How often do YOU enter each competition? Do you concentrate all your efforts on just a few competitions at a time, perhaps sending in entries on behalf of all your family and friends, or do you frantically try to enter every competition you see, eventually having to admit that there just isn't enough time to make just ONE entry to all the ones you want to enter? I must admit, I belong to the latter camp. I would love to have the time to work through every competition out there, putting an entry in to every single one whose prize I fancy, but sadly I haven't yet found any competitions where the prize is 24 hours of uninterrupted free time, so I just can't keep up.
I imagine the price of postage has put most of us off doing multiple entries to postal competitions these days - the rules almost always say "One entry per envelope" so you can't save on stamps that way. But I have noticed recently that quite a few entry forms are giving Freepost addresses, so as long as the rules permit, it wouldn't cost too much to send in more than one entry. Some people go to extreme lengths though - a representative from a handling house once told me that in a competition they ran a few years ago, one student was so determined to win the car prize that he got all his friends to spend many hours writing out thousands and thousands of entries - so many that in the end he had to hire a van and deliver them all to the handling house in person. And did he win? Well, yes, he did, but it made them think hard about how many entries it is reasonable to accept from one person and have introduced a rule that says "entries must be in individual, stamped envelopes" so hand delivered entries are no longer acceptable. (And do remember that when it says "stamped" it means stamped and not franked, so no trying to slip your entries through the office franking system - they won't be accepted).
The same person told me that when a rule says "one entry per person" and they get multiple entries from people living at the same address, they start to get suspicious if there are more than half a dozen entries from the same address and are likely to check it out. If it turns out to be an ordinary house and not something like a hall of residence or nurse's home they will consider disqualifying the entries - so if you tend to enter on behalf of your cats, hamsters and goldfish you may be reducing your chances rather than improving them.
How many mobile phones do you have? I know of compers with batteries of them lined up on the desk, so they can enter every text competition dozens of times. As with postal competitions, I would be put off by the time and cost involved. I did have two phones for text comps for a while, but I was very half-hearted about using my second phone and only ever won one small prize with it. I lost it about 6 months ago - I think it's down the back of the book case somewhere - and I can't honestly say I have missed it. I'm just not organised enough to keep up multiple personalities, and in any case my one trusty phone has won me some wonderful prizes including two fantastic holidays so I think I will stay loyal to it.
How about online competitions? Many websites only allow you one entry - and they can very easily tell if you have entered on behalf of other people by tracking your IP address. But the good news is that almost all of them will still allow your first entry, disqualifying further ones made from your computer, so you still get one entry into the draw even if you enter for several people (or enter for yourself more than once, whether by accident or design). What about competitions that allow you to enter more than once? Personally I still only enter once, as there are more competitions out there than I could possible cope with, but I do make exceptions. The competitions linked to ITV programmes, for instance, have such lovely prizes that they spur me on to make a bit more effort. Each one allows either 3 or 5 entries, and it very helpfully tells you if you try to enter too often, so I'm happy to spend a few minutes pressing the "back" key and entering again. And if there is a new prize to be won every day, I will enter every day. Otherwise I just move on to the next competition.
On Twitter, the original tweet for a competition may well include a link to the terms and conditions. It's ALWAYS a good idea to follow the link and read it. I often see people tweeting a competition several times, maybe even every day, when the rules have said "one entry per person". Twitter has arranged things so that you can't retweet the same message multiple times, and finding ways around this such as altering the message slightly can mean that your entry isn't actually seen by the promoter. And also retweeting the same thing over and over again can result in you being sent to "Twitter Jail", or even having your account suspended, as can having multiple accounts and tweeting the same things from them.
But for me, the ideal number of entries to make is the number I enjoy doing! That might be one-a-day, it might be none at all, it all depends on the competition, the prize, and, if it is a website competition, the speed and user friendliness of the site.
So how many entries do YOU like to make for competitions of various kinds? And how successful is your strategy? Come on, own up! And feel free to do it anonymously if you think some people might find your statistics excessive - I promise not to criticise.