Competitions and prize draws
Competitions and prize draws come in all different shapes and sizes and are sometimes run by companies as a way of getting new customers interested in their products and services. This is on a similar line to some companies who dish out free samples. But with a free sample, you only get a small taste of what the company has to offer, whereas with a prize draw or competition you get something worth having at the end if you are lucky enough to win.
Entering these competitions can be really entertaining and exciting. You can also learn something too if the answers involve some sort of research on behalf of the person taking part.
My experience of winning.
I entered my first competition when I was seven years old. The local schools and the library got together and ran a competition for local children to enter. We had to write a poem about Spring. I entered the competition because I enjoyed writing and poetry. A few days later I was told that I had won a prize and I had to go and pick it up from the local library. The prize was an Easter Egg and I was delighted with it.
That was many years ago now, and since then I have entered many sorts of competitions . I have been lucky enough to win some really interesting prizes including; food hampers, tickets for days out, a pair of sunglasses, cosmetics , bubble bath, soap, homewares, supermarket vouchers and books
Online competition sites
Of course nowadays the internet is full of competition websites. I have joined some of these myself and I always find them helpful. These websites do not normally run the competitions themselves but they do provide links to other websites that are running them.
These websites are always free to use and anybody can use them although it is better if you join their mailing list and then they will send you links to competitions as soon as they get them. This means that you will not miss out on the chance to win a competition in your chosen category.
There are several categories of competitions on these sites including; holidays, experiences, food, fashion, music, books, children`s competitions and a `misc' section that covers anything not included in the given categories.
Several years ago, I subscribed to a printed magazine that was sent out once a month . This very basic magazine had pages and pages of good advice on how to find, enter and win competitions. The magazine publisher managed to find information about lesser known competitions .
I also used to join well known brand members clubs where you sent in your name and address and certain companies would send you a printed newsletter magazine a few times a year which would also contain information on competitions being run by that company. I was once lucky enough to win a huge Indian food hamper from a well known food producer .
If you already enjoy reading well known magazines you will have seen competitions in them. Sometimes the people who own the magazine run the competitions themselves, and other times they are run on behalf of their advertisers. These competitions are often just open to subscribers of the magazine and not to the general public. This is good in a way because it gives the entrants more chance of winning. Magazines can be found on lots of different subjects and the competition prizes often reflect the subject of the magazine.
Like the first competition I entered, many local business owners, schools, clubs and other organisations hold competitions for people who live nearby. Information on these can be found in local newspapers and libraries. My local paper is well known for it`s big competition event a few weeks before Christmas when local shops and business owners get together and promote their services through holding prize draws. These are always popular with readers of the paper.
Prize draws and competitions are often seasonal with Christmas being one of the busiest. You can find prizes to be won including ; food hampers, drinks, pet products, event tickets and days out .
Summer is also a good time with holidays, day trips and outside experiences being offered as prizes.
For many years now, well known brands have tried to promote their products by offering a prize draw to their customers. These sort of prize draws will include proof of purchase which may be a receipt or a label to prove that the entrant is a genuine customer.
Sometimes the shops themselves offer prize draws to their customers with vouchers to be used in their shop as prizes. This is how I once managed to win £100 worth of vouchers for my local supermarket.
Although entering competitions can be a nice activity to have as a hobby, it does have a dark side. Especially with online competitions, you do have to be careful who you give your details to. Never give anyone your banking or credit card details because there are many unscrupulous people out there who will pretend to be running a prize draw or something similar in order to get your information.
A good example of this happened to me when I entered a prize draw that was supposedly being run by a very well known drinks company. The day after I entered, I got an email saying that I had won a lot of money and if I gave this company my details they would transfer my prize to my bank account. Luckily I did not give them my details and I avoided what could have been a financial disaster for myself.