What makes a winner in the crowded charity lottery marketplace?

By Lucy Tugby 28/06/2018

With everyone here at WPNC (and most of the British public it would seem) in the throes of World Cup fever, let’s take a little inspiration from the great Lionel Messi who once said: “The day you think there is no improvements to be made is a sad one for any player”. 

The fact is that simply having a lottery up and running for your charity isn’t enough because there’s plenty of others out there competing for your donors’ support.  Hannah Williams head of account management here at WPNC offers her top techniques to help you stay on top of your game.

Q. How do I go about gaining stand out and avoid looking generic?

A. Am I allowed to say it’s easier to tell you what ‘not to do’?!  Don’t get tempted to be too gimmicky.  Playing a lottery is a little fun of course, and the thought of winning or the thought of what you would spend your winnings on is a lot of fun.  But a charity lottery still needs to represent the cause.  Being too gimmicky might make you stand out but could come at the expense of people not believing in your cause.

Q. How are people motivated?

A. I think there are so many reasons motivating people to play. “A little bit of fun”, “It’s part of my weekly routine”, “I love the idea of beating the Lottery”, “I could win but the charity will always win” and “I know which charity my money goes to”.  So many reasons and they’re all personal.  As Marketers we need to understand these and bring them into our advertising.

 Q. What’s the right balance between communications leading on personal gain versus cause?

A. Great question.  A lottery is about winning.  And it is gambling, with different rules to follow if you’re a small or large Society Lottery.  It’s also fundraising, and for a great cause.  At WPNC we help our clients achieve that fine balance between fundraising for the Charity and gambling responsibly.

Q. How do I keep the supporters I currently have for my lottery and get new ones?

A. Talk to your supporters.  Too many programmes focus on acquiring. A Lottery is an initial hook, but you can build your communication so that supporters become closer to the charity.  Just don’t get too generic, and show them what their Lottery money is doing.  Transparency is key and especially important when you’re looking to attract Millennials and Gen Z. You never know, some winners even end up giving back to the Charity.  Now that’s amazing.

Q. What are the best channels to use to promote our lottery?

A. Well that depends on budget and how big you can go.  Some of the charities we work with have great success with DM on a local scale because they are visible in the community and have a strong supporter base.  Others use Raffles to drive awareness through friends and family or events.  If you can afford to go big on media and creative - some of our clients use broadcast TV for instance - just remember to join up the dots in the journey and don’t forget about digital.

Q. How do I get donors to sign up to direct debit contributions?

A. It’s my turn to ask a question. Have you asked them?  It’s a bold move – try testing a pack with a DD response only.  It’s a more controlled way to test it out first before changing all channels.  You can also consider repeat card payments, or recurring payments using digital wallets like PayPal or Amazon Pay as more contemporary alternatives.  The more options, the better!

Q. How do I maintain interest in my lottery proposition?

A. Never be afraid of trying something different.  Listen to people talk about lotteries, are they saying what you’re saying?  Could it be expressed differently? We’ve used this insight in one of our commercials.  The proposition was flipped around, and a gem of a marketing idea was born.  Next step, implement.  And we’ve just seen our most successful month on TV with this advert.  We’re all very proud.

Q. Any tips on getting the balance right between the size of the prize and the number of chances to win?

A. It’s hard not to be seduced by the numbers.  £25k quarterly draw, 2000 prizes a week, top prize £2000, 1000 winners. Wow, that’s a lot of numbers.  You need to find the right balance, keep it simple and easy to understand.  We’d suggest that there aren’t too many, and not too close together.  Also worth noting here that there’s a number of regulatory changes on the way for Society lotteries including the maximum pay-out increasing from £400,000 to £500,000. 

Q. How do I get everyone at the charity onboard with new ideas to grow our lottery?

A. Success grows success, definitely.  When your Lottery is doing well, the teams will want to see you succeed.  Like any new product, or product development, inspiring teams around you is key.  Share your results, share your challenges, get people in to talk about the sector and don’t stop testing ideas.  Sometimes it’s useful to have an independent facilitator to get things moving.  Our client co-creation workshops help break down silos between teams and rapidly evolve ideas everyone’s already bought into as they’ve helped co-create them.  Please do get in touch with me for more information.

Q. Who’s going to win the World Cup then?

A. Well I have Costa Rica in the agency sweep stake but it looks like they are on their way out!


Hannah Williams is Head of Account Management at WPNC, [email protected] 


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