Gambling with good causes

Will altruistic giving suffer with the arrival of the National Lottery? Paul Gosling investigates

The Council for the Protection of Rural England may have become the first victim of the National Lottery. Initial returns suggest that its latest raffle, normally a big money-spinner, has taken about 7 to 8 per cent less income than usual. Many charities fear that they will likewise be sidelined as the nation turns to gambling with a conscience.

Of course, as the CPRE well knows, there might be any number of reasons for its raffle's loss of popularity. The recession is not over yet, at least in the public perception, and people have been reluctant to give money in recent years.

But the National Council for Voluntary Organisations believes the National Lottery will prove better news for the Government than for charities. Research conducted into the effects of Ireland's national lottery showed a reduction of 4 per cent in charitable giving. Opinion polling in Britain suggested that the figure here could be as much as 7 per cent - a potential loss of pounds 190m to pounds 270m a year.

``We believe the lottery will make competition for funds much more intense,'' said Margaret Bolton, the NCVO's policy officer. ``Small organisations will have more difficulty in raising money - the big charities can always find the resources to pull money back in.''

Charities could not expect that people would still be happy just to give money away, she said. ``Charities in Ireland said that fund raising had to re-orientate itself to give people something for their money. The same thing has happened in New Zealand. There is a growing culture of people expecting a return when they give.''

The lottery could also lead to a change in the public perception of what constitutes ``a good cause''. ``The lottery could encourage people to see sports and heritage projects as good causes,'' added Ms Bolton. The result could be a diversion of donations away from social projects.

It will be a long while before it is clear whether the lottery produces new money for charities, or whether it reduces it. The Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers has already expressed its concern at the way the lottery is being promoted, by lodging a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority against Camelot, the organisation operating the lottery.

``In our view the advertisement placed by Camelot could lead the public to believe that the lottery provides an efficient and effective mechanism of supporting charities and voluntary organisations,'' said Stephen Lee, director of ICFM. ``This is not in fact the case.''

However, charities are not unanimous in the view that they will lose out.

Both the Salvation Army and Mind, for example, believe that their supporters are religious and will not gamble, and that income will hold steady. Mind, indeed, is one of the charities that hopes to gain from the lottery when the income is distributed.

Many charity workers, though, are worried the public will be unaware that just 5.6 per cent of the lottery's proceeds will go to charities - another 5.6 per cent goes to each of the Arts Council, the Sports Council, the Millennium Commission and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, with 12 per cent going to the Government as tax, 5 per cent to the retailer, 5 per cent to Camelot and 50 per cent into prize money.

This has led several charities to change their promotional strategies. On Saturday the CPRE is launching a new payroll giving scheme, emphasising that this enables the charity to be directly helped by donations.

The Cancer Research Campaign believes new opportunities are created. ``It could increase the income from other lotteries such as raffles,'' suggested Louise Pollen, national events and sports manager at the charity. ``It may encourage people to gamble more than in the past.''

Promotion of the CRC's own raffle is to be boosted, and it is seeking a long-term agreement with a car manufacturer to supply prizes, allied to a more comprehensive raffle ticket distribution arrangement, including through car showrooms.

The long-term effects will depend substantially, according to Ms Pollen, on how the lottery is promoted. She is relieved that initial advertising appeals more to self-interest than to altruism.

That view is not universal in the charity world, as Michael Taylor, director of Christian Aid, explained. ``We positively hate the ads.'' He has other concerns as well. ``We are supposed to be working for the poorest people, who have already lost in one lottery - I don't want them to lose in another.''

More optimistically, Mr Taylor added: ``I know our supporters well enough to think they will not be seduced.''

Many large charities are similarly confident that regular, committed supporters will not reduce their gifts. ``It is the scratch card promotions, street tins, buying a raffle ticket in the pub that will be affected,'' said Clive Caseley, appeals and marketing director at Mind.

But the other question mark hangs over future responses to emergency appeals, which need casual donations. Oxfam, which raised pounds pounds 6m from the public for the Rwanda crisis, is worried whether its capacity for similar campaigns in the future will be reduced.

The Salvation Army, though, is supremely unworried by the lottery.

A spokeswoman commented: ``People who subscribe to the National Lottery want to get rich quick. They are not the people who want to subscribe to charities.''

(Photograph omitted)

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Float Teacher needed in the Vale

£100 - £110 per day + Travel scheme plus free professional trainnig: Randstad ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

KS2 Float Teacher required in Caerphilly

£100 - £110 per day + Travel Scheme plus free professional training: Randstad ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week