Thinking Differently was the title of Hospice UK’s recent National Conference. With a greater range of challenges facing the sector than ever before, the title made complete e sense.
So what examples were there of people ‘thinking differently’? Hospice UK’s plans for a national hospice legacy campaign involving both UK-wide and local elements is one example. As discussed previously in these newsletters, hospices have been losing market share in legacies to other charities. But there is strong evidence that the amount left to legacies will grow significantly in years ahead.
The fact that a record 30 hospices have signed up for this year’s Hospice Legacy Circle that db associates run in conjunction with Legacy Futures is another sign of growing awareness of the need to invest in legacy marketing. Interestingly, the conference, Claire House Children’s Hospice showed that around 25% of their legators had made or changed their Will in the two years before they died. This proves that such marketing can have an impact quicker than is often assumed.
There was also evidence of the realisation that collaboration in lotteries is the way forward. This is not surprising when the Hospice Accounts Report showed that, on average, stand-alone hospice lotteries have not grown at all over the past 5 years. By contrast, profits of partnership lotteries have grown by 56%.
Clearly, the benefits of one prize fund, shared admin and regulatory costs and working with an expert provider from within the sector is becoming more evident. For example, Local Hospice Lottery now has some 34 hospices in their operation with others expressing an interest in joining.
One of the recent 'buzz areas' has been in commercial income generation activities; using a hospice’s expertise and skills to generate profits from products or services that there is a market need for. Such enterprises often mean competing with the private sector and require different skills and levels of investment than traditional fundraising.
So, it was good to see that Pendleside Hospice won the best team category in the Hospice UK awards for their mobile catering service Meals on Wheels. As well as delivering meals to vulnerable, isolated and frail people it provides a chance to check-in on them. It has also generated £35,000 in profits for the hospice to date.
One of the few positive results from the recent analysis of hospices 1st quarter figures discussed at the conference, was the fact that retail income was up by 11% year-on-year. This echoes the Charity Retail Association figures that show a 6.1% rise in sales for their members for the year to September. Hospices also feature heavily in their examples of new initiatives.
One great example of the maxim to ‘Think Differently’ can be seen in the Stockdale Paradox, named after Admiral James Stockdale, who was held captive during the Vietnam War. In his words, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Adopting such an attitude in facing up to the challenges facing the sector is a great starting point.