When I first heard the figure, I thought my ears were playing a trick on me.
What was that? For every €4 spent on Rehab lottery cards, the charity gets one cent. Could that be right?
As it turned out, that was exactly what Alan Shatter told the Dáil. In what must be the understatement of the century, he noted drily that the profit ratio seemed disproportionate.
Disproportionate indeed. Every so often, I have a quick chat with one of our occasional financial contributors, so I ran it by him.
What do you think of this Rehab thing, Herr Professor?
It’s a bit surprising, he said. Actually, that’s not what he said, but it amounts to the same thing, more or less, minus the expletives.
Four million in sales produced a profit of €9,500. Isn’t that as close to zero profit as makes no difference?
Zero tolerance, as you might say, if you were manufacturing microchips or surgical lasers. What would be typical for a charity?
Most well run charities are at about 10-15% costs. Trócaire, Médecins Sans Frontières. And they have to hire planes and bodyguards and lads to beat off the snakes with.
You’re saying their overheads are 10-15%?
But Rehab’s costs are, wait, let me work this out, 99.75%
There was a brief scratching sound and a rustle as the Prof re-lit his pipe and adjusted his smoking jacket. Indeed, he murmured. Room for improvement there.
Now, I’m normally good with numbers, but this wasn’t making sense. I needed a chart to show the comparison between the Rehab lottery profits and its overheads. Here it is.