Imagine for a moment that it's your lucky day, and a sponsor or a judging agency has drawn your name to be the winner of their sweepstakes. The big question now is: how will you know that you've won?
There are six commonly-used methods that sponsors use to notify their winners. The specific notification method used should be listed in the rules of each sweepstake, but here is an overview so you’ll know what to expect.
Many sweepstakes will send a winning notice to the email address used on their entry form. Email notifications will sometimes include an attachment with the sweepstakes rules and an affidavit to print out and return, or a link to a website where more information can be found. This is why it's very important to check your sweepstakes email frequently!
It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with what winning emails look like, to make it less likely that you'll overlook a win.
Notification by Mail:
Another popular method of notifying sponsors is to send a letter by postal mail. The letter may arrive by postal service or via a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. Oftentimes, sponsors will require an affidavit or another response before they actually ship the prize.
Telephone Call from the Sponsor:
Some sponsors will call their winners to notify them that they have received a prize. Oftentimes, the sponsor will try to reach the winner a certain number of times and then move on to the next name on the list. It's common that no answering machine messages will be left to notify you about wins, so be sure to use a telephone number where you can easily be reached! See how to use call forwarding for tips on not missing your prize.
Instant win sweepstakes will notify you right away if you have won, usually by a message on your computer screen. Sometimes you will have to fill out additional information, such as a shipping address, after the win message is displayed. See what instant sweepstakes are for more information.
Announcement on a Website or Newsletter:
Some sweepstakes only announce winners on a website or in a newsletter. If you don't respond within a certain time, they will give the prize to the next name that they draw. Be sure to make yourself a reminder to check back to see who won if this notification method is mentioned in the rules! One way to avoid overlooking win announcements is to use Google Alerts.
The Prize Appears at Your Door:
Once in a while, a prize will simply appear on your doorstep with no prior warning whatsoever. This is what I call a surprize. This is why so many sweepers feel their hearts jump every time they see a delivery truck!