The Chartered Institute of Fundraising is the professional membership body for fundraising across the UK, and has a committee of members established to support excellent fundraising and charities in Northern Ireland. We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation. Society lotteries are one of the fastest growing areas of fundraising, not only raising much-needed money for good causes in Northern Ireland, but also engaging new people in the work of charities which can lead to a lifetime of charitable giving.
We understand that society lotteries are a form of gambling and do need safeguards and appropriate regulation to protect people from harm and to minimise problem gambling. Charity fundraising, including selling of society lottery tickets, already is bound by a Code of Fundraising Practice set by the Fundraising Regulator that sets standards above legal or statutory requirements including responding appropriately to people in vulnerable circumstances, as well as ensuring that people are not put under undue pressure to donate. These standards provide an additional safety net, beyond statutory regulation for gambling, which means that people can always expect a positive experience of fundraising and minimising any potential harm.
At a time when many charities across the UK are facing significant funding gaps as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption caused to fundraising activities due to lockdown and social distancing it is welcome that the call for evidence proposed lifting a limit on society lottery ticket prices.
We strongly agree with the proposal to amend Article 137 of the 1985 Order to remove the maximum ticket price for society lotteries. Charities should be able to set lottery ticket prices at a level they judge to create a compelling and engaging fundraising ask to their supporters and the public. It also would reduce administrative burden on charities, as they could sell fewer tickets and raise more money, rather than having to sell each ticket (and associated record keeping) at £1 which can both create more work to administer, but also for individuals in keeping track and a record of lotteries they are participating in.
No other area of fundraising is regulated to set a limit of how much you can give to a charitable cause, and we very much welcome the proposal to remove this limit and enable innovation and growth in society lotteries which will benefit charitable causes, people, and communities in Northern Ireland.