Community, Lottery and the Aussie Spirit

A social media post, no matter how well-meaning does not translate into valuable currency for a cause or a community, which is why we love to see the impact of initiatives like the Community Lottery

People’s Choice Credit Union is a partner of The Big Smoke and is currently powering our “Ladder – From Intern to CEO” section.


Australia is moving toward a time that technology will see us be completely connected in every aspect of our lives, and yet, seemingly disconnected. As our digital world expands, our physical reality and our personal connections contract. Our sense of community, once broad and varied, often stays within the walls, of our small chosen online universe, and so does our ubiquitous Australian humanitarian reach. The winds of change can be heard blowing through Internet servers, and the new reality is that support for a cause or a Community is now measured with “likes” or “shares” instead of dollars and volunteers.

A social media post, no matter how well-meaning, is hard to measure in the real world, and does not translate into valuable currency for a cause or a community.

Fortunately, despite the impacts of globalisation, the Australian community spirit is not dead – it merely lays hidden under a mass of copper wire. Finding avenues for true philanthropic impact is merely a matter of looking in the right place. But look no more; we’ve pulled out the magnifying glass, and found what we feared may have been lost, through our partnership with People’s Choice Credit Union.

The Community Lottery. The term initially evoked images of my grandfather’s unswerving and hopeless devotion to the $2 Bowls Club badge draw (which is impossible to win, but I digress). I had resigned this notion of good ole community spirit and support to his generation, the “post-war blue collar Australia.” I assumed a scheme like this didn’t still exist on a large scale in today’s latte-sipping, Insta-obsessed society.

I was wrong. And for once, I am glad to have been.

The People’s Choice Community Lottery has been a constant and consistent community force for 30 years. Since 1984, it’s returned more than $14.5 million to the local
communities that the initiative supports, through more than a thousand groups, schools, clubs and charities.

In a time where fundraising is largely defined by the latest kitsch crowd-funding effort that ultimately lines the pockets of those who started it, to hear a story that solely helps others is rare. The not-for-profit groups that sell tickets and raise funds through the Lottery do so at no cost to themselves, so there is a potential for a group to raise anywhere from $100 to $40,000 (and there’s no ticket sales limit when selling online!) with no outlay.

Each year, stretching from Dandenong to Darwin, groups (big and small) sell up to 900,000 tickets at $2 each, offering up a big pool of donated prizes, and they get to keep all the profits – every penny. A potential $1.8 million is then invested back into some pretty special one-pub communities, like that coastal one I still call home.

So, while the notion of the idealistic, gritty, pat-your-neighbour-on-the-back Australia might be changing, it’s comforting to know that the more things change, the more some things stay the same. The further afield we wander in our digital worlds, the more we appreciate the familiar. Our home towns, the people and places that hold our memories  and the pillars that support them, like the People’s Choice Community Lottery.

Get amongst it next year.

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