How can playing lottery change the world?

February 25, 2018

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Inside the packed National Theatre Carré in the heart of Amsterdam, the red carpet was rolled out for celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Rafael Nadal, along with leaders of some of the best known international charities. A unique event called the Goed Geld Gala (good money gala) was underway, involving 2.9 million lottery players who were making a different kind of bet – on organisations they thought could improve the world.

For the first time ever, BRAC International, the arm of BRAC seated in The Netherlands which is taking the work started in Bangladesh into 10 countries in Asia and Africa, received a contribution from the Postcode Lottery of 1.5 million euros to fight extreme poverty in Liberia. BRAC will employ its proven approach to permanently lift women and families (those who live on less than 1.69 euros a day) out of extreme poverty.

The way the Dutch Postcode Lottery works is a classic win-win situation. Each month there is a chance to win a host of prizes, ranging from luxurious holidays to becoming a millionaire overnight. At the same time, 50% of their tickets go towards charities that are dedicated to building a fair and sustainable world.

Sylvia Borren, vice-chair, BRAC International and Fawzia Rasheed, board member, BRAC International receive the donation. Photo: Roy Beusker Fotografie

“The Postcode Lottery encourages millions of people into charitable giving. People win prizes and at the same time, make the important work of many incredible organisations possible.” – Sylvia Borren, vice-chairperson, BRAC International.

Since its founding in 1989, 5.4 billion euros have been dispensed, making the Postcode Lottery the second largest private donor for global charities. Besides the donations, the Postcode Lottery promotes and raises awareness on the good work of the winning organisations.

More importantly, the Postcode Lottery supports long-term institutional funding. The donations are mostly unrestricted money, making it possible for organisations to fulfill their dreams, and finance programmes that are too risky or are not sexy enough for the public. For example, in 2018, 11.9 million euros was awarded for the safe provision of abortion for women and girls.

“Not many financers dare to give money to tough and difficult topics. It really is heartwarming to ally with financers like the Postcode Lottery. Their kind of support speaks of real confidence in their partners,” says Borren.

BRAC has supported in lifting 1.7 million families out of extreme poverty through the graduation approach in Bangladesh. The approach provides a step-by-step guide to women, who in two years time “graduate” permanently from extreme poverty.

“With this fantastic contribution from the Postcode Lottery, we can do in Liberia what we already achieved on a large scale in Bangladesh,” says Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson, BRAC.

The Postcode Lottery involves millions of people in strengthening much-needed organisations, while BRAC helps millions of people to fight poverty through piloting, perfecting and scaling projects. We’re looking forward to the impact ahead of us.


Sanne van de Graaf is a marketing and communications consultant at BRAC International.