Fundraising: 'Choose a charity' lottery game pilot under review

A college coffee bar and a school sports facility are among the projects chosen by the public to receive lottery money under a trial voting scheme.

The Big Lottery Fund's Your Pound Your Choice pilot, which ran in August, allowed lottery players in Leicestershire and Plymouth to select two local good causes from a short list of four by placing a cross on a voting slip at their National Lottery retailer. The projects selected received grants of up to £50,000.

In Leicestershire, where the scheme was heavily advertised, the trial attracted 15,315 votes. Plymouth saw 3,500 people choose a cause. The BLF will now consider whether to expand the scheme to other cities.

"Your Pound Your Choice will have to be evaluated before any decisions are made," said Linda Quinn, deputy director of external relations at the Big Lottery Fund. "We didn't have any set expectations for the number of votes that might be cast. The participation levels will form part of the overall evaluation. The campaign ran in Leicestershire only so we could compare its likely impact on voting levels with Plymouth."

The NCVO and the Institute of Fundraising raised concerns about the scheme when it was announced in June, arguing that it could lead to an erosion of funding in less well-known or understood areas. Mubeen Bhutta, policy officer at the NCVO, called on the BLF to publicise its decision when it completes the evaluation of the trial.

"We would like to see any further attempts at public voting to include efforts to improve public awareness of how lottery money is spent, as well as public involvement," she added. "There can't be involvement without awareness."

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