Launching a Tribute Fund scheme in partnership with MuchLoved
A Case Study by Princess Alice Hospice, Surrey

Questions answered by Kate Burchill, In Memoriam/Tribute Fund officer

Offering hospices a few tips & ideas for setting up their own Tribute Fund scheme.

  1. What was the aim of introducing a Tribute Fund scheme?
    In particular was your sole motivation increasing in memory income or did you view it in part bereavement support?

    Princess Alice Hospice (PAH) introduced our Tribute Fund scheme as part of a planned programme to enhance our relationship with those families wishing to support PAH in an ongoing way and allow us to acknowledge them in a way we hadn’t been able to do before. The opportunity to increase in memoriam income was recognised but is not seen as the primary driver.

  2. How did the idea originate?
    (and did you need backing from the board or anyone else internally to get the scheme approved?)

    The idea originated from seeing what was happening within the charity sector (e.g. The Motor Neurone Disease Association) and the need to offer similar opportunities to PAH families, particularly with those fundraising in an ongoing way and younger members for whom the internet is increasingly the principal channel for communication/support. The scheme was agreed in early 2009 as part of a newly created role of In Memoriam & Tribute Fund Officer in April 2009.

  3. How did you 'sell' the idea internally?
    (such as to nursing/clinical staff, bereavement workers, other fundraising staff and volunteers?)

    The importance of securing organisation-wide support for the programme was seen as key and the idea was sold internally as offering bereaved families an additional support mechanism when coping with their grief. Many families were already actively setting up tribute sites independently of PAH, and creating our own Tribute Fund programme offered those families a more planned way to monitor funds raised.

    Presentations about in memory giving and evidence showing that these help with the grieving process were made to nursing/clinical and bereavement teams. A focus group was also held with families attending a bereavement support session.

  4. How did you go about designing and creating the materials such as a Tribute Fund pack?
    What look and feel were you aiming for?

    We researched what other charities were doing and we designed the pack so that it conveyed a positive, supportive and informed message.

  5. How long did it take from getting approval to launching the scheme?

    Approximately six months (including research). The scheme was launched December 2009.

  6. How did you launch your Tribute Fund Scheme?
    (within your organisation as well as externally?)

    The launch was relatively soft – copies of the new leaflet were given to all members of staff and it was highlighted in our internal weekly news update. The leaflet was displayed in the PAH reception and details were sent to all families setting up online giving or MuchLoved sites.

  7. What level of budget did you have for implementing the scheme and for running the scheme?
    Who is responsible for running your scheme? (is it just one person - you - or do you have a small project team?)

    There was an initial set-up budget to launch the Fund which I would estimate was in the region of £1,000. We created a branded Tribute Fund leaflet and used an agency for the artwork and design, plus the printing. In terms of running the scheme on a day to day basis there is a part-time In Mem and Tribute Fund Officer (Kate Burchill) however no specifically allocated budget.

  8. How do you promote it?
    (e.g. Do you promote to your existing contacts & supporters or to the general public? Do you ask external orgs and contacts e.g. funeral directors to help promote it?)

    Tribute Funds have been highlighted in our 'In Touch' magazine and our leaflets are sent out with our ward and community bereavement pack literature as well as when we send out our Statements of Giving to Next of Kin (two months after a death).

    It is promoted to those setting up online giving sites and to families raising money for Princess Alice Hospice in an ongoing way through involvement in events etc... We also promote it to funeral directors by including the leaflet in a Princess Alice Hospice pack which we ask them to display (but they don’t tend to actively promote it).

    The most obvious area to promote is on our website and I'm happy to say we are soon going to improve this with regard to Tribute Funds being highlighted on our website.

  9. Were there any challenges or difficulties in getting the scheme up and running? Are there any things you would have done differently?

    There sometimes seems to be difficulty understanding how Tribute Funds work, both amongst patient families and staff. More staff training is something I think we should pursue, particularly because clinical staff often feel uncomfortable talking about this to patient families, probably at least partly because they don't fully understand Tribute Funds themselves.

  10. Do you integrate it with other fundraising initiatives and events, if yes, how?

    We promote it to families involved in ongoing fundraising through our community events team.

  11. What have been the key outcomes to date? Have they met or exceeded your objectives?

    We currently have 21 Tribute Funds, some more active than others, that have raised over £25,000 in total to date. One other benefit of a Tribute Fund is that it allows us to identify and acknowledge those families supporting Princess Alice Hospice in an ongoing way that we weren’t able to do before as an organisation.

  12. What feedback do you get from supporters about the service?
    Do you think it benefits them in terms of grief support?

    We get only minimal feedback, but what we do get is invariably positive and therefore we believe it does benefit supporters in terms of grief support.

  13. How do you communicate and develop relationships with fund holders?

    I send a six month update to each Tribute Fund holder and also send Hospice information such as a copy of our annual report.

    Tribute Fund families who are actively fundraising for us have also been offered a commemorative leaf on our copper Memory Tree (located at the Hospice gardens) as an indication of our appreciation for their support which has been very well-received. We additionally hold a remembrance service once a month at the Hospice.

  14. Do you think the service strengthens long term relationships between the tribute creator and your hospice?
    For example leading to possible future fundraising and other volunteer help for you?

    Yes, although finding something new and fresh to engage them with other than hospice events is challenging.

  15. What are your top 3 tips for success?

    Regular, sensitively-handled, contact, continually acknowledging our appreciation of their support and supporting them if they are planning an event or take part in one of ours.

Information about Princess Alice Hospice

Princess Alice Hospice was established 26 years ago and supports about 1 million homes across a large part of Surrey, South West London and Middlesex.

Its services include 28 beds for In Patients, a Day Hospice and a Community Team of 28 PAH nurses looking after up to 800 patients in their own homes at any one time.

Yearly running costs are over £7 million, 25% of which is covered via an NHS grant - the remainder of has to be fundraised from voluntary sources. In Memory donations therefore play a significant role in our ability to continue providing patient care. We have over 1,400 volunteers helping with all aspects of the Hospice, especially our 34 shops.