Survey boost for charitable lotteries

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LOTTERIES could be a powerful weapon in charities' fund-raising armoury, according to an analysis of contributions published today.

In the first study comparing countries, almost half of Spaniards, who were shown as the most frequent donors, gave to charities through lotteries.

The five-nation survey by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) comes as the companies competing to run Britain's lottery are said to be reconsidering their proposals. The businessman Richard Branson's suggestion that some of the profits should be ploughed into 'good causes' has attracted public support.

The idea for the UK Lottery Foundation, headed by Mr Branson and Lord Young of Graffham, was backed by arts and charitable organisations.

The CAF survey, International Giving and Volunteering, appears to lend further weight to the argument that not all the annual profit from the lottery, estimated at pounds 100m to pounds 200m, should be kept by the successful bidder.

The study reveals that in Britain, where door-to-door and street collections are the most used methods to solicit donations, and charity events the most fruitful, 65 per cent had given to charity in the previous month, just behind the Spanish with 71 per cent.

Canada, at 62 per cent, and the US, at 55 per cent, came next and in each case donations at places of worship were the most popular means of giving money.

Individually the Canadians and Americans were the most generous. On average, monthly donations were pounds 22 in Canada and pounds 19.50 in the US, compared with pounds 7 in Britain and pounds 7.50 in Spain.

France lagged well behind in frequency and amount of donation. Only 27 per cent had given in the month, and the average donation was just pounds 4.

Michael Brophy, CAF director, said: 'This report confirms that giving to good causes is a strong and established part of our culture.

'However, it is also clear that in terms of the sums donated and hours volunteered, we do not value the role played by charities to the extent that some other countries do.'

International Giving and Volunteering; pounds 16.95; Charities Aid Foundation.