Mail-in Sweepstakes Basics

When entering sweepstakes by mail there are some best practices you should follow to make sure you don’t get disqualified. There are also some things in sweepstakes official rules you may not understand so let me also explain them.

No Mechanically Reproduced Entries Allowed

When you see a sentence like this in the official rules, “no mechanically reproduced entries allowed”, they are talking about making up one entry and then photocopying it or reproducing it in any other way besides hand writing each one individually. You usually have to hand-write your information on the card or paper.

What is a #10 Envelope?

A #10 envelope is considered a standard business-size envelope. You can buy a box of them at any grocery, drug, or office supply store. You will also find them at all big box (Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc.) stores. It is an envelope that measures 4-1/8″ x 9-1/2″ in size and is usually white. When a sweepstakes tells you in the official rules to use a #10 envelope this is what they are talking about. You will probably get disqualified if you use something else. Most likely they want all of the envelopes to be the same size so they can stack them and organize them in bins.

Handwritten Entries and Envelopes

When a sweepstakes tells you in the official rules that your entry must be hand written they are usually talking about handwriting your information on the paper or card. That is your actual entry, not the envelope. Sometimes they will also tell you to hand-print your envelope too. This usually means they want you to hand-print the address you are sending the entry to and they are not telling you to hand print your return address.

Return Address Labels

Some sweepers don’t include a return address on the envelope but I always do. I do this in case the sweepstakes address is incorrect or it closes early. My entries would come back to me and that tells me to stop entering this sweepstakes.

I make my own return address labels with my laser printer. You can also write your return address on the envelope if you don’t have labels. It’s totally up to you whether you include a return address or not. There is no way to know if it will disqualify you by not including it. The only time you know for sure is if the rules specifically state you must have a verifiable return address on the envelope. Then it is definitely required.

Secret Word #1: envelopes

Filling out the Envelope Correctly

When writing out your envelope, make sure to write the sweepstakes address exactly as it is given in the official rules. If they include special characters such as a copyright © symbol, make sure you write it. Make sure you use proper capitalization and punctuation. Basically, copy it exactly as you see it in the rules.

Your format should look something similar to this:

Name of Sweepstakes
Street Address
City, State, Zip

Always print legibly. Do not write in cursive. Try to remember what you did in kindergarten and make your printing straight and neat. If they can’t read your envelope or entry may not even arrive and you could lose out on a prize. Spell words correctly and when you fill out your phone number always include your area code.