them where and when they entered. Send a link to the entry form, attach a copy of the official rules or point out the text message they received to jog their memory. A phone call, a letter on letterhead or forms like a liability release might help as well. In the end, your professionalism and insistence should convince them your promotion is legitimate.

To help with this from the beginning, your official rules should explain how and when you plan to notify winners and how much time they have to respond.

“Wait, I Have to Pay Taxes?”

Yes, that car or trip also comes with a tax bill from the IRS. Many are aware of that at this point, but for some it might still come as a surprise. Their next question will be, “How much will I have to pay in taxes?” The winner’s tax liability will depend on the value of the prize. And while that value is known, every person’s tax situation is unique, so you can’t really answer this question.

The best you can do is tell them they’ll receive a 1099 for the prize value and recommend they discuss the matter with a tax professional. If they don’t want the prize because of potential tax liability, let them know they can forfeit it and you’ll choose an alternate winner.

“I Won, But I Want My Friend to Have It.”

In your official rules, you must state whether or not the prize is transferable. Most sponsors don’t allow prizes to be transferred, but you may want to consider offering a cash option if the winner can’t or won’t accept the prize offered.

“I Can’t Take That Trip.”

If you’re giving away a trip or tickets to an event on a specific date, be prepared if a winner can’t accept the prize. We’ve had instances where winners couldn’t travel for various reasons, including surgery, health, family or work issues. Plan for this and spell it out in your Official Rules. In most cases, winners have to forfeit the prize if they’re unable to travel.

What Do the Official Rules Say?

While you’ll never be able to anticipate all of the reasons why a text sweepstakes winner might turn down a prize, being prepared for the most common ones is the best place to start.

Make sure your official rules spell out exactly what should happen in any scenario where the winner might not be able to collect the prize.

Build a loyal following for your brand with a text to win from Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.

What Should be Included in Text to Win Official Rules?

Are you ready to start your text to win promotion? Before you go any further, you’ll need to create your text to win Official Rules.

Not sure what to include? Here are some tips to help you get started.


Typically, text to win promotions are open to those over the age of 18 (or 21 for promotions sponsored by alcohol companies) for privacy and legal reasons.

In addition to age restrictions, you may also want to consider limiting the text to win to specific geographical locations to ensure that you can comply with all federal, state, and local laws in every location where entry is allowed.

Finally, employees and family members of employees of your company and the sponsor company are generally ineligible to win to eliminate potential claims of favoritism.

Start and End Dates

The start and end dates, known as the Sweepstakes Period, should be specified so that winners know when to enter so that their entries will be counted. For clarity, make sure to specify the day of the week and the date with the year, time, and time zone.

Stick to these dates even if you don’t receive the number of entries that you were hoping for so that you don’t run into trouble.

How to Enter

Entering by text message must be specified as one of the methods of entry. However, you must also specify an alternative method of entry (AMOE), which is usually a web sign up form.

Winner Drawing and Notification

Use this section to explain how you will pick a winner and how they will be told they won.

Make sure to specify how many winners will be selected and that the winners will be drawn randomly. You should also specify the exact dates when the winners will be selected.

Finally, let winners know all of the methods that you will use to notify them of a winning entry, such as SMS, mobile phone, and email.

Standard Text Messaging Disclosures

In this section, you will let entrants know that they are providing their consent and agreement to receive SMS messages by participating in the sweepstakes. Entrants should be notified that message and data rates may apply.

In addition, let them know that they are permitted to opt out at any time simply by replying STOP to any text message.

Also Read: Are You Complying with the Rules of Text Message Marketing?

Terms and Conditions

Finally, end your Official Rules with the terms and conditions that are not covered in the other sections of the Official Rules for your sweepstakes.

Here are some of the boilerplate clauses that you will need to include:

“No purchase necessary.”

“This Sweepstakes is void where prohibited.”

“Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Period.”

Sweeppea’s Text to Win Official Rules Wizard can help you get your text to win up and running quickly! To get started now, see features and pricing.

What to Include in Official Rules for your Text to Win Sweepstakes

How to Write Copy That Attracts Entries for Your Mobile Sweepstakes

Follow these copywriting tips to attract more entrants to your mobile sweepstakes.

Grab Attention with Your Title

Make your text to win stand out from the competition with a title that lures them in. It should also give them a clear idea of what to expect.

For example, “XBrand’s Italy Sweepstakes” is a bit bland, although it hints at the prize. “Explore Italy’s Finest Vineyards with XBrand Sweepstakes,” however, is much more exciting.

Describe the Prize Clearly

Just as you want the title to be alluring, the copy for the mobile sweepstakes description of the prize should be equally well-written.

Does the prize include airfare and hotel accommodations? Rather than a simply stated, “trip for two,” go further with “trip for two, including airfare and 4 nights at the X Beach Resort.”

Every little bit helps and this way your entrants will know exactly what they’re signing up to win. It could also give them more incentive to enter if the prize is especially good.

Also Read: Top Prize Ideas for Your Text Sweepstakes

Tell a Story About Your Brand

Once you hook them with the title or prize, draw readers in even further with storytelling elements. Use them to describe how the prize is related to your brand, how your brand or product got started or even what they will experience if they win. Write it in the second person as well (you/we instead of he/she) to keep it more personal.

For example, if you sell wine, help your entrants envision themselves sipping on their favorite variety of your brand’s wine while at the vineyard.

However, make sure to keep things concise. Readers have a limited attention span, especially when it comes to mobile content, so try to keep it short and sweet.

Include a Call-to-Action

A clear call-to-action is critical to ensure that users follow through with signing up for your sweepstakes. While a text-to-win has the easiest type of entry, you should still use your call-to-action to create a sense of urgency.

“Enter to win by Aug. 30th!” or “Ending soon!” may get them to enter right away.

Grow your customer list with a mobile sweepstakes from Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.

The Ultimate Checklist for Text to Win Success

We’ve seen many text to wins during our time. And when we look at the top sweepstakes promotions, there are usually a combination of steps that led to their success.

These things aren’t exactly secrets. But some of them are often skipped or not well thought out. And there’s no reason for that. We want everyone to have these steps at their fingertips, because your success is ours as well.

That’s why we’re giving away the ultimate checklist

Ultimate Checklist for Text to Win Success

It’s a blueprint that’ll take you through each step of building a great text sweepstakes. From planning to execution and assessment, each step is included and in many cases has a link to more detailed information on our site.

Click to read it online or download it as a PDF: Ultimate Checklist for Text to Win Success

Here’s to your success on your next text to win!

Text to Win Ideas for Back to School Promotions

Back to school text to win promotions are one of the biggest opportunities of the year to engage the parents and students in your audience.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), back-to-school season is the second largest retail shopping holiday in the U.S. Even if your brand doesn’t directly offer any products or services that are school-related, you can still benefit by partnering with retailers that your audience loves.

Consider adding the following promotions to your upcoming text to win calendar:

Back to School Text to Win Ideas With a Twist

If you’re wondering how you can make your back to school promotion stand out, here are a few text to win sweepstakes ideas to help you get started:

1. Win Back to School Supplies Sweepstakes

School supplies are one of the most basic needs for kids going back to school. However, instead of just doing an ordinary school supplies kit consisting of notebooks, pencils and pens, add some really cool prizes to the package.

Add headphones, a tablet, gift cards for food or gaming sites or other items that will help make kids look cool at school if they win. They’ll also be more likely to post their prizes to social media if you make them interesting.

2. College Dorm Makeover Text to Win

If your audience includes college kids, you can offer a sweepstakes for a total dorm room makeover. If students win, supply them with new bedding, furniture accessories for added built-in storage, and more while giving them the option to redo the room in any style that they prefer.

3. Partner With Retailers

If there is a retailer that your audience loves and the company offers merchandise that is perfect for back to school, consider a partnership and hosting a weekly sweepstakes. You can even choose multiple retailers so that you can give away items from a different retailer each week to add variety and increase the number of entrants.

Finally, don’t forget about offering consolation prizes to non-winners. They’ll appreciate coupons or discounts.

Spanish Language Back to School Promotions

Before you finalize your text to win promotion, don’t forget that Sweeppea offers the option to do text sweeps in Spanish. According to the NRF, Hispanic parents outspend other back to school shoppers. This year, Hispanic parents are expected to spend $148 more than the average non-Hispanic shopper this year. Make sure to tap into this growing demographic to increase your sales.

Get your audience ready for back to school with a text to win from Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.