In 2008, I attended an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference in San Diego, California. Some 3,000 fundraising professionals attended this educational and networking event from countries across the world.
During a morning seminar, I sat behind a friendly gentleman from the Netherlands, Jan Wezendonk. Jan is Chairman of the Board of Nationaal Fonds Kinderhulp, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to needy children.
Jan and I struck up a conversation that morning, and we have remained in touch online. Jan told me one of the most successful ways in which his organization has been funded is via the EU Charity Lottery. You can read an overview about how privately-funded lotteries work via the Association of Charity Lotteries in the European Union.
“The primary aim of a charity lottery is to raise funds for charitable organisations (the lottery is just a tool). The fundraising efforts are not used as a mere excuse for organising the lottery, but are indeed the main reason. Therefore, no private profits should be made.” Charity lotteries raise millions of euros each year for hundreds of NGOs and charitable organisations. Well-known organisations as well as local, grassroots organisations receive charity lottery funding.
The Texas Lottery provides funding for lottery winners, of course, with a portion going to the Foundation School Fund (and for administrative purposes). The pie chart shown on the link provides an excellent overview of where Texas stands today in terms of lottery proceeds.
My readers may be interested to know that in 2013, the Texas Lottery came under attack by opponents who felt, among other things, that lotteries are a burden upon the poor. After the Texas House of Representatives voted to abolish the Texas Lottery Commission in April, the decision was quickly reversed. See The Dallas Morning News for an update (April 24, 2013). One question to my mind is, given the substantial funding for Texas schools provided by the current lottery, how would those essential funds be replaced? We have twelve more years to consider this issue, and I have no doubt, the Texas Lottery will again come under attack in twelve years.
My person question is, would lotteries be expanded in Texas and other states to support other charitable causes? I believe there is room for this concept, especially given today’s economic challenges and the ever-growing popularity of lotteries. Certainly, a successful lottery requires sophisticated, trustworthy management and a solid promotional plan.
I personally have never purchased a lottery ticket. In my opinion, U.S. lotteries such as we have in operation today have a negative connotation, bolstered by the occasional media exposes regarding winners whose lives have been destroyed. Click on the link for a 2008 article discussing the disastrous effects of the lottery on past lottery winners. And, some may have read about this recent case in the Christian Science Monitor, where a lottery winner was supposedly poisoned. Caution advised!
Having said that, should states like Texas develop new, “classier” lotteries in addition to those that exist today, ones that would be attractive to those among us who shun the lotteries currently in existence. Could one purchase lottery tickets at your charity of choice, in department stories (not just in convenience marts), at high-end restaurants, and online? Certainly, this is a big project that would take time to develop and implement properly, but I believe it is definitely worth consideration.
“Food for thought,” as they say, and thanks to Jan Wezendonk for helping me think in new ways!
~ My friend Jane Pulaski pointed out a website with more in-depth information regarding the Dutch Postcode Lottery, one of several operated by Novamedia. “Fifty percent of the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s gross proceeds goes directly to various charities. With 2.5 million participants and a total of 4.5 million tickets in 2011, the Postcode Lottery gave 284 million euros to more than 85 charities working in the fields of conservation, environmental protection, developmental aid and human rights.”
~ Here is an inspiring article about how charity lotteries in Europe have came to the rescue of several nonprofit organizations facing public funding cuts, “Big Lottery Fund gives £29m to 788 organisations that face cuts” by Andy Ricketts for Third Sector. I would like to thank Fundraising Success for highlighting this noteworthy story.
~ I found this article by Howard Lake in the Third Sector of great interest, “Twitter-based lottery aims to fundraise for charities,” from UKFundraising (October 7, 2011).
“The National Twotto is a new Twitter-based lottery for UK Twitter users that, if it attracts enough followers and sponsors, will distribute £1,000 a week to charity. Created by Manchester-based web developer Jono Casley, Twotto costs nothing to play. Instead, the weekly jackpot prize of £1,000 and charity donation of £1,000 will be paid for by sponsors. In return sponsors can promote their product or service to all those people taking part in the lottery by following @NationalTwotto on Twitter.”
They haven’t been active “tweeting” for a few months, but I’d love to see something along these lines happen in the U.S.
~ An example of how a charity lottery can benefit an important nonprofit project is discussed here: “Funding Boost for Historic North-east Park ~ Haddo Country Park Will be Reinvigorated with Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund,“ by Leanna MacLarty for stv news (December 19, 2011).
~ Maev Kennedy reports in The Guardian, “Scott’s lost Antartica photographs bought for the nation: Pictures acquired with help of Heritage Lottery Fund grant in time for centenary of ill-fated journey” (January 16, 2012).
~ From the Derby Telegraph comes another charity lottery success story, “£100,000 Grant Handed to City Museum to Buy Joseph Wright Paintings” (April 26, 2013), which describes funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This article was first published on WordPress in June, 2011. A rudimentary version was posted on the NTEN community pages prior to that. I updated the article most recently on April 26, 2013.