1. Own Creations. If you like making things - sewing, painting, drawing, scrapbooking, jewellery making, web design - then you'll have plenty of sources of prizes.
2. Personal Services. Not in to creating things? Well - what about offering your services? Or, getting a friend/contact to offer their services? Some popular prizes may include: free critiques, free web site design/logo design, free guest post/content, and free advice on a specific area of specialty. Maybe even something like: "I'll leave 10 comments on your blog for 1 month." or something similar may even work.
3. Beta Invites. There's always a new application or service coming out online. If you happen to be one of those who get a hold of such accounts in the early stages and you get invites to give away, why don't you offer them up as prizes on your blog? I do this on a regular basis - and I even remember Gmail invites being quite popular when they first came out.
4. Free Merchandise. There are several ways to obtain these types of merchandise - from receiving them during holidays and conferences to soliciting them from vendors. I know many bloggers approach relevant business contacts to ask for products to review and/or to giveaway. And, this is much easier if your blog has a specific target audience. So yes - it's definitely worth asking. I know I've managed to get a few items for my contests in this way.
Bonus Tip: Many bloggers go to Profnet and register there as a journalist/blogger. They then post an opportunity, soliciting prize donations from various people who're on the Profnet network. Just make sure you have enough space in your inbox, in case you get inundated with offers. It's always good to be as specific as possible when posting an opportunity there - so they know where you're planning to use items - and how.
5. Other Merchandise. If you're feeling extra generous, you might want to consider actually buying or collecting merchandise to give away to your readers. I know some bloggers who actually go out of their way to shop for thoughtful presents to use for their raffles.
6. Gift Certificates. This is especially great because it avoids shipping fees. You can buy gift certificates easily from various online shops like Amazon, among many other places.
7. Pro Subscriptions. Other than gift certificates, pro subscriptions is another good way to save on shipping fees and still offer good prizes. Subscriptions to newspapers and other publications plus services like Flickr and Picnik, are just a few things to keep in mind.
8. Cash. Yes, cash. Or cheque or Paypal money. People always get excited to win some extra moolah. And, no - they don't have to big amounts of money either. Of course, the effect of giving away $5 compared to $50 will be different. But, still... 🙂
9. Ad Spaces/Links. If you sell ad spaces or text links on your blog, giving them away as a prize can also be worth doing. This is especially useful for people who has something to promote - either their own blogs or website - or their online shops/services. Even their affiliate links!
10. Charitable Donations. This is another great way to offer a prize - and give back to a greater, wider community. You can offer this type of prize in honour of the winner (or another person of their choosing). And/or, you can offer to donate a certain amount to the winner's chosen charitable organisation.
If you have any other prize ideas that you like to share, your suggestions will be more than welcome in the comment section.
Photo: Copyright, Shai Coggins.