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.
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.