January 27, 2015

How To Find and Enter Blog Giveaways for Packing More Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

This year I am depending on Blog Giveaway Wins as part of my "Packing OCC Shoeboxes For Free Experiment."  I will be seeing how many of my Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts I can pack for free.  Many readers have shown an interest in learning more about entering blog giveaways.  I will share my knowledge and personal experiences here.

How to find and enter blog giveaways to help fill Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Can you really win blog giveaways?  YES!!  Blog giveaways have much better odds of winning than giveaways from large companies.  But it is usually a large company sponsoring and fulfilling the prize, but less people enter on blogs.  I have entered giveaways with as little 35 entries and as many as 35,000.  My average odds are 1 in 100 chances of winning.  Check out some of my wins this past year below--they
have helped me pack many an OCC shoebox gift and with higher quality items than I could afford.

NOTE:  Most giveaways on U.S. blogs are for the U.S. only, but there are many that are international.  Especially fabric giveaways.  Once in a while I find one that is only Canada -- so look closely before you enter.

Some of my blog giveaway wins over the past year:







Operation Christmas Child filler
The old adage "before you find your Prince you must kiss a lot of frogs" is true for blog giveaways: Before you win a big prize you must enter a lot of giveaways.

Before You Begin Entering Blog Giveaways


  • Decide on an email you check often and use only it to enter the giveaways.  You usually must respond to winning emails within 48 hours or another winner is chosen.  You won't want to miss any wins.
  • Get a junk email for signing up for emails from the blogger or sponsors as extra entries in many giveaways.
    • You can also use the junk email for social media accounts that are useful for extra entries in the giveaways if you don't already have accounts (Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Facebook, Instagram, Etc.).
  • Decide if you want to sign up for the many social media accounts that you will come across that help you earn more entries.  That way you can just skip them if you have decided you don't want to or know to take the time to sign up when you come across an entry for one.
    • Make a Giveaway Board on Pinterest so you are ready when asked to pin one.
  • Decide what you want to enter for.  There are so many giveaways out there that spending the time to enter for a couple of head bands might not be the best use of time, you could be entering for a $50 gift card which would go further.  It can be exciting at first to find any giveaway to enter.  The upside of small prizes is there are often much fewer entries increasing your odds of winning.  It will take a while to get in groove of entering just what you want.

Finding Blog Giveaways

Before you can enter a blog giveaway you need to find them!  Once you start finding them, well, let's just say they seem to be like rabbits--they seem to multiply before your very eyes!
  • Search for "blog giveaway linkies" in a search engine
  • Once you enter a giveaway look around the blog you are entering on.  They often have several going on at once and are usually listed in their sidebar or in a tab at the top.
  • Often several blogs join together and host similar giveaways for special occasions -- when they do, each blog has a list of links of all the other giveaways listed in their post.  Often there are dozens!  So after entering the giveaway go to all the other links and enter any that fit your criteria of prizes you want to win.
  • Search Twitter for giveaways.
    • Search hashtags like #sweepstakes, #giveaways, #win.
    • When you find some visit the Twitter account and see if they often post giveaways. I have several I follow that almost exclusively tweet giveaways.  Here are a couple:
  • Search Pinterest for Giveaway Boards
  • There are sites where giveaways are listed, but I would rather go to the blog linkies and Twitter accounts as I think it is easier to navigate them and most have less entries than the ones listed on the giveaway sites.  Since I find more than I can enter I don't bother with them, but you might want to search for some.
  • Also, if you sign up for emails from the blogs that have many giveaways you can check the emails and find their latest giveaways.
How to Enter Blog Giveaways

  • Usually you will be asked to either leave a comment on the blog post or to fill out a giveaway form.
    • The two most common forms are Rafflecopter and GiveawayTools.
    • You sign in with your name and email address and then follow the instructions.
  • Some offer just one or two options of entries while others offer dozens of entry options.
  • Examples of the entry options are:
    • Leave a comment.
    • Follow  the blogger or the sponsor on Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin', etc.
    • Visit the sponsor site and find a favorite item.
    • Pin the giveaway or product.
    • Sign up for emails from either the blogger or sponsor.
  • Once in a while one will request a full address.  I skip these ones as I don't care to share too much info when not necessary.
Editing to add:  A reader came across an issue entering giveaways and thought others might be helped by the knowledge.  If you are on a blog where you need to leave a comment instead of filling out a form and you use a Blogger I.D. be sure your Blogger profile includes your email address.  Otherwise you will be a "no reply blogger" and there will be no way for the Blog owner to contact you unless you leave your email address in the comment.

Increasing Your Odds of Winning Blog Giveaways

  • Most blog giveaways give you several options for entries.  Obviously the more you do the better your odds of winning will be.
  • By belonging to more social networking sites that blog owners want you to share the giveaways on or to follow them on you can do more entries increasing your odds.
  • Many blog giveaways have daily options.  You can return daily to do them getting extra entries.  Examples include:
    • Tweeting
    • Pinning a blog post
    • Voting for the blog
    • I personally have not found much difference if I go back daily or not.  
      • I figure I can enter another half dozen new giveaways for every dozen or so I go back to do the daily items. I have chosen to no longer do the daily things.  If I happen upon one I have already entered I will go ahead and do the daily things since I am already there.
    • Many people, on the other hand, do think it makes a difference and take the time to return.  It may be something you want to test for yourself.
What if a Blog Giveaway Prize Doesn't Arrive?



  • Periodically a prize will not arrive in a timely fashion.  It is normal for them to take six weeks, many bloggers say contact them after eight weeks if a prize has not arrived.  I have had to do this several times.  And there are two prizes I have never received.  But overall the sponsors are pretty good about mailing out the prizes.
  • Make a "Blog Wins" folder in your email so you can find the contact information.
  • As prizes arrive delete the emails or transfer to a "Prize Received" folder.
    • I actually keep a spreadsheet with a link to the giveaway and the contact information and date when I was notified of the win and when the prize came.
    • I also keep a Winnings file in my email for easy access for contacting.
  • If after eight weeks you don't have your prize, contact the blogger and let them know.
    • If you don't hear back from the blogger, try again.  If you still don't hear back you can contact the sponsor.
    • A blogging friend told me she has contacted companies thru their Facebook pages with great success.
    • I had one that I contacted the blogger three times with no response.  I found the sponsors' website and filled out a contact form.  I not only received the prize within a few days, but the $100 gift card I won was turned into a $125 gift card instead.
It takes just a few minutes to enter a giveaway.  By entering several each day you should be able to win enough to make a big difference in your Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing. The more time you have the more you can enter and win.

It is easy to get discouraged the first few weeks if you don't get any winning emails.  Blog giveaways often have end dates a few weeks after you enter.  This means you will enter dozens but none will end for 2 to 4 weeks meaning you will continue entering for a few weeks before you could possibly win one.  Commit to one month of regular entering before you decide it doesn't work.  I find I often go two to three weeks with no wins and then win three or four in one week.  So hang in there.  When you do win a great prize it makes it worth entering several dozen to get it.

Blog giveaway wins help fill Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

I mostly focus on Gift Card Giveaways so I can get what I need for my shoe box stockpile.  I think my favorite win so far was my $250 Kohl's Gift Card!  I was able to get over $1000 worth of high quality products for my shoe boxes with it. You can see all that I got here:  Kohl's Operation Chirstmas Child Shoebox Fillers Shopping Spree ~ $1200+ for $0 Out of Budget.

I would love to hear your experiences with blog giveaways.  Have you entered many? Have you won?  If you decide to start after reading this post I'd love to know.  And WHEN you win I'd love to celebrate with you!  Let me know!  Happy Entering!

6 comments:

Jackie said...

Thank you. I never thought it would pay off but based on what you said I will give it a try. I will let you know if I get anything. I guess someone needs to win!

Cheryl said...

You are right, someone has to win. I have won on some with well over 20,000 entries! Just remember, it may take some time. Or you may be like my friend I got entering and she won $50 from Amazon in her first week entering!! Consistency in entering and organization so it doesn't take a lot of time seem to be key.

JRFrugalMom and Family said...

This is a fantastic post Cheryl!

You know I agree with you about everything, and yes consistency and organization means everything.

I've won so many gifts for my kids, and even the rest of our relatives that we give gifts to for birthdays and holidays, it helps out so much on our budget. I've also used gift cards won to buy clothes for all the kids.

Cheryl said...

JR, thanks again for inspiring me to enter giveaways; and for your great ongoing linky of giveaways.

Denise Marie said...

Can't thank you enough for your gracious spirit!! Can you help me figure out how to get the fb, pinterest, google button displayed at the top of my blog so I'm in synch with myself??

Cheryl said...

LOL love it "in synch with myself." Denise send me an email explaining exactly what you are looking for and I'll see if I can do a good explanation for you. You can find my contact info in the contact link at the bottom of the blog.


             
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