St Helena Hospice: 'We knew that we had to be creative'

St Helena Hospice: 'We knew that we had to be creative'

Guest Bloggers | 19 March 2019

St Helena Hospice won Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign at last year's National Fundraising Awards. Sally Thomas, Lottery Marketing Manager at the charity, explains the process that led them to be receive recognition for their fundraising lottery.

On 2 July 2018 our dedicated lottery team based in Colchester had the honour of being presented with the ‘Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign’ at the National Fundraising Awards and it has been a wonderful recognition of the hard work from the whole team behind our lottery services. But what have been the achievements that led to our win?

We started off with a small team of 2 people, running a local lottery for St Helena Hospice in 2001, which grew and grew to become a secure income generator for the hospice. Then 7 years ago we branched out to help other hospices with their lotteries, with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity becoming our first lottery partner. Over the past few years we have added a further 10 hospice partners to our lottery, and we have built up much skill and expertise in the lottery fundraising sector; successfully managing recruitment, administration, a growing prize fund and marketing strategy both off and online.

There was then a ‘what happens next’ moment…. how do we improve what we have already achieved to bring in more income to meet the growing need in north East Essex for the services of St Helena Hospice?

St Helena Hospice itself operates in an area with a particularly acute ageing population and with some of the most deprived wards in the country. Despite the success of the lottery in providing a growing but sustainable income for the hospice, there was acknowledgement that more care for more local people was urgently needed which of course, meant pressure on income streams to produce even more.

So, we looked at what we did and decided it didn’t need to change but it did need to grow, and to reach other areas of Great Britain. Our reputation had become one for good quality service, compliance and knowledge within the lottery sector, helping other hospices to raise incredible amounts of money, and so, the decision was taken to set up a brand new lottery but with one significant and innovative difference: for the first time, a hospice would take its product outside of the hospice sector to work with other charities, helping them to increase their income.

'Had to be creative'

We knew that we had to be creative because of the growing competition in the lottery market and the pressure for hospice care and we knew we had the knowledge and experience to successfully take our product out of our sector and that it could easily be scaled up and expanded.

The existing Your Hospice Lottery model was based on St Helena Hospice paying all set up costs and had proven to be a good return on investment.

By expanding this model to a product not restricted to the hospice world we would have greater opportunities for growth. The lottery has always been a sustainable source of income for St Helena Hospice, we just needed to upscale it and offer our lottery product UK wide.

Just as we were thinking through our initial ideas, we started to have tentative discussions with one of our current hospice partner contacts who had moved away from the hospice world to become CEO of a charity based in Southampton, and just as it happens  they wanted a lottery product! A fantastic opportunity for St Helena Hospice, which we grabbed with both hands and took our first non-hospice charity lottery partner.

We thought tirelessly for the right name... it has to be something that would be suitable for any type of charity that might come on board with us – after a workshop held with internal staff, the name ‘Make a Smile lottery’ was decided upon and work started on a fresh new brand that could attract any type of charity to work with St Helena Hospice.

The new brand was fun and exciting, clean and crisp in its look. The brilliance of this model is the fact that it can easily be scaled up or down, for charities wanting to join the lottery as a way of growing their income. We can bring them into the Make a Smile lottery draw-whatever their size. Our model is transferable to anyone who would like to become a partner of ours, and who wants to secure an income to raise funds. Over the next few years, we hope to secure more partners, and bring significant numbers of players into the Make a Smile lottery draw!

Entries for the National Fundraising Awards close on Wednesday 27 March. Judged by your fundraising peers, the Awards are free to enter and open to charities of all sizes in the UK. Find out more information. 

Sally Thomas, Lottery Marketing Manager