Toonie Toss fever
Wildly successful 50/50 toonie toss fundraiser to get new prepay system this fall
Rotary fundraiser going strong, raises about $1 million annually
It’s no secret why Mud Creek Rotary’s 50/ 50 Toonie Toss is so popular — it raises funds for the community, and also offers players the chance at a hefty cash prize.
Rotary club director of fundraising Sheila McKay says the fundraising game has done nothing but continue to grow since its start in 2013 and has continued to raise an average $ 1 million each year — half of which is tossed straight back to community groups located from Windsor to Berwick.
And with a prepay system that’s on the rocks, the club is looking to doll out a new system this fall to keep people playing, and continue raising money.
“People get really excited about it. It took off right away, and it just seems to keep building momentum,” she said.
‘So well, so fast’: McKay
The wildly successful lottery was first introduced in May 2013, as the rotary modeled their fundraiser after one launched by a club in Prince Edward Island.
They traveled to the island to see how everything worked, and knew it would be perfect back home, according to McKay.
“It was also the timing that made it do so well, so fast. We did it before other groups started running 50/50 fundraisers, and it’s continued growing,” she said.
The game assigns each registered player a set of digits known as a lifetime number. Each number is entered into a lottery and manually picked weekly every Monday, and if the number is active — the player has paid for and tossed a toonie in for that week’s draw — the cash is split.
Half goes to the winning player, and the half goes back to a community group selected by the rotary club.
If the number is not an active player, it rolls over into the following week’s cash pool. This, said McKay, is what gets people even more excited.
“We had a rollover continue for an entire summer in 2015, and our largest-ever win was six months ago, and was more than $100,000,” she said.
New prepay system this fall
More than 31,500 numbers have been issued to players since 2013, and nearly half of these numbers are played regularly, says McKay.
The fundraiser has recently had to suspend its popular prepay toonie tossing option, where participants could pay for a set- amount of tickets ahead of draws.
This is because the system became overloaded, and the pressure caused small issues to become larger problems, said Rob Porter, another rotary club member.
“This had become a very popular way of participating... [ but] the time it took to reconcile all issues associated with it became too time consuming for our small group,” said Porter.
For now, participants can stop in at one of more than 20 vendors from Windsor to Berwick, pay to play and toss a toonie with their number into a box.
McKay confirmed the fix, a website where people will be able to pay online to participate in the weekly draws, is expected to be completed sometime this fall.
“It certainly was convenient for quite a few players to be able to prepay, and we want to continue to encourage people to play — this is why we needed to make the fix happen,” she said.
Sheila McKay is the director of fundraising for the Mud Creek Rotary Club, and an organizer of its 50/50 Toonie Toss fundraiser, which splits profits between one lucky winner and community groups. The fundraiser raises an average of $1 million per year, with half of that going directly to community groups from Windsor to Berwick.
Participants write their number on a sticker and place it on a toonie that they enter into the weekly 50/50 Toonie Toss for a chance to win cash. The largest amount drawn to date was about $100,000.