Fundraising and Charities

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

How Online Books Are Helping Drive Legacy Giving

The value of legacy giving is indisputable. Gifts in wills make up just over a quarter of all charitable donations among the top 100 UK fundraisers (Charity Financials Top 100 Fundraisers Spotlight report) and constitute 14% of all fundraised income received by UK charities.

What’s more, unlike most areas of fundraising, legacies are projected to continue growing by around 2.7% per annum over the next five years – from £2.8bn in 2017 – to reach £3.3bn in 2021 (Legacy Foresight’s Legacy Giving 2017 report).
At a time when a challenging socio-economic landscape increases the pressure on charities to be continually growing their income streams ahead of inflation, this marks them out as particularly significant element in the fundraising mix. However the subject of gifts in wills can sometimes prove difficult to introduce into fundraising communication meaning that opportunities for doing so end up being overlooked.

An Easy Way to Promote Legacy Giving

Our online legacy books were originally designed to help charities build stronger relationships with their supporters – being able to recognise, celebrate and engage with supporters and their families in real time, from anywhere in the world. Many of these charities have identified having an online book as being an important factor in helping them promote awareness of and further drive legacy giving, from gifts in wills to living legacies.

Michael Clark, Gifts in Wills and In-Memory Manager of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust sums up his organisation’s collaboration with The Online Book Company thus:
“The importance of gifts in Wills to the long term aims of a charity, and thanking the supporters for including a gift is of paramount importance…We must take the same time to thank donors during their lifetime and after their death as we do in influencing beforehand, and I am delighted to be working with the Online Book Company to make this happen.”

A Bespoke, Cost-Effective Approach

Ranging from the simple to the multi-functional, our online books are always tailored to fulfil each and every charitable organisation’s specific needs and budget, while being designed to reflect distinct brand identities. Creating a dedicated and permanent online space, they fully integrate into a website and are accessible from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A Better Way of Saying Thank You

Online books make it easier to have a conversation with supporters about legacy giving. The impact of gifts in wills and living legacies can easily be demonstrated and the books are a user-friendly and accessible means of recognising, celebrating and thanking legacy donors. Donors’ families and friends regularly revisit and contribute to these books on an on-going basis.

“There is nothing quite like the sanctity of a traditional Book of Remembrance. The online book is not designed to replace this but to extend its reach, all the better connecting people and causes, and offering solace.”
Jonathan Haward, The Online Book Company

A New Chapter

After all, people’s values, personal interests and experiences bring them to believe in, volunteer for and support particular causes and charities. Honouring their legacies in an online book ensures their contribution is never forgotten:

“RNIB’s [online] Book of Remembrance gives us the opportunity to recognise those who have left a gift to us in their Will. These gifts are vital as they fund nearly a third of our work, making it possible for more people with sight loss to achieve their potential and face the future with confidence.”

To find out more about our online books and how we can help you, call 01872 226800 or email: jonathan@theonlinebookcompany.com

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Eva SeymourHow Online Books Are Helping Drive Legacy Giving

How Online Books Helped Extend the Season Of Goodwill

You may not wish, in the words of Wizzard’s seasonal anthem, that it could be Christmas every day, but wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way of making that festive spirit of giving last longer?

Towards the latter part of last year a number of hospices chose to extend the scope, reach and lifespan of their Light Up A Life campaigns by complementing their traditional fundraising with one of our dedicated online books.

Hospice Light Up A Life online book of dedications

With all the data now in, the results of these online campaigns were quite outstanding and we couldn’t wait to share some of the highlights:

Increased Donations

Online donors were a generous bunch – almost half opted to give more than the suggested minimum donation with campaigns that didn’t stipulate a minimum sum attracting overall higher single donations of, on average, £16.57. And we must mention the fact that one online book netted a remarkable £2000 single donation!

GDPR Should Not To Be Feared!

While the engagement that the online books fostered was encouraging in itself, it soon became apparent that being bold about embracing GDPR paid dividends.

Hospices that sought 4-way GDPR-compliant opt-ins from their supporters emerged with the highest rates of engagement: a whopping 77% rate of opt-ins as opposed to a mere 47% for a single tick box. 67% of those opting in, favoured email communications, with over a fifth choosing interaction with multiple marketing channels. From these findings it would seem that GDPR presents a valuable opportunity to build a more engaged audience.

Stronger Supporter Relationships

Supporters enjoyed being able to see and share their dedications and donations in real time, engaging with the hospices at their own pace. The books focused on making it as easy as possible for supporters to interact – particularly noteworthy was the online booking for Light Up A Life services and the capability of offering a choice of payment options. Those that offered multiple payment methods garnered the highest levels of engagement and lowest rates of abandonment.

Extended Reach

Going online with a dedicated book extended both the reach and lifespan of the Light Up A Life campaigns. Supporters, family members and friends who weren’t in the hospice’s immediate area could join in and feel closer to the cause and the facility for replicating physical entries, online, was cited by many as a particularly lovely feature.

Reduced Admin

Getting dedications and donations direct online cut down on the amount of time and money hospice staff had to spend on admin. Capabilities such as online bookings made planning a whole lot easier too.

Great ROI

Setting up an online book garnered a three to three and a half times return on investment for the hospices as well as making it easy to measure results.

An Online Book Isn’t Just For Christmas

Some of the hospices that adopted online books for their 2017 Light Up A Life campaigns found that in keeping them open a little longer they were already getting interaction for the 2018 campaign. As a result they chose to keep their books open all year round.

Now their supporters can remember and donate on birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions too. Light Up A Life 2018 will see them coming up with a customised seasonal design for an additional boost to their fundraising efforts.

 

To find out more about how our books could help with fundraising, supporter engagement and any number of initiatives, call 01872 226800 or email us at jonathan@theonlinebookcompany.com

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Eva SeymourHow Online Books Helped Extend the Season Of Goodwill

Fears of GDPR

It might be that with many in the Third Sector taking well deserved summer holidays, news is a bit thin on the ground. And so there appear to be stories creeping in that are fearful about the implications of GDPR.

We very much subscribe to the view that GDPR should not be regarded as a threat but much more an opportunity to clean up one’s databases and re-engage with people on a stronger footing, confident that you’re engaging with those who want to be engaged with.

As we all know, good news is less likely to be reported. For example, the RNLI has spoken in the media about how their work towards becoming GDPR compliant has already reaped positive rewards.

GDPR is all about keeping in contact with willing supporters via targeted campaigns and not bombarding outdated mailing lists. GDPR compliance is the impetus for good housekeeping and as such should demonstrate the respect organisations have for their supporters and indeed, wider society. Implementing GDPR compliant contact preferences should be viewed as an ideal opportunity to enhance organisational reputation as well as secure yourself from the potential financial, and reputational, damage of ICO fines.

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Tim CFears of GDPR

When Digital Meets Physical

 We live in an increasingly digital world, but tangibility still matters. It may seem somewhat of a surprise for a digital company to suggest something so shocking…but there is a reason we all have a box of letters stashed in a cupboard at home somewhere!

Nothing feels as wonderful as knowing someone, somewhere is thinking of you. A letter can symbolise that someone, and the time they have taken to write, envelope, stamp and post something they wish for you to read.

Hence, we decided to let hospices know about how we can help them to ‘light up more lives’ not only instantly via email, or social media, but to go back to something tangible and tactile, a letter and a lovely leaflet.

‘Light Up A Life’ is one of the most popular and effective schemes used by hospices for promoting awareness of their worthwhile causes. Finding new and inventive ways to maintain and attract fresh interest in this annual appeal can however be challenging- which is why we created our ‘Light Up A Life’ appeal Online Books.

Much like a simple letter can complement and enhance the ways we introduce our digital product; our Online Books offer hospices an alternative and easy way to help improve upon supporter engagement and strengthen donations at this special time of the year. If you would like us to show you how we can help with an important appeal for your cause, just get in touch- we may even send you a letter so say hello!

   Get in Touch

Beautiful Leaflets

Beautiful Leaflets

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Bethany HibbsWhen Digital Meets Physical

A Roaring Success: The Born Free Foundation

The lion, represents, courage, wisdom, dignity, justice, authority and more. However these qualities and symbolism make the lion to a few, an attractive animal to ‘hunt’.

Hence, illustrating the reasons behind the worldwide uproar (pardon the pun), when American dentist Walter Palmer, ‘hunted’ and killed Cecil the lion. The plight of the lion is however, not limited to high profile events such as this. Across the world, Lions are in many places still kept as pets, as entertainment providers in vastly unsuitable environments which fail to meet their most basic needs.

Founded in 1984 by the ‘Born Free’ actors Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE, and their son Will Travers OBE,  the ‘Born Free Foundation’ takes action worldwide to save lives, stop suffering and protect species in the wild.

Born Free, fight the ivory trade and sport hunting, hence helping to ensure lions like Cecil are able to live up to their symbolic prowess in the wild, born free and living free.

The book we created for The Born Free Foundation is a special place for their supporters to share and celebrate memories of loved ones, including both humans, and animals. Born Free are a fantastic organisation who we are very proud to work with, so please do consider leaving a message, remember a loved one and even leave a gift in your will to ensure they can continue protecting wild animals worldwide

This is what they had to say about us!

 ‘A huge thanks to our friends at the Online Book Company for the wonderful service we have received in getting this lovely book up and running and on our website’

Keep your eye’s peeled for the Launch of the Born Free Foundation Online Book….don’t forget to have a look at the Born Free Foundation website!

 www.bornfree.org.uk

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 Born Free Foundation Logo

The Born Free Foundation: Keep Wildlife in the Wild

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Bethany HibbsA Roaring Success: The Born Free Foundation

Explore the History of ‘Fort Mifflin’ with The Online Book Company

Screen shot 2015-08-28 at 09.15.03

The historic landmark of Fort Mifflin is the oldest fortification continually used in the US. Over 300 Americans lost their lives here in 1777, when British forces relentlessly attacked the fort from their ships – at a rate of over 1,000 cannon rounds an hour!

The battle escalated into the greatest bombardment of the American Revolution – one which many say changed the course of American history.

Today, Fort Mifflin has been preserved as a National Historic Landmark. The unique fort and its surrounding environment is protected and used to educate and enlighten tourists, families and students about the importance of the site.

Here at the Online Book Company, we have developed a way for individuals to honour patriots and veterans in an everlasting format. The online book allows you to mark memories of loved ones by creating free memorial pages, expressing feelings in words, pictures and video clips – as well as being able to share pages with friends and family.

A memorial walkway has been built at Fort Mifflin with hand-made bricks which can be purchased through the online book. Each brick allows you to make your own mark in history and ranges in size and prices from $75 – $200.

Take a look at the book here.

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Vicki MayrickExplore the History of ‘Fort Mifflin’ with The Online Book Company

8 Ways to Boost Your Charity’s Digital Fundraising Strategy

Online Fundraising is a vital element of any fundraising initiative.

Online Fundraising is a vital element of any fundraising initiative.

Did you know, the average online donation rose by 30% in 2014, to almost £70?

However, over 50% of charities don’t feel they are using online donations to their full potential. We’ve put together 8 top tips to help boost your digital fundraising strategy.

Make it Easy

People are busy and like things to be simple – ensure that your donate button is visible with a few easy steps to a successful donation.

Get Social

Social media has the power to reach millions of people from across the world. Successful charity campaigns have used Twitter and Facebook to promote their cause successfully – remember the #icebucketchallenges and #nomakeupselfies? Make sure to post interesting, engaging content with lots of videos, photos and those all-important hashtags.

Seek a Partnership

Team up with other businesses, be that a merchandise company, café or us. We are able to make donating extra personal – with the opportunity to share photos, videos and comments through a virtual space that can be revisited and expanded.

Be Device Savvy

With a whopping £2.4billion donated in 2014 via mobile devices, it is essential that your website is mobile and tablet friendly.

Get Innovative

Although money is usually the obvious choice for donations there are other options – take a look at the online book we created for the Diamond Jubilee. The online platform encouraged people to volunteer their time – resulting in a record breaking 2,779,323 hours pledged.

Tell a Story

We all like to know who were helping and why. Video is a great tool for getting stories across, platforms such as YouTube even have a donate button you can add to your video – making donating simple.

Say Thank-you

Saying thank you provides you with another opportunity to contact those who have donated. Send a follow up ‘thank-you email’, which not only keeps the cause at the forefront of people’s minds, but builds an email database for future use.

Don’t forget Offline

Although electronic donations are the way in which the world is moving – it’s still important to have an offline fundraising strategy. Promoting your cause through press releases and adverts, whilst ensuring you have the facilities for offline donations including phone and post.

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Vicki Mayrick8 Ways to Boost Your Charity’s Digital Fundraising Strategy

‘ellenor’ and their Online Memory Book

Here at The Online Book Company we’ve created a new, innovative online memory book for the hospice charity ‘ellenor’.

The charity provides care and support for families facing terminal illness in Kent, and is unique in looking after patients of all ages and their families. Inspired by the moving stories frequently shared with staff, the hospice decided to create a more permanent place for memories to be shared.

The book allows families to share precious moments and commemorate the lives of their loved ones – allowing them to do more than include a name in a physical book.The book is a reflection of the ellenor ethos – where care extends far beyond the realm of nursing – and believe it will strengthen links with ellenor’s patient and family support team.

It was an inspiring experience working with staff at ellenor. We’re delighted staff are happy with the results and it’s great to see the first stories appearing in the memorial book!

The link to the book is: ellenor Online Memory Book and feel free to have a read about some of the fantastic work they do.

ellenor.x

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Bethany Hibbs‘ellenor’ and their Online Memory Book