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How To Be a Responsible Sweeper

Title Abbreviations Explained Here


Be ResponsibleSweepstakes were never intended to be a hobby and they are not designed with the sweepstakes enthusiast, or sweeper, in mind. A sweepstakes, first and foremost, is a marketing and promotion tool for the company who sponsors it. They use it to promote their business to gain more customers and ultimately make more money – plain and simple.

==>> She’s not sharing, no way, no how!

Not everyone is going to agree with me when I say that you should enter sweepstakes responsibly. I am not going to tell you what to do or how to think. I am just sharing my opinions, what I believe, and always giving you something to think about. If you have been reading long enough you will know that I am “persnickety” when it comes to certain things like thanking the sponsor, being grateful for what you win, and not entering for prizes you don’t need.

Therefore, if we as the hobbiest want to maintain a good relationship with the sponsors so that they continue to sponsor sweepstakes we should “think before we act” and enter sweepstakes with certain things in mind.

When Not To Enter a Sweepstakes

You Aren’t Eligible

You should not enter a sweepstakes if you are not eligible. When you are reading the official rules there will be an eligibility section in there that will tell you the age you need to be, whether the sweepstakes is restricted to certain states, or if it is only intended for a specific group of people, like nurses, teachers, smoker, military personnel, etc. If you don’t qualify, you shouldn’t try to enter. Why? If you are picked as a winner you may have to prove that you fit into one of those restrictions set forth in the official rules. If it is a military sweepstakes you have to give a copy of your military ID and if you don’t have it you don’t get the prize.

Prizes You Don’t Want

Don’t enter if you really don’t want the prize. That is my motto. If you don’t want it for yourself, can’t give it to someone else who does want it, can’t sell it, or are entering just to get something free then I say don’t enter that sweepstakes. Leave it for someone else who does want it. Why do I need a Barbie doll anyway when I don’t have kids? And why enter for prizes you don’t need or want when they are literally millions of prizes out there to be won at any given moment?

Yes, there is a huge thrill in winning prizes but what is the point of getting something you don’t want and having it go into a drawer or closet? Is the thrill that important?

Don’t have kids but you entered to win a trip to Disney anyhow? Why? That trip can’t be given away to someone you know with kids. Hate golfing but you entered to win golf clubs? Why? Entered to win woman’s hosiery but you are a man? Well, okay, we’ll just stop right there.

If you win a trip, you usually can’t give it away to someone because trips are non-transferable. And most of the time you can’t get a cash alternative for prizes either. There are always exceptions to the rule though. Of course, some prizes could be used as gifts. I am just saying, be selective about what you enter, and don’t just enter to win something just to get something for nothing. Go to Walmart.com if you want something for nothing and request one of their free samples. They have new ones every week. Let someone else win what you really don’t want.

Taxes, taxes, and more taxes

Make sure you read the value of the prizes listed in the official rules. If you think you couldn’t or wouldn’t want to pay taxes on something like a $7,000 trip, then don’t enter for it. You always have to claim prizes as “other income,” and depending on what you already earn, it could bring your income much higher than you expected and you could owe a huge tax bill. As a recent big winner found out, a $50,000 prize could cost you $17,000 in taxes which is roughly 30% of the value of that prize. However, if you are willing to pay the taxes and can figure out a way to do it or sell the prize then go for it.

The Responsibility Project

Dissing the Sponsor

A responsible sweeper never talks down to the sponsor, yells at them because they didn’t get their prize on time, it wasn’t what they wanted, or something got messed up along the way. Hello – these are people too. So you didn’t really want that $1.50 coffee sample that took 4 weeks to show up but hey, you entered for that and you won it. Yes, you wanted the shiny new car but you didn’t get it. Be grateful for what you received and move on to the next sweepstakes. Okay, I know I sound like your mother so go make your bed and eat your peas already.

Maybe you will win what you want at another time. And, if you need to call the judging agency or sponsor be kind and remember that they are human too. In all of the years I have entered sweepstakes and won prizes I have never had a problem I couldn’t solve and in the end it all works out. You have to be patient sometimes but that is just common courtesy.Never go on a trip where the sponsor or judging agency is present and complain about it. Or talk about how you like their competitors product better than theirs. Or, tell them that you enter sweepstakes all of the time and win lots of prizes – like ho hum, this is just another notch on my belt. Very bad form indeed! (thank you Captain Hook)

Sending Thank You Notes

It is very good form to send a thank you note to the sponsor or judging agency when you win a big prize. I usually wait until the prize is over $1,000 before I do it. It can be simple and to the point. You can say how the prize made a difference in your life and send a picture. Sponsors are people too – see real people reference above – and like to here thank you just like the next guy.

What Will You Give To Those in Need

I got a bit ticked off last year when a long-sweeper I know won over and over and over, racking up $85,000 in prizes I believe in one year. She ranted and raved about this trip and that trip, and lots of cash and gift certificates and on and on. Was that the problem? Absolutely not! I am always happy to see people who work hard win big.

The problem I had is she never gave back; never lifted a finger to help those in her group or encourage anyone else.

Okay, here’s my little story. When my kids were little we had a coffee can and it had that phrase on the side of it – What Will You Give to Those in Need? (yes, I was big into craft projects) They would get allowance each week and they were required to put something in that can. It was to teach them that, okay, you were given something but there are those you have needs out there that you can meet and you should give back. I’m not sure if it taught them anything but it was the principle of the thing.

I also learned along the way that you don’t have to give money. I have never had money to give but what I do have is knowledge. I have been given a gift of teaching and for a long time it was quilting, then computers, software, web design, then sweepstakes, how to get stuff for free, and how to blog and make money. Whatever I learn I just pass on to someone who comes along who needs it.

When it comes to the world of sweepstakes maybe you share sweepstakes with someone else, help them figure out the rules, help them get votes in a contest, give out codes for sweeps that need them, or just give a little encouragement. That last one is a biggie because we all get discouraged and want to give up at times.

Okay, you can hate on me now and call me the devil of Sweepsdome. Yes, the horns are real. I’m jumping down off this tall soap box and returning to normal (whatever that is). I’ve had this post ready to go for sometime and just finished it now so it isn’t intended to be directed at anyone. I just wanted to share my philosophy for ethical sweeping and for better or worse, this is it.


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Comments

  1. Barbara B says:

    Totally agree with the article, and with Jacqueline in Atlanta. I always thank the employees and sponsors of whatever I win, and recently sent a handwritten formal thank you card to the management of the local Red Robin for my free birthday burger.

    When I first started I entered a few attractive contests without reading all the terms and rules first, then read Sweetie's articles about sweeping and went back and looked at all of them. There were a few that I had entered which just weren't suitable and I stopped entering, but of course won the grand prize in one, a lovely hotel and Broadway show package in NYC that I had really wanted before I found out that it didn't include air fare. It WAS thrilling to win and get the call, but I thought about it, and rather than bet on a long shot of winning the air fare too, I forfeited the prize so it can go to someone else. Being greedy won't bring me abundance, but I really believe that taking right action and being thankful will.

  2. Wendy I just save this article as a bookmark on stumbleupon hopefully someone stumbling will stumble across this treasure! Also I plan on sending a picture when I receive my gift card I won! Thanx again for not only the win but your encouragement through this blog!

  3. Amen, sister! I feel exactly the same way and I thank you for what you do!

  4. Shelly S. says:

    You’re absolutely right! Thank so much Sweetie for your site and helping all of us out.

    I also wanted to say that I had emailed you a question a couple weeks ago about winning on the Claritin site. I read above what you wrote and just now realized that I hadn’t written you back yet and thanked you for replying to my question…
    So thank you so very much your help with every thing!!

    …Shelly S.

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