By Doug Hallett
The Rotary Club of Guelph has cancelled its biggest annual fundraiser for this year, but it hopes to put the “home” back into its Dream Home Lottery in 2014.
“The important thing to know is it hasn’t gone away. It has only missed a beat and will be back,” says Bob Housser, chair of the Rotary club’s Dream Lottery committee.
After 10 years of operating a Dream Home Lottery, the Rotary club changed things last year by running a lottery with a $250,000 grand prize, instead of a new house.The club wants to go back to the old format, but it has bumped up against the same problem it has faced for a couple of years, namely difficulty in lining up the prize. It’s hard to find a new single-detached house in Guelph that would be considered a dream home and that the club can buy for a price “that allows us to make money” using it as a prize, Housser said Friday.
“Guelph has a very low inventory of surplus housing and lots, compared with many places,” he said.
The club doesn’t think it can solve this problem by just selling more tickets, he said. “We believe we are selling all the tickets we can sell right now.” The tickets have sold for $100 each or three for $250, with 8,500 tickets being printed.
Using a house as a grand prize is easier than offering cash, because “people have a place to go” to see the prize and to buy tickets at the same time, said Housser. He said the club found last year that it took more advertising and more manpower – such as Rotary members having to sell tickets in malls – to run the Dream Lottery with a grand prize of cash.
“We had to run around and do things” that didn’t need to be done in years when the top prize was a house, he said.
Instead of doing it again this year, the club has decided to regroup and move towards a revival of a lottery that uses housing as a grand prize. To get around the problem it has faced lining up a “freestanding” house to use as a prize, the club is looking at “other housing options,” Housser said.
“We have a contractor who is prepared to work with us,” he said, and the club is hoping everything falls into place in time for a dream home lottery in 2014.
In its first 10 years, the club says, its Dream Home Lottery raised a total of about $1.25 million for community projects.
With no such revenue coming in during 2013, the club won’t be taking on new projects this year that require significant fundraising, Housser said. However, it will continue its existing commitments, such as a multi-year funding commitment to Guelph General Hospital, he said.
Although the dream lottery has been its biggest annual fundraiser, the club has other smaller ones, he noted.