Giveaways: Worth Your Time or Not?
I'm at the unfortunate point in our cloth diapering journey where I have enough diapers, but I still want more diapers. There are so many different styles and prints that I want to try on our baby!! Unfortunately, we really do have all of the diapers that we need in a good rotation. I would feel silly to spend more of our clothing budget on diapers that we don't need.
So, I've come to a solution. First of all, I'm going to earmark my bottle & can recycling money for extra cloth diapers and nonessential diaper-related accessories. Second, I've been conducting a little experiment for the past several weeks, spending a few minutes per week entering giveaways. This week I participated in six. I'm pretty sure the giveaways won't yield much, but I thought I would try it for a year or so and see what happens. Several diaper companies have a weekly giveaway, and many of the small retailers have giveaways now and then as well.
Most of the time these giveaways are done on Rafflecopter, where you can see exactly how many people have entered (and therefore, calculate your chances of winning). You can enter multiple times by doing things like 1) liking a Facebook page, 2) following an Instagram account, 3) following a Twitter account, 4) tweeting about a giveaway, 5) commenting on a blog post, or 6) just taking advantage of a free entry. Most giveaways are hosted on Rafflecopter, but some are done on a Facebook page or Instagram account alone. If you want to enter multiple ones every week, you should probably have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Most of the time entries do not require that you spam your social media friends, but I'll admit I have retweeted more than my fair share of giveaway announcements. My apologies if you follow me on Twitter.
Another helpful thing to do is set reminders on your phone for the weekly giveaways.
How to Calculate Your Chances of Winning
Why calculate your chances of winning? So you can ignore the giveaways with 400 participants and focus on the ones with 20 or 30 participants.
To put it simply, this is how to calculate your chance of winning:
(6 entries) divided by (4004 total number of entries) = 0.001498501. We can round up the last number to 0.0015, then to 0.002. That means you have a 0.2% chance of winning the giveaway.
My chances have been anywhere between 0.3% and 5%. If I enter five giveaways per week with a 5% chance of winning, theoretically I should win one prize per month at the cost of (2 minutes per giveaway) 40 minutes of my time. On the other hand, I would have to enter the 0.3% giveaways 333 times to win a prize. Not only would this take a long time to do (1.3 years* at five giveaways per week), it would also cost me a lot of time. 10 minutes per week doesn't sound like a lot, but if you do it for 66 weeks, that means it took 660 minutes, or 11 hours to win a prize. Because most prizes aren't worth more than $20.00, in a best-case scenario your hourly rate for entering 0.3% giveaways would be $1.81 per hour.
$1.81 is more or less what I can earn collecting pop cans. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but the difference between recycling pop cans and entering giveaways is 1) the income (and therefore, PRIZE) is almost guaranteed, and 2) I'm exercising, enjoying nature and not being on my phone or computer.
"Bethany!" you say, "Do you realize that you just spent 30 minutes figuring out what your chances are at winning a giveaway and earned $0.00 per hour?" Yes, I do. However, there are obviously a lot of people out there spending the time to enter these giveaways (400 people on the last one I checked), and they think it's worth their time to do so. I want to remind everyone that you are guaranteed to win prizes if you spend your time doing something that is sure to earn money. Then you can spend the money on "free" prizes.
Does that mean I'm going to stop entering giveaways? Probably not. Although, now that I've done the math I realize that I could spend 20-30 hours writing an ebook for Amazon and guarantee myself a prize every other month or so, I'm not sure giveaways are worth my time after all.
Giveaways Are Like Playing the Lottery
Gasp! Yes, entering giveaways is like playing the lottery, with one fundamental difference: it's free. When you play the lotto game, you're losing time (buying the ticket, scratching it off, throwing it in the ditch) but you're also wasting money. Whether it's $1.00 or $20.00 you're flushing down the proverbial toilet, it's still money that you'll never see again. With free online giveaways, at least the dollars are staying in your pocket.
Have you ever won a giveaway?
Did you keep track of how many you entered in order to win?
Til next time,
*When entering cloth diaper giveaways, keep in mind that you are only going to be cloth diapering for 2-3 years per child. If it takes 1.3 years to win a prize... you'll have to find a better way to supply your stash.