St Wilfrid’s Hospice on how fundraising and digital design collide

Sam McGuire
  • Sam McGuire
  • Web designer

St Wilfrid’s Hospice provides tailored end-of-life care, in the community and at their Hospice in Chichester. St Wilfrid’s is an independent charity, serving people along the south coast, between Emsworth and Arundel, to the south of the Downs. Here, Fundraising Manager Michelle Sidney, explains how the charity’s new website and digital marketing, created by The Graphic Design House, have become an important part of the fundraising process.

The St Wilfrid’s community

Our donors can be divided into ‘warm donors’ – those that already donate to St Wilfrid’s, and ‘cold donors’ – those that have not yet made a donation but who may choose to do so in the future. There are many reasons why people might want to be part of our fundraising. Our message is aimed at anyone living in the community that we serve, as we are their hospice. That community includes:

  • Potential legacy pledgers (gifts made in wills make up a large part of our income)
  • Relatives and friends of patients
  • Local businesses
  • Community groups

Using digital design to drive fundraising

The new website for our charity, designed by The Graphic Design House, is very different from what we had before. It has brought our work to life, and with constantly changing content to keep things fresh, there’s something for everybody.

There are stories from across the hospice – volunteer stories, shop stories, staff stories and patient stories. These are all directly accessible from the homepage and show the reality of what we do, the impact it has, how funds are raised and how they’re used.

There’s also a brilliant graphic that shows exactly where the money goes and a wall of fame that showcases our fabulous fundraisers, giving details of who they are, what activity they’ve done and how much they raised from it. These are excellent for inspiring others to take part in sponsored events and other fundraising activity, as well as encouraging donations by showing the impact they have in our community.

Building our community

There’s lots of information on volunteering, which really inspires people to become part of what we do, and this links to the Shops page. There’s also plenty of information on our education 

programmes – we offer a wide range of courses in end-of-life care, both for health professionals and the general public.

We also now have the facility for people to subscribe online to our newsletter. The stories and updates in it really help people to feel involved in what we do and keeps them informed on how they can help. Plus, it’s another avenue, alongside the website, for showing appreciation and thanking people for their donations.

Social media that drives donations

The Graphic Design House went much deeper than pure web design. We also worked with them on our marketing strategy, using a range of digital tools. Social media has been a big part of that. Previously, we just used Facebook, but now we’re active on a much wider range of platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. This really helps us to reach a wider audience and bring that audience to our website.

Blogs are also a new way of communicating for us and they work very well as an informal marketing tool that comes from a variety of voices. We even have a Dog Blog – with Buzz, our hospice PAT (Pets as Therapy) dog talking about things like interaction with patients and taking part in our annual Moonlight Walk fundraiser!

Functions that boost funding

The new site has some great functionality that make donating easy and which also encourages people to be part of the St Wilfrid’s story in our community. That includes:

  • Function for one off online donations.
  • Function to sponsor a nurse: this involves setting up a direct debit for regular giving, via the website.
  • A list of St Wilfrid’s shops, linked to Google Maps, making it easier for people to donate to our charity shops, and make purchases there, too.

These new functionalities are yet another aspect of our website giving a good user experience that keeps people returning to the site and building their commitment.

Our new website is proving a superb investment for St Wilfrid’s. It’s working well for everyone – staff, volunteers, patients, families and friends – and all those who want to be part of what we do, supporting us in making a difference to local lives. It’s a vital part of our fundraising process.