Feel Like You'll Never Win Sweepstakes? Don't Give Up Yet!

Try these tips to turn your luck around

Frustrated Caucasian businesswoman using computer
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If you've been entering sweepstakes without luck, you might be starting to worry that you're just not cut out to be a winner. Maybe the giveaways are rigged or too many people enter for you to have a realistic chance of winning. Maybe sweepstakes simply don't work.

The truth is that sweepstakes do work, and the secret to winning them is patience, persistence, and a positive attitude. However, it's possible that you are making some mistakes that are decreasing the odds that you're going to win a prize. Before you give up on winning, ask yourself these questions.

Do You Have a Realistic Idea of How Long It Takes to Win?

Many people think that if they haven't won any prizes in the first few weeks after they started entering, they'll never win at all. While some people are lucky enough to have their name drawn right away, it usually takes a few months of entering a decent number of sweepstakes regularly for the prize notifications to start coming in.

Think about the timeframe of winning a giveaway looks something like this:

  1. The sweepstakes you're entering has to come to an end before anything can happen at all (the exception is instant sweepstakes, which give you a chance of finding out that you have won right away).
  2. After the giveaway has ended, the entries need to be checked and any incomplete or ineligible entries need to be disqualified and removed. 
  3. The next step is for the sponsor to draw potential winners and notify them. This process can take a while, especially if they are not able to reach some of their potential winners and must make a certain number of attempts to contact them and, if that fails, draw another winner and try again.​
  4. The potential winners (often) have to complete an affidavit and return it, and/or other required paperwork, to the sponsor. If any of the potential winners fail to complete this step, new winners must be drawn and the notification process must begin again.

This means that even if you submit an entry that ends up winning on your very first day of entering sweepstakes, it can take weeks or months before you find out that you are going to receive a prize. When you are feeling frustrated, remind yourself that for all you know, you could already have made a winning entry and that a prize notification could be on its way to you already.

Are You Entering the Right Sweepstakes?

All sweepstakes are not created equal. Some have great chances of winning, while others are long shots. By concentrating your efforts on the best sweepstakes to enter, you can win more quickly and reduce your frustration.

For example, if you are primarily entering those big-name sweepstakes that everyone's heard of, like the HGTV Dream Home Sweepstakes, PCH SuperPrize Giveaways, or sweepstakes from magazines, you're going to be competing with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of other entries, for just a few prizes. 

Now, there's nothing wrong with aiming for the stars and trying to win some of those high-publicity, life-changing prizes. But if you enter a good mix of sweepstakes types every day, you'll also be winning smaller (but still fabulous) prizes while you're waiting for your dream prize to arrive.​

Sweepstakes with lots of prizes are a good choice if you want to prove to yourself that you really can be a winner. More prizes mean more winners and better odds. You might also want to search out local sweepstakes which have very few entries compared to nationally-advertised giveaways.

Are You Maximizing Your Odds?

Only one part of winning sweepstakes is luck. The rest is being a smarter sweeper. There are only 3 factors that influence sweepstakes odds, and you can tweak those odds to be more in your favor. Taking advantage of bonus entries, picking sweepstakes that limit entry by certain age groups, and being sure to enter as often as possible are some ways to improve your odds of winning.​

The more sweepstakes you enter, the more chances you have to win. There are more sweepstakes out there than anyone has time to enter in a day, but by streamlining the amount of time it takes to enter each one, you can enter more sweepstakes in less time.

Are You Making Mistakes That Are Affecting Your Odds?

If you're wondering whether you're not winning anything because you're doing something wrong... well, it's possible. There are some common sweepstakes mistakes that many people make which lower their chances of winning.

Are you reading the sweepstakes rules? Do you have a typo in your sweepstakes information that's keeping sponsors from reaching you? Are you avoiding picking up the phone if you don't recognize the caller's number? If you can avoid making these mistakes, you'll increase your odds of winning.

Are You Being Patient Enough?

The hardest thing about sweepstakes for a new sweeper is that you haven't had any proof that people really do win sweepstakes.

Sadly, most people don't win overnight, and when you've been entering for months with no proof of a payoff, it's easy to give up. But many people have won when they were on the verge of giving up, and your very next entry could be the one that wins.

Stick with it, and focus on the fun of entering, the friendly sweepstakes community, and the excitement of thinking about what you could win, and the prizes will follow.

How to Stay Motivated Until the Wins Come In

If you feel like your motivation is flagging, it's a good idea to try to focus on making entering fun rather than wasting your time thinking about how long it's taking the prizes to arrive. For example, you could try a time-tested way of ​improving your luck. Or you can make yourself a cute lucky charm to boost your spirits. There are even some ​ways to win with no extra effort.

The hobby of entering sweepstakes isn't a get-rich-quick scheme (if it were, everyone would do it!). Oftentimes, the prizes you win will be fun, but not life-changing, and sometimes even useless. But if you have the patience to wait it out, sweepstakes can be very rewarding. So try to keep the frustration at bay and focus on the fun parts of entering, and you'll find that you really can be a winner after all!