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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

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 an 80 Year Old novice IT user is remembering his fallen friends….

Between 1955 – 1959, Royal Marine, Brian Moon fought alongside his comrades in the Cyprus Emergency. He recently posted in The British Cyprus Memorial Book of Remembrance, in tribute to a fallen comrade, Raymond Thomas Greening, who was one of 372 brave men who never returned home.

It’s been gratifying to see how people of all ages have engaged with this online book over the years. It’s drawn in contributions from people of all ages, from comrades of those who died, to relatives, friends and descendants, who’ve all left beautiful tributes.



The British Cyprus Memorial Online Book of Remembrance

As we approach Remembrance Sunday, take a moment to read Brian Moon’s deeply moving tribute, which shows that age need be no barrier to online supporter engagement: (On a Mobile leaf through to page 609).

jonathan@theonlinebookcompany.com

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Tim CHow an 80 Year Old novice IT user is remembering his fallen friends….

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

Making a Move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

Flash move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

This month has seen a technological upgrade to Royal Signals Memorial Book, we are proud to to have produced and host for the Royal Signals.

Their original book was designed using “Flash” technology which is no longer being supported …. the natural successor is HTML5 which works incredibly well across all platforms and has none of the device limitations endured by its predecessor.

The new book was launched with a flurry of social media sent out by the Royal Signals which resulted in lots of re engagement from their supporters, old and new.

Please visit the book, you may discover a relative or ancestor inside.

List of names on The Royal Signals Memorial Book
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Tim CMaking a Move for the Royal Signals Memorial Book

Waterloo 200 Schools

Westminster-Abbey-steps

 Here, we see pupils and teachers acting as representatives for the some 200 schools, from throughout the country who were invited to attend the 200th anniversary service that took place at St Paul’s Cathedral last week. The feedback from The Waterloo 200 schools who have been interacting with the Online Book we created for the event has been terrific. The students have really done an outstanding job of researching the Waterloo soldiers and artifacts, with some fascinating write ups being uploaded!

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Bethany HibbsWaterloo 200 Schools