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Homeless Lottery Show

Give a buck to a homeless person for a chance to win a $1,000,000 for you and the homeless guy.
 
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The morning newscasts announce that the Homeless Lottery is in effect, and the Homeless Lottery Show will be seen in one week's time. The lottery winner is the first person to donate $1 to a preselected homeless person being secretly monitored by the show's staff.

Hidden cameras capture the moment. The lucky donor and the homeless person each win $1,000,000! The joyful scene is shown on prime time tv: a good citizen who donated $1 to a homeless person becomes a lottery winner millionaire -- and the lucky homeless person (who was selected at random by the show's staff) also wins a $1,000,000 thus escaping a life of dire poverty.

Everyone comes out ahead. The the lucky donor and homeless person each win $1,000,000. The $2,000,000 in prize money put up by the show would result in several million $1 donations to homeless people. Each of the donors, even if they don't win the Homeless Lottery, get a warm feeling from helping out a stranger in need. And the Homeless Lottery Show makes a profit the old fashioned way: selling commercial time.

Very efficient, as far as lotteries go. Instead of netting only 20% (or less) of the lottery revenue for good works, all of the millions of individual $1 lottery "chances" go directly to the homeless people themselves.

[Note: The idea for Homeless Lottery Show was inspired by "Homeless CEO Calendar" http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/homeless_20CEO_20calendar #1082438281; I then subsequently revised my original write-up of the idea to incorporate suggestions by Zanzibar, ldischler & Worldgineer. Thanks for the suggestions.]

booleanfool, Apr 20 2004

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       Wouldn't the homeless person benefit more from the money than you? Perhaps if you give a certain percentage, (say 50%) of it impulsively to the homeless person then you both get a million.   

       Make the beneficient act different each time, so that there is no recognizable formula. That way it has to be an act of altruism that gets you the bonus prize.
Zanzibar, Apr 20 2004
  

       once you win your million you could hire more people to walk around the city all day putting coins into bums hats and win more mwahahahaha!
Gulherme, Apr 20 2004
  

       An excellent idea. It uses greed driven altruism to get dynamite ratings for the Homeless Lottery Show.
ldischler, Apr 20 2004
  

       My favorite version of this was done in Trading Places
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004
  

       Perhaps I'm missing something, but where does the $1M come from?   

       I thought this idea was to give money to a lottery instead of homelss people, and one homeless person would win the pot - instantly moving them from rags to riches.
Worldgineer, Apr 20 2004
  

       It seems to me that the money comes from advertisers who back the television show. I mean...there’s a show, right?
ldischler, Apr 20 2004
  

       I don't buy the donations and public funds plan. It would be hard to get people to give money not to a homeless fund, but to a single lucky person in the hope that others are giving more.
Worldgineer, Apr 20 2004
  

       Looking back over the annos, I agree that there would have to be a show. It's doubtful seed money would come from donations and public funds as I had originally thought. I revised the idea to incorporate suggestions, since my original posting of this idea did not include a show or the homeless person winning $1,000,000. Thanks for the suggestions.
booleanfool, May 09 2004
  
      
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