A Fundraising Problem and How It Was Solved

I thought I’d share a personal experience I had of how trying to help others and find some good fundraising ideas for Australian sports clubs once landed me in a spot of bother. Every other year I used to organise several events in aid of the Sport Relief appeal – a string of smaller events using my best fundraising ideas over a period of six months to give a boost to my fundraising efforts which then culminated in a twelve hour marathon of table tennis around the time of the appeal. However this story relates to the smaller events and two I had running at the same time around eight years ago.

One was a simple quiz where people bought a quiz-sheet, submitted their answers and the winner would be rewarded with a bottle of wine. Meanwhile I had also invented my own football based sweepstake – after paying an entry fee, people drew a football team (using just the top two flights) at random. The person who picked the first team to score twenty-one goals then won half of the money with the other half going to the charity. All seemed well and good and several of my colleagues at the police station where I worked as a stores officer were happy to take part. I advertised the quiz and posted updates on the football competition on what was known as the police intranet – a sort of online local notice board across the force.

My charity campaign was then brought crashing down by a phone-call I received at work one day – from the compliance officer who had seen my posts on the intranet and was ringing to tell me that what I was doing was actually breaking the law! He classed the football competition as a lottery – only I could end up running an illegal lottery from a police station! The quiz also ended up on the wrong side of the law due to the prize – the wine,  although non-alcohol based prizes would of course make it acceptable.

It felt like a huge kick to the stomach, particularly as I received the call during the festive season. My intention was to have a little fun and help others, instead I found myself studying the various lottery and gaming acts. Happily there was a positive end to the tale as I discovered a way around the illegal lottery problem – by forming my own fundraising club and getting the signature of anyone who wished to join. I was then able to run my competitions on the right side of the law by making sure the entrants were members of my club.