Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

Lotteries - A unique and sustainable source of undesignated funding for cancer research (#507)

Christine Lasky 1
  1. The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Toronto, ON, Canada

Background and Context: Securing undesignated funding for any cancer organization is the most difficult money to raise. The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation has found a significant source of undesignated funding in their lottery program

Aim: To raise significant and sustainable sources of undesignated funding for the research enterprise

Strategy/Tactics: Invest in a robust lottery program (non-taxceipted) to fund and build a leading cancer research organization. Appeal to people that might not write a pure donation cheque to the Foundation thereby raising more money than what traditional fundraising programs alone can provide an organization.

Programme Process: The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (along with an outsourced lottery partner organization) runs two annual lotteries a year. All prizes and media and marketing of the programs are expensed against the gross revenue. Sell outs are critical to optimizing the net return as they often have high break-evens. 

Costs and returns: Lotteries are not for the faint of heart. We invest significant moneys to garner significant net funds for the cancer research centre. Princess Margaret has been running lotteries since 1996 and since inception the lottery program has raise over $250 million for cancer research programs at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Lotteries have averaged a return 33% with the balance expended in running of the program - marketing, logistics and operations. These are a government regulated program, are not tax receiptable, and we view these as part of The PMCF's social enterprise model.

Outcomes/What was learned: Lotteries are a great way to raise undesignated funds but they require significant investment and risk.  Aligning oneself with reputable organizations to help run them is key.