Exclusive: National Lottery to highlight grassroots funding for 25th anniversary campaign

The National Lottery is to use grassroots examples of its work in a bid to connect with people at a local level as part of its biggest ever comms campaign, PRWeek can reveal.

The National Lottery Promotion Unit is planning a campaign to celebrate grass-roots funding for good causes (pic credit: John Keates / Alamy Stock Photo)
The National Lottery Promotion Unit is planning a campaign to celebrate grass-roots funding for good causes (pic credit: John Keates / Alamy Stock Photo)

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery. In the years since it began in November 1994, it has raised tens of billions for good causes and become synonymous with iconic successes such as the London 2012 Olympics.

Comms plans are at an advanced stage to promote the National Lottery's 25th anniversary. But while there is recognition of the National Lottery's achievements nationally, more needs to be done to connect with people in the areas where they live, according to Jonathan Tuchner, director of the National Lottery Promotion Unit (NLPU).

Speaking to PRWeek, he said: "When we ask people can you name a National Lottery funded project in your locale – we know there are about 535,000 projects across the UK – you’d hope everyone could, but not everyone can."

Tuchner, who heads up a comms team of 14 people, added: "The 25th anniversary is a moment in time for a step change to make people more aware of the positive contribution and the extraordinary things the National Lottery does across the country."

NLPU will lead the campaign, which will involve working with comms teams at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Camelot, and distributors of lottery funding such as UK Sport and the Arts Council.

"We want this to be as huge as it can be and to reach as many people as possible," said Tuchner.

The overall budget for the campaign has not yet been disclosed, but the NLPU is to spend £83,000 on getting an 'evidence base' produced to show the value of the National Lottery to the UK over the past 25 years.

This will include "killer facts and figures showcasing the impact of the National Lottery, keeping in mind the figures that will most appeal to the public", according to a tender document for the contract, which will run from December until next May.

It will also include "a diverse range of the most emotive stories and histories with a focus on people and lives that have been changed".

The document states that the best stories and projects will be "showcased for presentation at the National Lottery Awards 2019 show broadcast by the BBC, which will have a 25th anniversary theme".

Tuchner commented that one of the key aims of the campaign will be to use the anniversary as an opportunity for people to feed back what they would like to see happen over the next 25 years.

He said: "We want to hear from the communities that we support and the individuals that we work alongside, exactly what they want to do."

In terms of target audiences for the campaign, the "first audience are the players, the people who actually buy the tickets. The most important thing for us is to make sure that when you go and buy a ticket that you understand what you are contributing, what you are part of, so you don't just feel ‘I’ve won or I’ve lost’, it’s much more ‘this is happening because of me'."

He added that there was also "a clear focus on young people, to make sure that they understand what the National Lottery is in their life, and to make them understand that they can help shape what happens next".

Tuchner wants to recapture the way people felt about the National Lottery at the time of the 2012 Olympics, which it helped fund to the tune of more than £2bn. At that time people "saw it as being such an important influential part of all the good things that were happening and how it was contributing to the joyful mood of the nation. In some ways that’s the point we need to come back to."

Although the comms plan has yet to be finalised, it is likely that an external PR agency will be brought in to help deliver it, and it is anticipated that the campaign launch will be at the start of next summer.

Tuchner remarked: "We are going to have peaks and troughs throughout the year because we want the build up towards a crescendo in November."

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