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7 ways to future proof prize-led fundraising for UK charities

Innovation and change: ways to future proof your raffle and lottery programmes

Prize-led fundraising is an essential component of many UK charities' fundraising strategies, encompassing activities such as charity raffles and weekly lotteries. These initiatives not only engage supporters with the thrill of winning but also generate significant funds for charitable causes. As we look to the future, it's crucial for fundraisers to embrace innovation and change to keep programmes growing and sustainable.

In this blog we explore some of the aspects of gaming that are important to UK fundraisers including:

  • where they want their programmes to go,
  • what challenges they might meet along the way,
  • and what they might do to meet these.
Head shot showing just the face above the nose, with a light bulb drawn on the all above showing idea generation and creativity

Objectives for the future of prize-led fundraising

Programme Growth

We had to include it, because programme growth has to be a primary objective of any successful fundraising initiative. But what does this actually mean in the context of the future of prize-led fundraising?

Raffle and weekly lottery has long been a way to attract new supporters into a charity. The offer of a win-win situation means that there’s more to play for than simply giving. The supporters has the chance of winning something in return.

So, whilst programme growth means we can increase the income generated through raffle and lottery, it also means that we have the opportunity to start a longer-term relationship with those supporters. Through careful communications and dialogue building trust and understanding, those supporters may go on to support in other ways for the charity and advocate on their behalf.

Programme growth therefore means increasing player numbers (and player chances) but also looking at the wider picture and therefore increasing lifetime value.

Channel Optimisation

Many charities are already embracing emerging technologies, and it’s certainly difficult to avoid entering into the digital world if you haven’t already. And that is changing and developing fast. When we’re thinking about the future of prize-led fundraising, channel is certainly one of our key focus areas. But with so much choice out there, where do we start?

One of the tools at our disposal is data-driven decision making. Here, we can leverage data analytics to understand player behaviour and preferences which can then inform more effective marketing strategies and channel use. Phew.

That means we can then go on to choose the most effective means to diversify and optimise the channels used to acquire and retain prize-led supporters. This can even be used to attract different types of supporters, which is another top objective for fundraisers looking at the future of prize-led.

Attracting and Retaining New Audiences

Raffle and weekly lottery programmes have tended to attract an older demographic. For raffle this tends to be over 60s. For weekly lottery, maybe slightly younger, at over 45s. But the 60-year-olds of today do not necessarily have the same motivations as 60-year-olds ten years ago. Therefore, we should not only look to attract a different demographic, but also remain relevant to our existing demographic audiences.

Here we need to think through their motivations, their expectations and their media consumption. We need to think about their disposable income and how they spend it (or would like to spend it).

people crowd walking on busy street on daytime showing the multitude of potential audiences for prize-led fundraising

We also need to be making sure that the audiences we attract are the right audiences. It’s all very well signing someone up, but raffle and weekly lottery programmes work best when players are loyal. So, we’re looking for people who will stay the distance too.

Knowing our existing, changing, audience and audiences we have not yet accessed will be essential in attracting and retaining players going forwards.

Challenges facing the future of prize-led fundraising

Challenges in prize-led fundraising are consistent with the challenges UK charity fundraisers face across their whole fundraising mix: cost of living affecting donor capacity to give; rising media costs reducing ROI; internal siloed working restricting data and messaging impact; reduced budgets and team resource.

For prize-led these universal challenges might be joined by:

Lack of Trustee Buy-IN

Prize-led fundraising is regulated by the Gambling Commission and is therefore a product rooted in gambling. Although the risk of problem gambling through these products is minimal, trustees, and other senior leaders, may still feel that there is an inherent reputational risk behind prize-led. Even if they give the go-ahead to launch a programme, it may still not get the resource it requires to show its true potential.

Competition

With many charities incorporating prize-led elements, the market is becoming saturated. New entrants, like Omaze, are further compounding this issue and charities have seen an impact on charity prize-led incomes during campaigns.

Media competition is also a challenge for the future of prize-led fundraising, especially for smaller charities who don’t have the buying power of larger charitable organisations. Whether that’s the availability (and cost) of face-to-face fundraising, navigating the requirements of Meta and other digital platforms to promote ‘gambling’ products, or reducing email open rates due to over-emailing across the charitable sector.

Relevance

We touched on this in the Objectives section of this blog, but keeping prize-led relevant into the future is perhaps the biggest challenge for UK charity fundraisers – whether that’s appealing to younger audiences or staying relevant to more traditional audiences.

Opportunities for the future of prize-led fundraising

There are so many opportunities for change, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but a few suggestions on where we should be thinking in terms of prize-led.

1. Data

First and foremost, before we do anything, we should consult our data and conduct any research needed. What trends is it showing us? Why are they happening? Are we meeting the needs of our supporters whether through channel, message or ask? Do they feel valued? How is our prize-led supporter profile changing? And what can we extrapolate from this for the future?

Attractive young woman working on a desktop computer smiling as she leans forwards reading data analysis results to aid her decision making, view over the monitor

And so armed with insight, we could start to consider other avenues…

2. Product Mix

Let’s start with what we offer. A raffle or weekly lottery are generally well known play structures. Most people will have taken part in a local event raffle or the National Lottery if nothing else. So they’re easy to understand. But are they still relevant? When it comes to prize led, are there other ways to play?

3. Prizes

High profile prize draws combined with healthy media budgets have shown that unique prizes can have value within different audiences. So whilst cash pounds are still the most versatile prize for any winner, what ways are there to provide alternative prize types, or ignite the fires of ambition around what the money could be spent on?

4. Acquisition (or attraction)

To grow our prize-led programmes, we need to get more people to play. Often called acquisition, we wonder whether this should actually be more about attraction. Acquisition suggests that players are brought in regardless of whether they’re right for our charity. Attraction suggests that they are positively motivated to play and to support our given cause. This would suggest they will play for longer, and potentially go on to support in other ways.

5. Retention (or engagement)

It’s not just about finding the right ways to acquire a prize-led supporter, but keeping them is paramount. This starts with acquiring the right players in the first place… and then building a relationship with them that makes them feel valued as a supporter, not just the next ask. Part of this could be around encouraging supporters to opt-in to various communication channels to that they can stay informed and engaged. What else can you do to excite and engage supporters around prize-led?

Smiling colleagues talking together in the office showing collaboration between different organisational departments

6. Collaboration

As budgets and resource continues to be a challenge for charity fundraising, finding ways to work across siloes will provide more opportunities to build supporter relationships. It might be as simple as putting a legacy tick box on a reply slip being reciprocated by a prize-led flier inserted in a legacy mailing. Or events teams providing space for lottery sign ups or raffle ticket sales. Or even corporate partnerships arranging prize-led agreements (either promoting the products to their teams, or supplying prizes) with their corporate partners.

7. New tech

Whether it’s using AI to predict responses and tailor messaging, or using different digital media to promote the prize-led products, we should all be thinking about ways to use new and emerging technologies, ethically, to enhance how we fundraise.

It's a marathon not a sprint

Innovation and change are crucial for future-proofing prize-led fundraising. By focusing on programme growth, channel optimization, attracting new audiences, and where we can solve the challenges facing us, we can ensure that this exciting fundraising stream remains relevant now and in the future.

To keep our programmes healthy we should be thinking about constant change, whether that’s testing a new approach, creative or message or something that bit more revolutionary. It’s not a one off and done exercise, but an ongoing reach for better.

Make change and innovation part of your programme

Are you ready to take your prize-led fundraising to the next level? Your Woods Valldata team are constantly looking for ways to future proof the prize-led programmes of our charity partners whether through regular programme reviews or innovation workshops.

Contact us now to discuss your raffle or weekly lottery needs and discover how our services can help you grow and sustain your fundraising efforts.

Together, let's navigate the ever-changing world of prize-led fundraising and make a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve. We're your Partners in Possibility.

 

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