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Ben Speare: Councils offer an alternative to national lotteries

Ben Speare
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The news of the success of the first ever UK council lotteries has been spreading fast since the original concept was pioneered by Aylesbury Vale in partnership with Gatherwell in November 2015. 

Portsmouth, Melton Mowbray, Mendip, Gloucester, Corby, South Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme are just a few of the many local authorities that have followed suit and confirmed their launches, which are all planned for 2017.

There is a wave of councils looking for more innovative solutions to raising money within the community to reduce the strain on ever decreasing budgets.

However, in an uncertain economic environment, the general public are becoming more discerning with their hard-earned cash. British shoppers cut their spending back in January to less than they spent the year before and the Brexit vote has driven up inflation. With all this to contend with, the charity sector has got its work cut out for it over the next few years, especially as the economy is starting to shows signs of slowing down.

What we at Gatherwell have seen, however, is that as long as you engage the community in the right way, you gain its support. The more prize-motivated people within our communities will always continue to participate in big jackpot games such as the National Lottery but official statistics suggest a significant decline in participation in these games as consumers are becoming more discerning with their money. The  percentage of participants has fallen from 46% to 32% over recent years.

We believe this is because in periods of austerity, people need more motivation than just the chance of winning a large amount of money. In the council lotteries we are running, we’ve found there are two very motivating factors for the public to participate. First, residents appreciate being able to choose precisely where their ticket money goes; tickets are purchased ‘for’ the charity of their choice. Second, they know 60% of all proceeds go to local charities, compared to just 28% from the National Lottery.

In total, we  can report that there are a further 16 council lottery launches confirmed for 2017, and a further 23 plans for lotteries are progressing through cabinet approval processes. The success of the existing council lotteries is an indication of an untapped opportunity, fuelled by the creation of an innovative and efficient fundraising platform that Gatherwell has created especifically for councils to harness the fundraising potential of their local communities.

To find out more about how Gatherwell help councils raise money within the community for the community, click here.

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