Hospice income generation departments have been hit hard by the impact of Covid19, with major events cancelled and traditional fundraising impossible to facilitate through lockdown restrictions.
As Hospice’s continued to provide end-of-life care to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Income Generation professionals were forced to think differently and raise vital funds by other means.
Hospice Income Generation Network Trustees describe how they made their In Memory appeal so successful through national Lockdown and why they are happy to share the ‘secrets’ of their success with other Hospices around the UK.
St Barnabas Hospice, Lincolnshire launched its Dragonfly Appeal in February 2020, weeks before the first Lockdown began. The appeal included a traditional mailing, digital campaign, and a display of bespoke ironwork Dragonflies.
Veronica McBain, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at St Barnabas explains how the appeal was adapted to become one of the Hospice’s most successful Income Generation appeals in its 39-year history.
“The Dragonfly Appeal was not our first In Memory event. In 2019 we enjoyed great success with a Forget Me Not display in Lincoln Castle, which raised over £100,000 for the Hospice.
We saw our donors were very responsive to support an appeal with a physical in-memory product, which is why we were keen to re-run the idea.
The ironwork Dragonflies were made by Stefanos, a local Blacksmith who had already produced each Forget Me Not flower the year before.
“Despite the Pandemic, we managed to rearrange the Dragonfly display to September 2020 and adapted the visiting to suit strict social distancing rules. We also adapted our website to showcase the ironworks virtually.
The display, at Doddington Hall and Gardens, included the first 1,300 of the overall 3,000 ironwork Dragonflies dedicated in memory of loved ones and surpassed our targets by raising an incredible £130,000 – helping bridge the gap of lost income from our charity shop closures and Hospice led events and community event cancellations.
“We feel the quality of the Dragonflies, the support from a local craftsman, and vital digital advertising of the appeal accounted for its unquestionable success. During the display alone a further 500 dragonflies were sold due to the use of digital marketing and crucial video content from this.”
St Barnabas Hospice shared the story of their success at the annual conference for the Hospice Income Generation Network in 2020 pre-pandemic, allowing other hospices to learn and replicate their idea. One of the hospices inspired to create their own campaign was St Christopher’s Hospice in London.
The fundraising team at St Christopher’s decided on the type of flower they wanted to use and then set about finding a supplier who could provide a good quality product at a reasonable price. The next step was to find a suitable venue within their catchment area where the installation could take place.
In January 2021 the St Christopher’s Snowdrop campaign was launched and has so far raised over £80,000. The date of the installation had to be changed due to Lockdown 3 but they hope this will go ahead at the end of March.
We know of several other Hospices that have since taken this idea forward and are in the process of replicating their own take on this type of in-memory campaign as we emerge from the pandemic.
This sharing of ideas to create income generation opportunities is typical of the work of the Hospice Income Generation Network. The annual conference and development days throughout the year provide the perfect platform for their members to learn from each other and other income generation professionals within the third sector. Each time their members gather together, whether in person or virtually, there is a real buzz and excitement both for those sharing their ideas and those learning from them. The offering of knowledge and experience is so generous.
This year the Hospice Income Generation Network is offering free membership to all hospice income generation professionals – so that’s fundraisers, lottery and retail, as well as marketing and communications. Find out more here.