We were incredibly delighted earlier this year when it was announced we had won the coveted award for Fundraising Charity of the Year at the National Fundraising Awards.
I acknowledge this is a cliché repeated many times over the in the charity sector, but I can honestly say it was a big team effort and every single member of staff contributed to the hard work it took to achieve our goals.
One of the reasons judges said they decided to award our team the honour was because we achieved a 100% increase in fundraising income from £2.3m to £4.6m in the period 2015-2018 – a statistic we’re incredibly proud of. Since then, many people have asked us how this was achieved and I’m happy to share some of the ways we went about it in this blog.
I should probably start by outlining who we are. Manchester Foundation Trust Charity helps to make a difficult period easier for patients at our nine hospitals, at what can be a very emotional and daunting time. We support projects which benefit our patients and their families and do this by focusing our fundraising efforts on three key areas – treatment, research and care. The nine hospitals we support are: Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Charity, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, University Dental Hospital of Manchester, Withington Community Hospital, Trafford General Hospital and Altrincham Hospital. You can find out more about our work here.
In terms of achieving our ambitious fundraising targets, we firstly received significant backing from our Charitable Funds Committee to increase our expenditure budget including investment in new staff, expanding the team from 17 to 22 people – in the last year this has increased again to 28 staff. Having this resource enabled us to go bigger and better in terms of raising even more income and supporting the public fundraising on our behalf.
One of the biggest areas of investment was in our Community Fundraising Team, who support schools, staff and patients in their fundraising goals. This meant we were able to offer fundraisers a main point of contact who got to know the family/school and their background into why they were fundraising, making the experience much more streamlined and personable for the supporter. We were particularly sensitive to this being a very major part of the support we provide, as many of our fundraisers have either been patients of one of our nine hospitals, or have had a friend or relative treated by our Trust.
Secondly, we increased the number of projects we funded across all nine hospitals. This increased our offering to donors and fundraisers who were looking for a particular passion project they wanted to get behind – rather than money going to general funds, they were able to, for example, select a project centred around Diabetes because this was the department/work that most resonated with them. The more projects we offered the more fundraisers we attracted and vice versa.
Thirdly, it was during this time that we launched our very first “mini” appeal – our Time Saves Lives Appeal to raise £3.9million to build a helipad. Before the launch of the helipad project, the largest project we’d previously completed was a £20million appeal to help equip Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, which opened in summer 2009. So an appeal of this kind was a new challenge for us, especially running alongside our usual charitable projects fundraising.
It was a great success – we achieved our target in 12 months. It is something that still gets a lot of traction on our social media accounts and is clearly something people are very passionate about. We’re pleased that work officially began in June 2019 and it is set to be fully operational next year.
We’re so grateful to each and every person who made this significant increase in fundraising possible. Of course, we don’t come to work every day for the praise and recognition, but when we do win such a coveted and industry-respected award such as this, it is very humbling and means a lot to us.