By Doug Hallett
The dream of bringing its Dream Home Lottery back to life is proving elusive for the Rotary Club of Guelph.
The club cancelled its biggest annual fundraiser last year and hoped to bring it back in 2014. That now seems unlikely, says club president Jim Wadleigh.
However, “I do know that the idea of a dream lottery is not dead,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
“I guess all options are on the table,” he said, including the option of having something other than a home as the grand prize.
That’s an option the club already tried once, in 2012, when after 10 years of operating a Dream Home Lottery it ran a lottery with a $250,000 grand prize instead. But that made selling tickets a more labour-intensive proposition, among other challenges.
“The dream home had some benefits, in that it gave us a great location to sell tickets to people,” Wadleigh said.
Guelph has a shortage of good quality lots for a dream home to use as a lottery prize, he said. This makes it hard for the club to get a dream home that’s affordable, given the number of tickets it can sell in a place the size of Guelph.
“We actually do very well compared with other communities on a per capita basis” when it comes to selling Dream Home Lottery tickets, he said. “But there is a limit,” given the city’s population.
“We could get cheaper lots, but then it’s truly not a dream home,” he noted with a chuckle.
The club looked at the possibility of getting a condominium as a dream home prize for a 2014 lottery, with the grand prize to be drawn as usual on Canada Day at Riverside Park. “It looked promising, but when we looked at the nitty-gritty of when we would take possession,” he said, it wasn’t doable.
However, he added, “given that Guelph seems to be a good market for good quality condominiums, I would say that is an option that is still on the table” for future years.
In the first five years of its Dream Home Lottery, the Rotary Club of Guelph donated $100,000 in profits annually to a local hospital fundraising campaign, Wadleigh said. After that time, profits went to other Rotary projects in the local community.
The club has other annual fundraisers that generally do well – Canada Day at Riverside Park, a Hockey Challenge weekend in February, Lobsterfest in September and Sparkles in the Park around Christmas – but the dream lottery has usually been its biggest single annual fundraiser, he said.
“It makes it hard to walk away from it,” even though “we have hit a few bumps” with the lottery, Wadleigh said.
By Doug Hallett