St Christopher’s Hospice, which provides palliative care and support to more than 7,500 terminally ill patients and their families, has released an emergency appeal with strategic communications agency Parkhouse, to generate donations.
The coronavirus has caused the closure of all 26 of St Christopher’s charity shops, prevented any fundraising events, and the South East London-based hospice lost more than £1 million income within the first month of the pandemic. Donations were particularly required with many patients requiring compassionate end-of-life care, as they were even more vulnerable due to self-isolation and shielding during lockdown.
At the time where the stretch on its budget could be detrimental to patient’s care and support, St Christopher’s approached Parkhouse to create the emergency appeal that has now delivered a 5.6 to one return on investment.
The campaign included direct mail, email and social media, sharing inspirational stories of patients who had been helped and supported by St Christopher’s. The first round of emails and social media posts presented the story of William Burke, who had terminal bowel cancer. When he could no longer visit the hospice in person, St Christopher’s brought the hospice to him, with video consultations, the delivery of pain medication, and remote support to put his mind at ease.
Following this, the second round of the campaign focused on the fact that St Christopher’s hospices remained open and its services were still running, despite charity shops closing and fundraising events being canceled.
Philippa Kelham, head of fundraising at St Christopher’s Hospice said: “We’d just appointed Parkhouse on a different brief, which they won by really challenging us, but it was suddenly all change. Despite working remotely, they created the campaign in record time and really impressed us with their empathy and understanding, getting to know us and how we operate. They combined sensitivity and effectiveness and the results speak for themselves.”
Marc Michaels, director of strategy and creativity, added: “St Christopher’s believe that you matter until the last moment of your life. We were proud to be involved with such a worthwhile cause at such a difficult time.”
Andy Todd and John Vinton, the creative team behind the campaign, said: “The people at St Christopher’s give everything they’ve got. We hoped people would give whatever they could. And they did.”
The campaign with Parkhouse launched in May 2020 and ran until July 2020. St Christopher’s is working with Parkhouse to create its Christmas campaign.