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The postcards that broke the prize draw’s back

Unfortunately we are announcing the closure of our opportunity to win a brand new car with Platinum Motors. All tickets will be refunded over the coming weeks as we look to return the money to everyone involved.

We’re not shy to say that sometimes we will try to do something new, something different, something to help our club generate funds, whilst looking to reward our Supporters and the community.

When we set out on this adventure with Platinum Motors and Fair Frome. We knew it would be a tough ask, but the hope was to reward someone with the real chance of winning a brand new car. All for the chance of donating £5 to our club and our local food banks. In all honesty we know that many of the people donating knew the chances of winning were slim. But hey if you don’t buy a ticket…

We’ve seen so much effort from members of the club, staff, players, our Supporters Club and Platinum Motors into trying to make this work. We’ve seen over 450+ people pledge donations either through the Crowdfunder site, directly by purchasing tickets at the match or through family and friends. We would like to thank you all for your amazing efforts and generosity.

So, what went wrong?

As part of the agreement with Platinum Motors we had to raise enough money to cover the cost of the car. Which they provided at a very reasonable rate and the offer of helping to promote the draw through their channels and events. The total - plus our aim to help the club and Fair Frome - meant we had to set a minimum reserve price to make the draw work for all parties.

We believed this was achievable and that we would be able to attract more people by offering tickets via an online platform to reach our target and more people in Frome.

After an impressive start, we became aware of a problem that we didn’t realise would become the eventual last act of this adventure.

The more experienced ‘prize draw’ entrants will know that you need to offer a ‘free way’ of entering to align to the legal requirements. Which is typically sending in a postcard to a named address.

After 5 days the club had received over 50 postcards from around the UK with people entering to win. After 2 weeks the number had grown to around 100. With none of these postcards being from the local area.

We didn’t really consider that people would be so keen to just “win”, that they were willing to look well beyond the reasons for our campaign. So much so that some individuals we’re willing to write emails to the club asking if they could enter for free via email! We appreciate times have been difficult, but we knew something was wrong, we had lost the community spirit and engagement around the draw, that was so prevalent in our previous year’s campaign. We had become a faceless online competition to far too many people.

We rapidly stopped pushing adverts that we had targeting people on social media in the local area and in Frome, to focus on in person events, our matches and local shows. But the the issues continued when even the Martin Lewis website started to advertise our prize draw for free and by postcard. They don’t like prize draws that charge over £2 a ticket, so communicated the “free way to win a car”. They let us know they were helping with a hugely positive email, but the unwanted help saw another flurry of postcards arrive. But we remained positive that we could keep raising money locally.

However, with time against us, we faced a tricky decision. Do we extend the draw as planned for another two months to try and encourage the rest of the donations or draw a line under this learning experience… Then an unthinkable action happened.

Four days ago we arrived for our Saturday fixture vs Slimbridge, to find a box of 2001 postcards on the doorstep of the club. All from just one man, and worse, a local frome man. Followed by a proud email from the same person detailing and documenting his actions. In this email he also requested that he be kept in the loop and wanting photographic proof of the draw. Insinuating that foul play may occur during the draw, whilst claiming effectively £10,000 worth of free entries to the competition.

The prize draw was now dead.

We had set out to do something that we hoped would help the club, our food banks and give everyone in the community a bit of excitement. Whilst changing someone’s life by awarding them a fantastic prize. But we’ve been a little too trusting and maybe a little naive.

In the interest of transparency, we and Platinum Motors have both lost money through the campaign being incomplete. But we will look beyond the negatives. As although this has not succeeded, we’re trying, we’ve learnt and we’ll bounce back.

For clarification on the next steps for refunds, we will be issuing further communications. As the Crowdfunder site will refund anyone that has donated within the next 30 days. But for the 100s of people that bought physical tickets, we will be reaching out to you one by one to return your money. Please bear with us, we have no intention of keeping the money, we are reliant on a few volunteers to contact each person.

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please let us know.

Finally, just a thank you again to anyone that did play their part to help our club and Fair Frome. Whether volunteering, pledging or sharing the cause. We are #BA11


Update: Following the news this morning we have created the following link to take donations or for people to re-pledge their refunded money, following a large number of requests. The money raised will be split between the club and our charity partner Fair Frome.

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