Lotteries have been one of the most stable forms of fundraising during the pandemic

Howard Lake | 5 April 2021 | Sponsored posts

I’m Damien Reynolds, a small charity CEO and Head of Partnerships for Prize Provision Services, an External Lottery Manager that administers hundreds of society lotteries on behalf of organisations such as The Big Issue, Sands, and the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite the Union.

As a small charity CEO of The Wolfpack Project, which helps to reduce the impact of loneliness for young adults across Nottingham, I appreciate and understand some of the challenges that the sector is faced with. Whilst the Government committed a £750 million package of support for the charity sector in 2020, NCVO predicted the
sector looked set to lose £4bn over a 12-week period alone.

Both Breast Cancer Now and Parkinson’s UK estimated their income would fall by 25-40% during 2020/2021. Like so many other charities who have had to cancel fundraising events and have been forced to close their shops/centres, many vital income streams have been cut off. Unfortunately, this all comes at a time when there is an even higher demand for the services that charities provide.

With grant applications more competitive than ever, lottery fundraising could well be the answer to boost your charity’s income, particularly during these exceptionally tough times. We’ll take a look at how a lottery can provide your society with an additional, sustainable income stream that can have a significant impact on your fundraising plans, regardless of the size of your organisation.

Small Society Lotteries are designed to support non-profit organisations

By definition, a small society lottery is one promoted for the benefit of charitable or non-profit activity. They do not require a Gambling Commission licence but must be registered with the local authority in the area where the principal society office is located.

To remain classed as a small society lottery, they must also not have proceeds which exceed £20,000 for a single draw or have aggregated proceeds in excess of £250,000 in a calendar year.

We know that sustainable fundraising methods are key to ensuring the long-term success of any society. With a reliable, consistent source of income, this allows you to make long term plans for your society, and due to the added incentive of winning a prize, a lottery is a fantastic way for supporters to engage with their chosen society on a continuous basis.

In addition to being sustainable and flexible, money raised from your society lottery is fully unrestricted. This means that rather than being constricted, for example to be spent on building costs or a specific campaign, it can be spent wherever the need is greatest.

I’m sometimes asked if people playing a lottery will take away from direct giving. In reality, lotteries provide a great opportunity to engage with members of the public who may otherwise not support your society, and as it’s your lottery, every player who joins can be welcomed as part of your supporter database.

Subscription rather than repeated sales effort

Subscription lotteries are brilliant thanks to the fact that lottery players play for five to seven years on average. A fact which means lotteries are one of the most reliable sources of income.

Naturally some players will play for months rather than years, but many will play for decades. The Weather Lottery’s last £25,000 jackpot winner had been supporting their local rugby club for 15 years – they completed a single registration form and played every week since!

Even during a global pandemic, lotteries have stood up and shown themselves to be incredibly durable and reliable. Where many revenue streams have been lost, lotteries continue regardless due to their subscription basis and remote nature.

If it’s not something you currently have, it’s certainly something you should consider.

Happy woman in yellow sweater promoting the Weather Lottery
Photo: The Weather Lottery

DIY or hire in the experts, the choice is yours

If you have the knowledge, experience, and time, there is no reason why you can’t run your society’s lottery in-house.

However, running a lottery can be complicated and time-consuming; there are rules to follow, prizes to organise, payments to be collected, regular draws, and much more – And this is the reason many societies choose to use the services of an External Lottery Manager (ELM), such as Prize Provision Services to run all or part of their lottery, leaving them to concentrate on promoting their lottery and encouraging people to play.

Prize Provision Services is licensed by the Gambling Commission and looks after all the hard work including the lottery draw, ensuring it is fully compliant with the Gambling Act 2005.

Minimise your setup costs

Many ELMs have the necessary software and draw methods to get your lottery launched. Not only does this save your society money on setup and running costs, it also won’t take up any of your precious time, leaving you to focus on other income streams.

Prize Provision Services handle almost every aspect of your lottery; all you have to do is promote the lottery and encourage your supporters to join. Remember, the more players that join, the more funds for your society and in essence, there is no limit to the amount that you can raise!

Prize Provision Services helps set-up and manage your lottery on an ongoing basis, removing any confusion or time spent on admin, whilst ensuring your lottery is fair, correctly conducted and legally compliant. Prize Provision Services even pays out 100% of the Weather Lottery’s prizes!

You can employ an External Lottery Manager on percentage terms, so there is no risk of running up costs

Take Prize Provision Services’ Weather Lottery and Sports Club Lottery products as an example; both offer a weekly jackpot of £25,000 – the largest amount small society lotteries can offer – meaning they have considerable appeal to supporters.

New societies are guaranteed to receive 50% of all ticket sales, even if one of their players wins the jackpot! It’s simply a case of the more people who play, the more money is generated.

With that said, the amount a society raises tends to be determined by certain variables, such as the size and type of society, how many members or supporters it has and, most importantly, the extent to which a society supports and promotes their lottery.

Two happy winners of The Weather Lottery with a £25,000 giant cheque
Weather Lottery winners

As an example, if you had 100 entries each week and received 50% of the sales, this would generate a total of £2,600 per year. 500 lines would generate £13,000, 1000 lines £26,000 and so on. It’s certainly not uncommon for a large lottery to have thousands of players raising hundreds of thousands every year.

If you’d like a better indication of how much income your society could generate from a lottery, please get in touch and I’d be delighted to assist.

You already know how to build awareness for your society, so you already have the skills to build a successful lottery

A society lottery sits alongside all other community fundraising channels so promotion should ideally follow a similar approach; a dedicated page on your website, draw results on social media every week, inclusion in newsletters, paid
online advertising, email marketing and, when possible again, at venues, events and within shops or centres.

Prize Provision Services, has a dedicated team of lottery experts who can help you to promote your lottery to ensure its success! Our friendly team are on hand to support our societies, whether it’s marketing advice you need, social media designs or additional marketing materials – we provide support completely free of charge.

Lotteries have been one of the most stable forms of fundraising during the pandemic and will continue to be so as things return to normal. Many societies who I work with have already been in touch with me to talk about how they would like to grow their lottery and also their supporter base – because the final thing to say, is that it’s your lottery, so it’s your database.

You can reach a whole new set of supporters through your lottery and then speak to them about everything which is going on in your world.

If you would like details about our products, check out The Weather Lottery and Sports Club Lottery. Alternatively, please get in touch with me directly if I can help to answer any of your questions.

Phone number: 01158 88 1224

Application forms to register and run a small society lottery can be obtained from your local licensing authority.

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