Consumers wanted more prizes and winners, for example, rather than one huge grand prize. This year, Michigan participants will have a chance to win 10 grand prizes worth $10,000 each, instead of $100,000 single prize.
Designers also found that people are gung-ho on saving early in the year, but savings and interest in the program taper off, especially as the winter holidays approach.
Smith-Ramani says her nonprofit is looking at ways to structure prizes to maintain depositors' interest. One way, she says, may be to increase monthly prizes over the course of the year, similar to the growing Mega Millions jackpot that recently generated excitement about the lottery.
"It's a great incentive," says Charmain Hanners, 57, who participates in Save to Win. "And not just because I won."
Hanners, a retired school kitchen worker, says she always has been a saver, and opened a Save to Win CD at the encouragement of her credit union. She has won two small raffle prizes and last year took home the $100,000 grand prize. She saved some of that, of course.
She says consumers have no guarantee of winning a lottery or the credit union raffles. But with a lottery, you're out your money when you lose. With Save to Win, "that $25 you deposited, you still got that $25," she says. With interest, too.
It will take some time for banks and credit unions to devise a wide-scale program here. But Marylanders should keep their eyes open for a chance to save and win prizes at local financial institutions.
After all, what do you have to lose?