POSTED BY hannah cohen | May, 18, 2018 |
The make a smile team outside for a promo shot

Welcome to our very first ‘making smiles’ blog entry for make a smile lottery – helping your local charity raise vital funds through our weekly lottery draw.

We cannot believe that at the time of writing this over 7 months have gone and 31 draws since the first make a smile lottery draw on Friday 13th October 2017. It certainly was an exciting day at the lottery office with tempting ‘on brand’ cupcakes and special guests including Mark Jarman–Howe, CEO of St Helena Hospice to help mark the special occasion.

make a smile lottery cupcakes         smile balloons cupcakes and party poppers

We started the lottery with two benefiting charities; Wessex Heartbeat in Southampton and leading cancer charity in Wales, Tenovus Cancer Care. Wessex Heartbeat came to us as they were on the lookout for a lottery product as a new income stream and already had contact with us via our Your Hospice Lottery division (more about that later). Whereas Tenovus Cancer Care had an existing lottery but knew that by coming over to us we could give them more pence in every £1 lottery play.

The initial recruitment campaign to sign up new players to the draw ran for 10 weeks, prior to the first draw date. At the point of the first draw we had 4,570 numbers, our initial target was 600. The recruitment campaign continues to be a success and is ongoing, with now over 5,300 numbers in the draw each week for make a smile lottery.

7 months later we have now doubled in size with two new charity partners on board; The Rob George Foundation and MS-UK and plenty of interest from a wide range of local causes nationwide.


Every week we are putting a smile on the face of our lucky prize winners by dishing out guaranteed cash prizes from £10 to £250, plus a rollover jackpot which starts at £200 and if not won increases by £200 each week up to a maximum of £10,000! So far we have created nearly 500 lucky winners including 2 rollover winners scooping £1,800 and £4,400 respectively.

Did you know that we run 2 lotteries in the charity sector?

Even though make a smile lottery is still in its infancy we bring over 16 years’ experience of running a successful lottery draw at St Helena Hospice called Your Hospice Lottery. Having started in 2001 as a new lottery raising money for St Helena Hospice, 10 years later Your Hospice Lottery was born working with other hospices around the UK to keep costs down and increase the amount of funds that can be given back to hospice care. By the end of March 2017, St Helena Hospice had raised over £8 million for hospice care for both itself and the 10 hospices making up Your Hospice Lottery.

Successfully managing recruitment, administration, a growing prize fund and marketing strategy both off and online, there was a “what happens next” moment. . . . Our reputation had become one for good quality service, compliance and knowledge within the lottery sector, helping other hospices to raise incredible amounts of money, and so, we decided in order to grow and to reach other areas of Great Britain we needed to set up a brand new lottery but with one significant and innovative difference: for the first time, a hospice would take its product outside of the hospice sector to work with other charities, helping them to increase their income.

Just as we were thinking through our initial ideas, we started to have tentative discussions with one of our current hospice partner contacts who had moved away from the hospice world to become CEO of a charity based in Southampton, and they wanted a lottery product. A fantastic opportunity for St Helena, which we grabbed with both hands and took- our first non-hospice charity lottery partner! Make a smile lottery was born…

Over the next few years, we hope to secure more partners, bringing charities closer together and to provide a new source of income and an introduction to new supporters, whilst at the same time generating new income for St Helena Hospice to address unmet need for hospice care in North East Essex.