Wednesday, 17 April 2024
Wednesday, 17 April 2024

10 reasons to start a Fundraising Lottery or Raffle

A great many major charities, as well as schools, hospices, air ambulances and other third sector organisations, raise more than £350m in regular sustainable funding through society lotteries and raffles each year. Whilst nearly 80% of good causes said their lottery helped keep funds coming in during the pandemic. 

If you are looking for a way to generate new streams of funding, Nigel Atkinson, UK general manager at digital lotteries operator, Jumbo Interactive shares 10 reasons why running a regulated society lottery could benefit your cause.


It’s no secret that the British public loves to have a flutter. Almost every school and charity out there has run a fundraising lottery or raffle at some point, Why? Because they are universally popular. And according to UK Government statistics from 2020, over 50% of the UK population plays in a lottery at least once per year.


Each year in the UK, lotteries and raffles raise hundreds of millions of pounds for good causes. That is in addition to the funds raised by the National Lottery. Regulated society lotteries and raffles are a sure-fire way to bring in much-needed funds on a regular sustainable basis. 


Lotteries and raffles can attract new types of supporters to your cause, particularly those of a new demographic. There are many altruistic donors in the UK, but introduce an element of fun with the chance to scoop a prize and you’ve got a winning formula for recruiting new supporters. Lottery players may not become regular donors, but they may consider supporting in other ways, such as through legacies.


Lotteries and raffles are a great way to engage and raise additional funds from your existing supporters. Existing supporters are often willing to take part in seasonal raffles and weekly lotteries. If you have a substantial existing supporter base, then raffles and lotteries can be used to raise significant additional funds. “Money can’t buy” prizes can be very effective and will also help to maximise the return to your cause.


When it comes to fundraising raffles and lotteries, the main motivation of players is to give rather than win. According to the Gambling Commission, 55% of society lottery players say that they are motivated primarily by supporting the cause. For that reason and due to the structure of lottery games, they are a low-risk form of gambling, not susceptible to attracting problem gamblers. Indeed, in their 1996 consultation on gambling, The Home Office deemed lotteries to be ‘soft’, carrying extremely low risk for players due to the small stakes and low frequency of play.


Regulated lotteries and raffles operate to the highest standards, trusted by consumers and effectively regulated to ensure a continuing high level of public trust. Laws outlined in the Gambling Act of 2005 clearly outline how society lotteries must be operated, licensed and regulated in the UK. This ensures they are fair and transparent, prizes are paid out as advertised and consumers and their money are protected.

It is important to note that unregulated activities, such as prize competitions run for profit, may be a reputational risk due to bad publicity regarding lack of consumer protection, misleading advertising and minimal return to causes.


The proportion of funds raised for your cause are likely to be higher than other incentivised fundraising methods, such as prize competitions run for profit. The law mandates that a minimum of 20% of the total value of tickets sold in a lottery or raffle be returned to the cause. In fact, fundraising lotteries and raffles often return a much higher proportion of the total proceeds to the cause, with over 50% being quite common. 


Winners and prize presentations make great stories for use on your website, social media or in the press. Good news stories about prize winners are a perfect way to promote your cause and attract future supporters and lottery or raffle players. In fact, a good number of winners actually donate their winnings back to the causes they are supporting!


You do not need to manage the lottery or raffle yourself. There are a number of well-established and reputable lottery managers in the UK, who can provide advice and manage the operation of the lottery on your behalf. You can find a list of lottery managers on the Lotteries Council website.


You can start a weekly lottery with no upfront cost. There are various options for establishing and operating a fundraising lottery. The easiest way to get started is with a fully managed product, such as One Lottery (, which has no setup fees.

The pandemic has hit the charity sector hard. Demand for services grew, but for many charities, it became harder to raise vital funds. Running a regulated society lottery or raffle can help charities build back by bringing in much-needed income and increasing engagement with existing and potential donors.


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