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Player acquisition for UK prize-led fundraising

Where to go for raffles and lotteries growth in the UK charity sector

One of the biggest challenges facing UK fundraisers today in their prize-led programmes is a declining player base. It's not been an easy few years, what with GDPR restrictions coming in around 2018 making cold mail recruitment significantly more challenging, and COVID-19 stopping face-to-face recruitment to the point at which that channel still hasn't recovered, fundraisers are feeling the effects.  So what can we do to grow our programmes and enable player acquisition for UK prize-led fundraising?

This is one of the topics we explored with leading fundraisers in our webinar prize-led fundraising benchmarking and trends webinar (2024) and this blog is a summary of that discussion. So we bring this to you with thanks to Helen Daw, Head of Partner Strategy at Woods Valldata and the expertise of: 

Raffle recruitment - a changing landscape

One thing is for sure, charities need to look at ways to expand and diversify their recruitment strategies into raffle. While warm conversions from existing supporters can create additional engagement and increased life time value, charities should still be looking at ways to attract new supporters to the charity with raffle. "It's still really worth exploring trying to bring new people in via raffle" explains Helen Daw, "They do go on to do other things, particularly legacy." This is something which has been highlighted by a number of fundraisers in the past, including Rosie Fearon speaking back in 2021 about their programme at National Trust.  

Warm cross sell

Diving into raffle recruitment strategies, Helen Daw emphasised the growing significance of digital channels alongside traditional methods. While direct mail remains significant in player acquisition, email campaigns, particularly during seasonal peaks like Christmas, have been growing in their effectiveness in retaining players and cross-selling to existing supporters.

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Warm cross-sell can be especially effective as a next-ask for cash supporters. RNLI use this approach effectively in their programme as Jenni Roberts illustrates: "We do a big door drop at Christmas for our Christmas appeal... and then our quarter two raffle tends to be the next ask that they receive. And it's a nice second gift for people I think."

Digital acqusition

Moreover, the growth in digital channel use, spurred by the pandemic, is showing promising results. Around 14% of raffle play is now conducted online with promising CPAs. This is higher for some charities than others depending on their charity type, supporter base, and digital programme. Where it's working charities have seen their raffle player profile starting to diversify away from traditional raffle players.

Cold direct mail

Cold mail had traditionally been the way to recruit raffle players at volume but with the introduction of GDPR regulations in 2018 it's popularity waned. In more recent years it has started to pick back up again. Data for Christmas 2023 raffle recruitment vs Christmas 2022 raffle recruitment shows that there was an uplift in both response rate and average gift from this channel which is promising. What's more, there is a definite trend of people recruited by this method going on to play again within the first 12 months which is a real positive in this product type.

Weekly lottery recruitment - a multifaceted approach

With it's higher lifetime value based on a regular giving model, lotteries offer a broader range of suitable recruitment channels, catering to different budget sizes and engagement preferences. Face-to-face (F2F) recruitment remains a cornerstone for delivering volume with over 50% of the webinar participants saying that face-to-face is their main lottery recruitment channel.

Growth of digital

But digital channels are rapidly emerging as viable alternatives with email and social media being the next highest for webinar attendees. Sally Newman explained that PETA's lottery recruitment, for example, has come almost entirely from digital acquisition with a recent test on off-line channels to warm audiences.

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Lower-cost acquisition

What's more, Helen Daw explained that it's not only the high cost, high volume routes such as F2F and DRTV that charities should pursue:
"Make sure you're using your volunteers, your sites and any shops or if you run events where you could have posters with QR codes, leaflets to take away or someone (with a stand) signing people up. You can use your newsletters or your warm DM (either postal or electronic) with a feature about lottery winners and a link or QR code to play. There are lots of opportunities out there, limited only by imagination."

The benefits of a mixed approach

A mix of digital and traditional channels, including F2F, organic and paid social media, direct response television (DRTV), leaflets, inserts and on-site opportunities such as posters presents charities with a plethora of options to grow their lottery recruitment efforts. By leveraging a multifaceted approach, charities can tap into new audiences, capitalise on familiarity and maximise player acquisition potential.

Attract, don't just acquire

We've talked a lot in this blog about acquisition but perhaps we should have been talking more about attraction. Acquisition could be seen as encouraging support at a single point in time. But attraction is more about the start of a longer-lasting relationship with a supporter, with this instance simply being the first interaction in a longer-term engagement. 

That way, if you can use prize-led as a way to attract new supporters to your charity and start them on a journey of building a meaningful connection, they are likely to stay with the charity for longer generating a higher lifetime value through genuine engagement.

Kara Lynsdale of St Barnabas House explains that for them, "what we thought was a very prize-led audience is actually quite engaged with our cause, so we have actually changed the way we market to ensure we are including a more cause-led creative."

By embracing digital innovation, diversifying recruitment channels, and prioritising supporter-centric approaches, charities can unlock new opportunities for growth and make a lasting difference in their communities. If you'd like to find out more about what trends like these are happening in prize-led, why not watch the prize-led fundraising benchmarking and trends webinar on demand!

Embracing prize-led with the right partner

Ready to elevate your prize-led fundraising efforts? The friendly experts at Woods Valldata are here for you and there for your supporters. Contact us today to explore our range of fundraising services and unlock the full potential of your charity's initiatives.

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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