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‘Loved ones’ doesn’t just mean families and friends.

‘Loved ones’ is such an all-encompassing description – friends, family and partners of course, but what about those we loved whose posters were on our walls as teenagers? The pop star pin ups of our teenage years? What happens to the love and affection we feel when they pass away? The British Liver Trust’s online Book of Memories has a new tribute page to one such pin up boy, the wonderful David Cassidy, who sadly passed away in 2017 and bravely shared his story before he passed.  

Davis Cassidy
David Cassidy by Allan Warren [Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0]

David had 10 albums with the Partridge Family and five as a solo artist and was definitely in the category of ‘poster boy’ – although he said he longed to be a rock n roller like Mick Jagger. From ‘Daydreamer’ in 1972 to Blood Brothers in the West End and his Vegas shows in the 1990’s, David continued to break hearts and fill venues with his soulful voice. In 2017 after a performance in which he was clearly struggling, David said he was living with dementia, but in an interview later that year he felt able to share the news that he had liver disease due to alcohol addiction. We are grateful to David and his family for sharing the cause of his illness and death, as many people struggle with alcohol and are afraid to speak about it as they feel they will be judged harshly. Only by being more open will we be able to make changes and support those who need it.

David’s Tribute page was set up by Camellia, who has been a fan since the 1970s. “I wanted to set up this page in Memorial of David Cassidy,” said Camellia, “as he has lots of dedicated fans who followed him here in the UK and supported him in all he did. Towards the end of David’s life he was very open about his addiction to alcohol and the effects it caused him physically and emotionally. He died way too young as many do from alcohol-related liver disease. An online memorial for fans to leave messages seemed a fitting tribute to him in recognition of his struggle. A final token of love from fans. And to highlight the amazing charity that helps all affected by this.”

British Liver Trust is very grateful to Camellia and all those who find comfort in setting up online tributes to loved ones – wherever and however they were loved.

To see David’s page and the lovely memories and comments of his fans, please go to:

https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/BritishLiverTrust/Celebrations/BookofMemories2/16

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Julie Pentecost‘Loved ones’ doesn’t just mean families and friends.

The wonderful consequences of Googling those we’ve lost

Among its many benefits, something quite wonderful about the internet is the opportunity it gives us to reconnect with people we’ve lost, either directly or indirectly.

From those early days of the likes of Friends Reunited, to today’s popular social networking sites, and of course Google, the internet has long provided us with a means not only of reconnecting, but of finding answers to the burning questions we may have about a friend, relative or acquaintance, or even someone we just know the name of, particularly when that person has passed away and is no longer on hand to answer for themselves.

In fact, with so much history and so many personal stories now online, the internet can provide great comfort to those seeking to fill in gaps in knowledge about a loved one’s life and build a better picture of them.

Increasingly too, these internet searches are bringing people to online remembrance books as people Google their relatives and discover either a book dedicated to that person, or a book they had contributed to.

Not only can these books provide longed for answers and delightful revelations, but they can also serve to connect people to others who knew and loved them, as well as to previously unknown details about their lives, as this example, a comment left in a RAF Benevolent Fund book for a soldier who died in Gallipoli, shows:

“I can’t believe how much my grandad did in his life. I just Googled his name and found this website. I just hope he is looking down on me with pride. What an amazing man he was, proud to call him my grandad.”

And reconnecting with lost loved ones in this way in some cases leads them to discovering even more invaluable information such as, in this particular case, where someone is buried:

“I have just stumbled across this page whilst trying to search for my mother’s brother Emlyn Wayne Francis who we lost touch with for over 20 years. It filled me with pride upon seeing this and I couldn’t wait to share it. I hope to visit his grave one day and thanks to this page I now know where he is resting.”

Most often though, the books provide much comfort at a difficult time, particularly when people had lost touch or been apart for a long period of time, as we see here:

“It is a real comfort for me to input my father’s name on Google and to source this tribute to him. I live in Australia so, apart from one brother and an aunt, my links to the UK have been somewhat diminished since his death. John’s death was quite sudden and very sad for me as I hadn’t seen him for five years.”

However, the emotions such discoveries can engender are also having benefits for charities.

Finding this new closeness with someone they cared about can lead people to want to do something good themselves, to follow in their loved one’s footsteps and support the same cause, to donate to a charity that they have found out once cared for them in some way, or to give to one in memory of a loved one who has died of the particular condition that charity focuses on.

This might be a one-off in-memoriam donation, or it can prompt people to go further and become a regular giver, or even to leave a legacy themselves.

This appeared in a book of remembrance for the Guide Dogs Association:

“Auntie Lily was a supporter and left a legacy to the Guide Dogs.  I have known her for 57 years and was unaware of this until she passed away. It was unbelievable how the subject never cropped up in conversation.  Being made aware that she supported Guide Dogs has made me more of an avid supporter as well.  Knowing that Auntie Lily had left a legacy encouraged me to leave a legacy also.”

There are many reasons why people take to Google in a quest for information but it’s wonderful to think that not only is the internet helping people by answering their questions and providing comfort at times of need, but also having another very positive, if unintended, consequence of bringing new support to charities.

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Julie PentecostThe wonderful consequences of Googling those we’ve lost

How Online Remembrance Brings History Alive

The Firefighters Memorial Trust online Book of Remembrance offers a user-friendly way for families and friends of those who have died in the course of their duties, to add their personal tributes and memories.

Alan House, Chief Operating Officer and archivist for the Trust, and himself a recipient of the Queen’s Fire Service Medal, says “Our work seeks to honour all members of the Fire and Rescue Service who have died protecting our communities, dating back to 1720. The Online Book has taken our tributes around the world…Every day individual names are displayed commemorating the anniversaries of each death and this recognition brings comfort and creates a strong sense of community.”

Primarily designed for remembrance, it also very ably demonstrates the versatility of online books: Since its inception, the book has become an invaluable source of information for family history and fire brigade history research.

Giving recognition should come naturally

One of the Trust’s stated aims is their commitment to ongoing research of names that may qualify for inclusion in the Memorial which is situated opposite St Paul’s Cathedral in London, in the Book and other Trust records. The highly engaging and interactive nature of their online book has meant that the Trust has become instrumental in unearthing items of historical significance and bringing forgotten histories to life.

One such episode from Bradford’s local history centres on firefighter Knighton Pridmore who was one of 40 people killed in the Low Moor Explosion in August 1916. Low Moor had housed a munitions factory manufacturing piric acid for use in the war effort. When Alan House added Knighton Pridmore’s tribute to the Book, Nicholas Pinches whose wife is Pridmore’s great grand-daughter, complemented the tribute with a photograph of the firefigher in his uniform together with some details about how he’d come to be in the fire service. A groom and farrier, Knighton Pridmore had, from 1887, looked after the horses that drew the fire engines. With the advent of motorised engines Pridmore chose to become a firefighter himself. Nicholas Pinches has now shared a further photograph which shows Pridmore (left) with the last two remaining fire service horses, Nelson and Admiral, before they were sold, standing alongside the first motorised fire engine in 1913/4.

Alan House comments, “We are delighted with the response our Online Book of Remembrance generates and are looking forward to working with The Online Book Company to further develop what we have created.

Galvanising global support

Reinforcing all aspects of our work, the Book provides a year-round, worldwide presence, complementing initiatives such as our recently introduced Firefighters Memorial Day (4th May). In just two years, the Day has become a firm fixture in the calendar attracting support from serving and past members of the Service, as well as members of the public.

The Sunday nearest the event, this year falling on 5th May, will see the annual Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Firefighters Memorial in London. This is a wonderful occasion where families and supporters take part in a moving act of tribute, remembering fallen firefighters with great pride.”

www.tolbc.com/fmt

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Julie PentecostHow Online Remembrance Brings History Alive

The importance of remembrance

On the Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s 25th anniversary in 1989, we unveiled a new Book of Remembrance, to act as a special place to remember those who have died of cystic fibrosis (CF). This was to be a special place to remember special people, and a reminder of why we must continue fighting against this condition.

Michael Clark - Cystic Fibrosis

Michael Clark
Gifts in Wills and In-memory Manager

I joined the Trust in October 2013. The most special part of my job is usually also the saddest; it is speaking with the bereaved families. What shines through in the conversations, however, is the phenomenal lives that many people with cystic fibrosis tend to lead, and the memories they leave behind for their families.

I have long since believed that there is no stronger emotion than the love we have for others; I changed careers from a private practice to the charity sector in 2007 as a result of personal bereavement, and I have never looked back or regretted it. After all, we may want a nice house, holiday and plenty of money, but you can’t buy love, friendship or companionship. And showing support at and beyond bereavement is one of the most rewarding ways to engage work time.

Understanding our supporters

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust works hard every day, only through the fantastic support of those who donate, fundraise, and raise awareness, to invest in cutting-edge research and campaign on the issues that matter, as well as to provide information and support to those affected by this life-limiting condition. We understand that many support us in memory of a loved one who has died of the condition, and we believe that anyone who continues to support us is doing something sensational; we truly believe that gifts in memory of loved ones are an amazing act of kindness and something we feel humbled to receive.

We want and need to support our in-memory supporters: that’s why last year we launched our online Book of Remembrance. We know why we must continue fighting. We are saddened every time we hear of the death of someone with cystic fibrosis, and our online book allows us to showcase these people and ensure they will never be forgotten. We cherish their lives, and they remind us that we must continue fighting. Our online book provides a special place for friends, family, loved ones or the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to remember special people.

 

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Julie PentecostThe importance of remembrance

How the annual Light Up a Life campaign is helping hospices attract new supporters & entice them online

Each year, hospices around the UK invite those who have lost loved ones to participate in Light Up a Life and make a dedication to their memory on a Tree of Lights and a Book of Remembrance, often accompanied by a donation.

It’s a campaign we keep a close eye on at the Online Book Company as a provider of these dedication books with an annual analysis of the results, and we’ve just published our survey on its performance in 2018.

It reveals a number of interesting insights for fundraisers, and not just for those in the hospice sector. Encouragingly, we can report that it’s a campaign seeing growing engagement and, not only is average donation value up year on year, raising more vital funds for participating hospices, but our analysis reveals that it is also helping with supporter recruitment. Critically too, with a demographic traditionally more comfortable contributing offline, there is evidence that it is playing a role in bridging that digital divide by providing impetus for them to try online.

daffodils - helping hospices attract new supporters

In fact, what we’re seeing is that while many hospices still have to add people’s dedications to their online Books of Remembrance themselves, engagement with these volumes is increasing through people then sharing them with family and friends. Online contributions are also rising. Our survey shows they grew from 3.5% to 5% year on year and this is a figure we expect to increase rapidly over the coming years as online-first generations begin to take on responsibility for their elderly family members.

Overall, 2018’s Light Up a Life campaign saw a significant 27% year on year increase in donation values with, also across all hospices, 20% choosing to top up their donations at checkout.

That’s not all. It’s particularly interesting to see the difference that offering free dedications makes to donation values, compared to when a minimum donation is asked for: raising an average £1 more per dedication. Our analysis also highlights significant gender differences in terms of the typical number of dedications made, and donation value.

And, post GDPR, when many charities are seeking new avenues for increasing their supporter bases, our survey reveals that the Light Up a Life campaign is helping hospices do just this. Up to three-quarters of those asked to consider opting in to the four main channels of phone, email, SMS and post consented to future email communications for example, while an encouragingly low 15% opted out from receiving all marketing communications when presented with this choice.

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Jonathan HawardHow the annual Light Up a Life campaign is helping hospices attract new supporters & entice them online

“It’s Like Our Family Album”

The Laughter Africa Online Book

“I can’t emphasise enough how many people say to me that they love the Online Book – it’s their favourite part of the website.”

James Tyrell, Founder, Laughter Africa

Whoever it was, that said that books make a house a home, injecting soul into mere structure, could have been talking about Laughter Africa. Our Operations Director, Julie Pentecost recently caught up with the charity’s founder James Tyrell, to find out how their Online Book makes everyone come together and feel involved.

How Showing, Not Just Telling Can Make All The Difference

If Laughter Africa’s website is where visitors can go to get all the information they need about the charity, their Online Book, embedded on the site, is where they acquire a real feel for the work being done, one story at a time.

When so many are at risk, being able to recount individual stories with names and images, as well as regular updates on individual progress, helps make Laughter Africa’s work more relatable, vital for driving supporter engagement as well as donations.

The Online Book has brought a sense of belonging to our children and our supporters. It humanises our work; the young people who are being helped are not faceless. They are more than just a “street child” – they each have a name, they each have a story and it deserves to be heard.”

a reason to laugh

Where Everyone Comes Together

The book, the story of the charity from its beginnings to the present day is, at the time of writing, running close to a thousand pages. It’s like a family album with pages full of laughter, joy and some tears too, and like a family album, it’s constantly being added to. It brings everyone, from the 800 or so children it has helped over the years, to all its volunteers and supporters, together in one place. A place that they can call their own.

“Supporters tell me that they really appreciate being able to see where their money is being spent. It’s a great way of reaching out to all our supporters and prospective supporters, and teachers in schools have told me that they enjoy reading through the stories of our beneficiaries with the children in their classes.”

On a practical level the book gives voice to every individual story, keeping them together in one place and saving the website from becoming overloaded. Easy to use and interact with, Laughter Africa has also found it an invaluable tool for their fundraising campaigns.

About Laughter Africa

The Laughter Africa charity was established in 2015 to work with street children in Sierra Leone. Their vision is for a world where street children are respected as human beings and given the dignity of a safe, secure place where their basic needs are met and where they can learn to laugh again. Their work is many faceted and includes providing a mobile centre that gives children living on the streets, a safe space to turn to every day. Laughter Africa also runs an Interim Care Centre where these children can live while attempts are made to trace their families. The final aspect of the charity’s work focuses on reuniting street children with their families and providing the ongoing support and follow-up necessary to give this the best chance of success.

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Eva Seymour“It’s Like Our Family Album”

Motivating Supporters To Become Fully Engaged

Working in the third sector, we know that for people to actively support a cause on an ongoing basis, be that through volunteering, donating or advocating for it, they need to be given the right motivation to do so. To move them from having a passing interest and good intentions, into being fully-fledged supporters, is no small feat.

So how can you build the sort of engagement that turns single donations into lifelong support? Donors into advocates? And prompts supporters to return to you time and again?

In the same way that people love buying but are averse to being sold to, making them feel like it is their choice rather than an obligation they’re meeting, leads to a win-win situation. With more than a passing nod to the learnings of behavioural science, helping supporters to engage on their own terms brings them closer to your mission, and leads to everyone achieving their objectives.

Motivating Supporters To Become Fully Engaged

Getting To The Root of Motivation

People get involved with charities for a number of reasons: from the simple channelling of the feel-good factor that the very act of helping brings, to having empathy for, and identifying with or being moved by, a particular cause.

Reciprocity – drawing on people’s inherent need for fairness, that need to give back when you or your loved one has received something – plays an important role in driving support. This is particularly evident in an example from one of our online books where a daughter was moved to post the following, on her mother’s page:

“Dear Mum – today, almost 8 years after your death, I received the ‘Brighter Future Fund’ pack from the National Osteoporosis Society. I am thrilled to have been chosen as an Ambassador for the Fund. You would be so proud mum – that your memory is raising money for the National Osteoporosis Society. Love – Heather x”

This is just one of countless messages we see every week where people are prompted to engage voluntarily and on an ongoing basis, with the causes they care about.

The RNLI drew our attention to one such post where, through their Online Book, one family continually re-engages with the charity, advocating for their cause, some 90 years after an act of bravery:

“Charles Southerden – 1928 – Rye Harbour: 89 years this November and your selfless sacrifice is always in our hearts. Your family will never forget such bravery and you will always be our hero. Your memory will be passed down to another generation and so will never be forgotten. From your great niece.”

Creating a Special Place For Your Supporters

The organisations we work with acknowledge that it would be well nigh impossible to achieve this level of engagement without their Online Books. The ease of access that an online book provides, encourages interaction and makes supporters feel that this little corner of the internet, far removed from the noise and interference of a fast-paced consumer environment, is a very special place where they can make a difference.

Supporters are moved to engage with the causes they care about time and again for any number of different reasons – from hearing a piece of music that reminds them of a loved one or the scent of a particular flower on the breeze, to special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.

“Mummy, a song has just come on the radio by the Scissor Sisters called ‘Take Your Mama (out all night)’ which always reminds me of you and in particular our wonderful holiday in Ibiza!”

This message is one of many regularly posted by the family of a lady who died in 2013. The above, triggered by something as simple and poignant as hearing a song on the radio, has the result of not only providing solace but also keeping family members up to date and involved with, the work of Martlets Hospice, their chosen charity.

Nurturing Ongoing Supporter Relationships

Putting engagement centre-stage focuses on the longer term. There’s an old saying, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other, gold.” Nurturing and developing the relationships your organisation has established with your existing supporters requires far less outlay than having to rely on acquiring new supporters or a constant stream of one-off donations.

Showing that you understand the needs of your supporters, that you care about them and recognise their contribution to your work makes them all the more likely to stay engaged and have your cause uppermost in their minds.

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Eva SeymourMotivating Supporters To Become Fully Engaged

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice – Online Book of Remembrance

“…through an Online Book of Remembrance…We were able to generate an additional £5,500 for the Light up a Life campaign”

Derek Spinks, Senior Individual Giving and Legacy Manager of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

 

Derek Spinks

“We were looking for a way to engage with a greater number of people for the 2018 Light up a Life campaign. As you can appreciate, this is a campaign that warm supporters very much like to participate in, but we wanted to reach out across the community and encourage more people to celebrate the lives of their loved ones over the Christmas period.

Many Hospices that we are in contact with work with The Online Book Company each year and we heard some great things about the Online Books of Remembrance they create and last year we decided to launch our very own!

We worked with Julie and Tim at The Online Book Company to develop the book and personalise it to the Birmingham St Mary’s brand. We were really impressed with the creative flexibility of the platform and in no time we had an online book that represented the Hospice and linked seamlessly with our Light up a Life webpage. We were even able to add photos and video content and having a way of leaving dedications online meant that we could speak to our social media followers and an array of cold prospect supporters online, who could then be a part of the Light up a Life experience.

The technical side of integrating our Online Book of Remembrance with the payment system we use for collecting donations online was also made really easy, and having a testing phase before launch enabled us to upload test data to our CRM, to make sure we could capture all the necessary information that we wanted to.

The other great thing about our Online Book of Remembrance is that not everybody who dedicates to the physical Book of Remembrance (that we have on display at the Light up a Life event) is able to attend and see their dedications. Having a way of making dedications online meant that they could be viewed instantly and could also be shared with friends and family far and wide.

We were extremely pleased with how our first venture into the world of online dedications, through an Online Book of Remembrance, went. We were able to generate an additional £5,500 for the Light up a Life campaign in addition to engaging with people who wanted to join in the spirit of the campaign, even if their loved ones had not received care and support at Birmingham St Mary’s.”

Derek Spinks, Senior Individual Giving and Legacy Manager of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice

 

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Tim CBirmingham St Mary’s Hospice – Online Book of Remembrance

Light Up a Life: Helping A Traditionally Offline Audience Move Towards Digital

Each year, the Light Up A Life (LUAL) campaign sees hospices around the country invite people to make a dedication to the memory of a loved one on their Tree of Lights as well as in on- and offline Books of Remembrance, often accompanied by a donation.

It’s a fantastic campaign that not only means a great deal to those who have lost loved ones, but also provides a valuable way for the hospices that cared for them to raise vital funds, and gain new supporters.

While the majority of contributions continue to be made offline, hospices are also increasingly taking LUAL online, often adding these dedications to a bespoke Online Book Company book themselves. However, this year’s campaign analysis shows that online contributions are rising, with the books proving an important bridge for helping an audience more comfortable with traditional paper donations make the transition to digital.

Light Up A Life helping an offline audience

In fact our figures show that overall, campaign engagement is growing, with average gift size and number of dedications rising year on year. They also provide a number of other compelling insights, including how people respond when presented with the opportunity to make a dedication for free, versus a specified minimum donation, as well as gender differences, and successful opt in strategies.

In what is now our second annual survey, we share these insights with you:

Donations & dedications

Overall, the 2018 LUAL campaign saw average donation values rise on 2017’s figures, and many donors create more than one dedication.

Across all hospices, average dedication numbers ranged from 1.4 to 2.3. In comparison, and demonstrating the growing engagement with this campaign, the highest average seen by an individual hospice in 2017 was 1.97.

Looking at average donation value per hospice, we can see that this increased 27% between 2017 and 2018, from £15.82 to £20.20. The range for individual hospices was between £16.67 and £24.17: a significant rise on 2017’s figures of £9.38 to £20.51 – up 77% and 18% respectively.

As with 2017, any minimum donation amounts specified by hospices did not rise above £10, and between 21% and 54% of donors at each hospice opted to give this. However, more chose to make multiple donations and / or top up their gift this year, ranging from half to three-quarters of donors at each hospice, and a significant increase from 2017’s average of 45%. Indeed, 20% of donors for all hospices topped up their donation, rising to 40% for the best performing hospices.

Interestingly, the figures also reveal that hospices offering free dedications saw higher donation values than those setting prices – an average £1 more. Those offering dedications without any price indication or prompt saw an average £13.79 voluntary donation per dedication in 2018. In comparison, the average price per dedication for the ‘must pay’ hospices’ saw an overall average of £12.30.

Psychologically, it seems many people feel better about donating more than the minimum, even when free.

Upsells, where people could ‘buy a therapy’ session or a ‘meal for the patient’ for example, also performed well in 2018, producing an average figure of £30 although there was little take up of those priced over £40.

Donations in numbers:

  • Average voluntary donation value per dedication was £13.79, while for ‘must pay’ dedications, it was £12.30
  • 20% of donors for all hospices topped up, with average top up values ranging from £8.77 to £36.11 per hospice
  • Every hospice except one received at least one individual donation of £100 or above, made using the ‘Top Up’ option
  • Most hospices had around 100 donors, ranging from 85 to 142 in number
  • Opt ins to Gift Aid ranged from 67% to 100% – similar to 2017’s figures of 68%-93%

Online vs. offline

Unsurprisingly, given that the traditional demographic of those giving has been the widow or widower or immediate family of those that have died, contributing messages and donations to the book offline is the most popular route. Online however is growing and in 2017, 3.5% gave and left messages online, rising to 5% in 2018. This shows that with the typical LUAL donor not being an online-first user, offering offline dedications is important to encourage their support, entice them to try online for viewing and sharing their dedications, and also perhaps to make them this way in the future.

In fact, for hospice Birmingham St Mary’s, a first time user of an Online Book of Remembrance, it has proved invaluable in letting supporters that contribute through offline means both view it remotely, and share with others.

They say:

“A great thing about our Online Book of Remembrance is that not everybody who dedicates to the physical Book of Remembrance (that we have on display at the Light up a Life event) is able to attend and see their dedications. Having a way of making dedications online meant that they could be viewed instantly and could also be shared with friends and family far and wide.”

Overall, 2018 saw online donations range from 24 to 236 in number per hospice, and there is of course enormous potential for increasing this as online-first individuals grow older and become responsible for their elderly relatives.

Gender differences

Our analysis also reveals an interesting gender difference. Across all hospices, the majority (between 69% and 94%) of donors were female, and they were far more prolific than male donors, writing multiple dedications per donation. Yet, on average men gave significantly more, at £28.15 compared to £15.88.

Optimising sites and upsells to appeal more to the female audience could help to reduce this difference, such as by including upsells that are more appealing to women as well as gender neutral options – paying for a Chiropodist day visit to attend all inpatients, or for a Reiki session for example.

Opting in

When asked to opt in to further communications, many donors did so, creating a new and valuable prospect pool for those hospices. Consent for email was fairly high for those asking for opt in to all four channels of email, post, SMS, and telephone in line with GDPR, ranging from 64% to 76% per hospice.

In this digital age, less than half of hospices included ‘post’ as an opt-in option. However, with the majority of dedications and accompanying donations made offline by cheque users, this remains an important channel to include and indeed a significant 28%-38% opted in to it when offered. Over 25% opted in to both post and email.

Conversely, hospices that did not ask for all four opt-ins saw only 38% or less sign up to email.

Encouragingly however, for hospices that included a ‘don’t contact me’ as a fifth opt-in checkbox, just 15% opted out from receiving all marketing promotions.

Results also show it is worthwhile considering adding opt-in options for specific activities at the checkout. For one hospice, including ‘Are you interested in these other activities’ saw over 18% opt in to being contacted on all three of ‘Hospice updates’, ‘Courses and conferences’ and ‘Volunteering opportunities’, while an additional 42% opted for at least one of the above, which suggests potential for recruiting and engaging future fundraisers and volunteers by adding these options: a course with potentially greater value than the donation itself.

In summary

The Light Up a Life campaign is producing impressive results for many hospices but with a few simple changes, they could be improved even further, and for even greater long-term value.

It is encouraging to see engagement rising, and clearly with empathetic wording and imagery this can continue to rise. Adapting language and upsells to appeal more to women, and offering free dedications can also work to a hospice’s advantage, while offering offline donations and dedications that can be added to an Online Book not only helps to raise more support but to encourage offliners to consider the online route. As supporter demographics continue to evolve, we predict a rapid swing to donations being made online.

And, when charities of all kinds are seeking ways to increase their supporter base, this campaign has valuable potential for just that. By offering the right opt-in options, it is possible to find more people who might not only donate in future, but who might help in other valuable ways such as volunteering.

This year’s campaign certainly provides plenty of food for thought for fundraisers, and as such, The Online Book Company will continue to monitor and share the results on an annual basis.

(Words by Melanie May)

 

 

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Tim CLight Up a Life: Helping A Traditionally Offline Audience Move Towards Digital

Our Story – How We Became The Online Book Company

This month, rather fittingly, as it’s a new year, we’ve been talking beginnings. We’ve just sent out our first Online Book Company monthly newsletter and are looking forward to sharing our clients’ wonderful stories, what’s new with our books and, by popular demand, a seasonal photograph of Cornwall.

Everyone who works here is familiar with our deeply personal origin story but we thought it may be time to share it with our many clients, friends and connections:

Finding Meaning in Tragedy

The idea behind the venture that was eventually to become The Online Book Company was born of our founders, friends, Jonathan and Hugh, both losing their brothers. Keen to keep the memories of their loved ones alive, they realised that this very human need would be shared by others the world over and so, in early 2006, the concept behind our initial business, Friends and Relations, was born.

Making the most of emerging technology, Jonathan and Hugh came up with a way of creating individually dedicated, interactive online sanctuaries, far removed from the bustle and noise of social media platforms. Intuitively designed and translating the familiar experience of perusing a book or writing an entry, online, the books focused on offering a seamless user experience.

Keeping Memories Alive

Stories, photos and videos could be added, shared and commented on, milestones remembered and celebrated, and feelings expressed. Time and again, family members and friends, no matter where in the world they were, could turn to these online books for solace, and find comfort in actively keeping memories alive.

Making A Difference

Some of Friends and Relations’ early clients suggested that it would be great if the books could be used for a wider good. Their desire to make a difference – offering the opportunity for people visiting their loved ones’ books to make a donation to a charity or organisation that had meant a lot to the person being remembered – was just one of the developments that saw Friends and Relations evolve into The Online Book Company we are today.

Fast Forward To The Present Day

Our unique, interactive online books serve charities, businesses and other organisations: promoting causes, fundraising, recognising donors and legators, and celebrating supporters and service.

Their original purpose, however – a means for people to connect with one another, tell their stories and honour individuals and causes – remains firmly at the heart of everything we do.

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Eva SeymourOur Story – How We Became The Online Book Company