Mountbatten Isle of Wight : Coronavirus appeal

Exhibited by
Jax Jones, Mountbatten Isle of Wight
Added
May 28, 2020
Medium of Communication
Online, radio
Target Audience
All donors
Type of Charity
Hospice
Country of Origin
UK
Date of first appearance
2020

SOFII’s view

Continuing our series of great campaigns in the time of coronavirus, here is something special from Mountbatten Isle of Wight, a hospice in the UK. Faced with financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, they created a swift online appeal to finance the purchase of protective equipment for staff and volunteers. This chimed perfectly with the national mood of support for key workers, and it included both a powerful message and an excellent follow-up with donors. The numbers were incredible and they did it all at a cost of only £260!

Background

We are Mountbatten Isle of Wight, the only provider of end of life care and support for people living with, affected by or curious about death, dying and bereavement on the Isle of Wight. Our fundraising (excluding retail) typically raises approximately £2 million per year – around half of this income is from legacies. We have estimated that our financial losses and added expenditure due to coronavirus will create a deficit of £1 million in our funds.

Summary / objectives

Initially, our coronavirus appeal asked the community to protect our nurses and raise funds needed for additional equipment required to care for patients. We felt that aligning ourselves with the current feeling towards NHS nurses on the front line would capture people’s attention. We combined a low value ask for PPE with a mid to high value ask for equipment – along with the caveat that if we raised more than we needed for these items, the remainder would support our services.

Special characteristics

We decided against calling it a crisis or emergency appeal to allow us to take it up a notch if we needed to. 

The appeal launched on our website and social media pages, and with the help of some coverage on local radio talk shows, pulled in £28,000 in the first four days. We started to see a significant increase in community fundraisers  – one in particular asked people to donate what they would have spent on a round of drinks over the Easter bank holiday, and raised over £11,000. There have also been several high-value donations in comparison to what we would typically receive, including a major gift of £10,000.

We spent £260 with a local third-party advertiser to send an email campaign to their list of over 20,000 subscribers.

Results

The tone and content of the email were quite bold for us, and it had a fantastic response, over £30,000 in donations, probably the best £260 we’ve ever spent!

Our total now stands at £218k, and the data analysis shows that many donations are from new donors or lapsed donors that have returned to us, which is unusual and exciting. While the pandemic means we are facing significant challenges and financial losses, it has presented the opportunity to tear up the script and do things in the way we want to, but find hard to achieve in our regular day-to-day. If we can make strides in stewardship now, the future looks bright, and that will be the real success story of our coronavirus appeal.

Other relevant information

We’ve used the resource and time that we would have spent organising events to hone in on stewardship – sending handwritten cards enclosed with a packet of sunflower seeds and making calls to donors that have given significant gifts. We are putting together a special issue of our quarterly magazine, Connect, which we will mail to appeal donors as an update (another first). The theme of ‘Coronavirus Connect’ is ‘Because of you’. It will focus on what the donor’s gifts have achieved – another departure from the norm for this particular communication.

Our data analysis shows that many donations are from new donors or lapsed donors that have returned to us, which is unusual and exciting. While the pandemic means we are facing significant challenges and financial losses, it has presented the opportunity to tear up the script and do things in the way we want to, but find hard to achieve in our regular day-to-day. If we can make strides in stewardship now, the future looks bright, and that will be the real success story of our coronavirus appeal.