Charities use new technology to benefit from lotteries boom

Latest Gambling Commission figures show growth in lottery fundraising

British Heart Foundation raffle
British Heart Foundation raffle

Proceeds from lotteries run by not-for-profit organisations shot up from £126.6m in 2003/04 to £174.6m in 2008/09, the latest Gambling Commission figures show.

The Gambling Industry Statistics 2008/09 report shows there has been a growth in fundraising through lotteries and a recent survey by the commission showed a rise in the popularity of lotteries using new technology.

A spokesman for the commission said the rise could be attributed partly to the Gambling Act 2005, which provided additional freedom for organisations to run not-for-profit lotteries. Technological advancement in lotteries in the sector could also be a contributing factor, he said.

For example, a British Heart Foundation raffle that used a cross-media approach in which participants could take part in the raffle through traditional means or through the internet, had broken even within three weeks of its launch, said a spokeswoman for marketing services firm Brightsource, which ran the raffle. Almost 10,000 people had logged on to take part.

Cathy Pharoah, director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, said: "In times of uncertainty, forms of gambling are always extremely attractive to people, and this could be a very appealing way of raising funds. It's a good idea to do it cross-media, as long as it's not in any way intrusive. Charities should be using all channels and seeing which ones take up best as we're still in an experimental phase with multimedia."

Garth Caswell, chairman of the Hospice Lotteries Association, which represents more than 100 hospices that run lotteries in the UK, said: "People are still prepared to give a small amount of money when there's the chance of winning a large prize."

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