Hospice Government funding is still not enough: how a fundraising strategy or board recruitment can help prevent more cutbacks

We have all seen in the news how many hospices are struggling to raise the money needed.

One in three are cutting back services to ensure that they can continue to offer care. Some good news, the Government have pledged an extra £25m to hospices in England. While it’s good they have recognised the struggle, it’s still not enough.

In a recent ITV report highlighting the problems, it states that it costs £1.4 billion a year to fund hospice care in the UK. Hospices have to raise £1 billion of that figure. Also 90% of hospices are struggling to find the money needed.

Hospices cutting their service provision due to financial restraints must be a last resort. Taking away support from their communities and those who need their care is wrong.

Hospices exist because the Government has never taken on the end-of-life care struggle. The cynic in me thinks the Government’s attitude is: “well, the customer can’t complain”.

Hospices exist because looking after people at the end of their life is crucial. They are not constrained by limited funding from the NHS. They always raise money to ensure that the care given, first and foremost, meets the patient’s needs.

“Approaches to death and dying reveal much of the attitude of society as a whole to the individuals who compose it. The development of ideas of what constitutes a good death can even be traced to prehistory.”

Dame Cicely Saunders - Foreword in The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1993)

How to increase hospice funding through fundraising:

  • Increase activity – more events, mailings, direct marketing campaigns, better corporate engagement, grow your lottery, improve online presence and facilities and grow social media;
  • New initiatives – events, campaigns, appeals, start your own lottery and retail promotions and ideas;
  • Better communications – how can you engage better and create valuable donor journeys and keep the supporters engaged?
  • Review the fundraising strategy and team structure – are there areas within the existing setup with opportunities to increase income;
  • Recruit extra staff – in the skills in areas of weaknesses or increase your capacity in existing roles.

Another option is to pay a consultancy to review your strategy and structure and find the areas of potential. While this has its merits, it’s an expensive undertaking and often rolls on because you don’t want to let go of these skills.

How a board review and board recruitment can help your hospice’s income

Have you considered a board review or board recruitment to help with increasing your Hospice’s income?

A good board can have a huge impact on all areas of a hospices’ work, but sadly there seems to be a reluctance when it comes to fundraising knowledge, impetus and expertise.

A board review can put this at the centre of how to improve your board.

The American hospice model: using fundraising boards with local major donor or influencers

I spent a year in the United States with a hospice in Colorado, and one thing that made me envious was they had a dedicated development board focused solely on fundraising. These board members were selected because they either major donors or major influencers within their local area.

In my experience, so many board members argue that they give their time so why should they give money too?

If you set up a board and from the outset you state that’s their purpose, it might take time to build but those people will be under no illusion that raising money is their contribution.

I tested this in the UK when I was working on my last contract. I asked four very good supporters who were major donors, business leaders and one was someone who ran an events company delivering massive events.

They all had personal connections and felt very strongly about the hospice. They all agreed to do it. In fact, they all came to me with great ideas to for things that we would not have the resources or connections to deliver without their help.

Do you want to recruit better people and board members for your hospice? Get in touch:

I’m keen to hear the views and experiences of everyone within the hospice sector to see how we may help. I would love to hear from you about any issues you would like to discuss or make me aware of.

Like our clients, we are a values led company and I want to use my experience to continue to support the hospice movement in the best way I can.

About Paul:
A fundraising consultant for the last 11 years, Paul has led teams covering all areas of fundraising and completed three capital campaigns; giving him a good understanding of what charities require from their fundraisers.  You can read more about Paul here>