Small change, big difference

Nathaniel | October 15th, 2012

I recently gave a talk to the Hospice Lottery Association annual conference. My words of wisdom were about how digital can be used to attract a younger generation of players. I based my presentation around an insight that lotteries focus all their online communication on the prizes but in fact the current players don’t play just to win a prize. My research showed that the fact that they are doing their bit for a local charity they admire is the biggest motivating factor. So playing a charity lottery is actually like giving a regular micro donation to a charity – the players are just like donors.

So just as with other areas of fundraising, with lotteries we end up with a familiar question – what do a new generation of donors want? Fun? Things to make them look cool? Hi-tech ways of engaging? Evidence shows that all of these things can work (Playing WeTopia with Justin Beiber for charity –, Chocolate coating the truth for Anti-slavery –, Growing a moustache for prostate cancer but I firmly believe the most successful way to attract younger donors is to demonstrate to them how important/ worthwhile your cause is and how their support, however small makes a difference. In a highly visible way you must become the local/ global charity that they develop great admiration for. Simple.

Back in the world of lotteries the National Lottery is a great example of this theory. In recent times they have done a u-turn in their communications away from how rich playing the lottery could make you. Instead their focus has moved to the good causes (See and how the community of lottery players has a massive impact on local causes across the UK.

Going digital offers loads of potential for attracting a new generation of players but only if lotteries learn to be great online fundraisers – they need to tell the story of their organisation and really shout about their cause where and whenever they can. Success won’t be about big shifts in the way they use digital technology (although having a great website and being ready for mobile is a must), instead they must make small changes to their online copy and imagery to establish an emotional rapport with their players. Doing this will make a big difference.