Helen Halahan: Why a weekly lottery is a good bet for your charity fundraising

07 Dec 2022 Expert insight

Helen Halahan, head of marketing at Woods Valldata, discusses why weekly lottery is the perfect product for fundraising in tougher economic times.


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There’s been a lot of talk in recent times about how hard our sector will be hit by the cost-of-living crisis. CAF for instance, reports that one in ten people said they held back from donating in October 2022. And we know a lot of charities are feeling the burden of where to raise more funds when the need for their services is greater than ever.

Weekly lottery is an excellent addition to your fundraising mix to help keep your charity raising funds in these tough times. Here’s three reasons why:

  1. Prize-led fundraising tends to weather recessions

The chance of winning something is a very compelling motivation during times of economic hardship but it’s not the only one. The appeal of a cash prize certainly helps, with 36% of people playing with the hopes of winning big, but there’s also the feel-good factor of donating money to charity, with 15% of players citing that wanting to support a good cause was their reason for taking part. It’s human nature to have hope and playing a weekly lottery gives people hope that they might win something in return for supporting a good cause.

  1. Weekly lottery gives you the opportunity to tell a different story

Weekly lottery lends itself to good news. In a sea of messages of need, this product gives you the chance to tell your good news stories. It ties in so well with the joy of winning a prize in the lottery! And what better time than now to engage with you supporters with a positive message and make them smile?

  1. Weekly lottery is a different way to give

Not only does weekly lottery offer existing supporters a different way to give that might be more accessible in times of hardship, it can also attract different kinds of supporters. Setting up a lottery could bring a new, prize-motivated dimension to your database helping with acquisition into regular giving and delivering excellent life-time value.

We asked 196 UK fundraisers about prize-led fundraising in our Individual Giving Fundraising Survey 2022. Over 50% include prize-led in their fundraising mix. The chart shows the reasons they give for doing so, with additional income potential (72% of responders), a different supporter profile (64% of responders) and acquisition potential (62% of responders) at the top of the list:

Prize-led works… Current data and historical evidence shows that prize-led is resilient in tough economic times. So – where should you focus your efforts?

  1. Start a weekly lottery (if you haven’t already done so)

Look for a weekly lottery that fits the needs of your charity. You might be looking for a quick and easy solution to get you going, or you might want to go ‘all in’ and set up a lottery to your own specification.

  1. Get more people playing

Converting your warm base will always provide the most loyal players. But lottery is a great way to grow your supporter base too. There are lots of channels to grow, the main ones are face-to-face, digital and DRTV. In 2021, each of these channels had a similar cost per acquisition (CPA), average gift and 12m attrition rate. But there are lots of other lower cost ways to recruit too. For instance, use posters with QR codes at events and in your retail outlets.

  1. Keep players playing

Identifying key attrition points will mean you can put measures in place to retain more players. Invest the time to work out your supporter journey plan. With triggered communications at the right time to surprise and delight your supporters you’ll build ongoing relationships and keep the lottery growing!

With weekly lottery all bets are on

Weekly lottery is a good bet for charities right now. It’s a fun product range that can support a different kind of fundraising message to a different kind of charity supporter.

Helen Halahan is head of marketing at Woods Valldata

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