The newly-published Hospice Health Report sets out how hospice fundraising teams have weathered the storm of the pandemic, but face significant challenges in the coming years.
About the report
Aimed at helping support strategic planning in hospices, the report is a comprehensive study of the sector’s fundraising since 2017, and intends to guide the sector toward success and sustainability.
Its findings focus on the change in behaviour of both existing and new donors in the context of the current cost-of-living crisis. It suggests ways that hospices can address these by being more innovative through the use of technology in their systems and stewardship.
In creating the report, Dreamscape Solutions based their analysis on findings from the Fundraising Fitness Test service, studying nearly 6.5 million individual gift transactions in 38 hospices.
The findings show there have been both wins and losses for hospices in the last five years. Since 2020, hospices have seen improvements in income from newly retained donors, income from repeat donors, and overall retention rate. But there have also been challenges, with hospices reporting decreases in average gift values, overall acquisition, and income from major/corporate donors.
Find a summary of the report’s findings and suggestions for change below.
The report is essential reading for every hospice fundraising team to help them better understand what is and isn’t working, in the face of a period of extreme financial challenge in the UK.
Catherine Bosworth, Director of Income Generations and Grants, Hospice UK
Hospice UK’s Director of Income Generations and Grants, Catherine Bosworth,
“Hospice UK estimates that hospices are likely to face additional costs in 2023 of more than £100 million. At the same time, our aging population means demand on hospices will continue to increase, but pressure on household incomes and the public purse means hospice fundraising teams will need to find new ways to generate income and meet the demand for their services.”
Bernard McCabe, Director of Dreamscape Solutions:
“Hospices have weathered the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the hospice health report shows there are more challenges ahead. Many hospices are struggling with donor attrition - for every 100 donors gained, 100 are lost.
"With the cost of living crisis expected to keep affecting how much communities can give to hospices, it's vital that hospice fundraising teams tackle donor retention by developing knowledge, skills, and systems to consistently deliver stewardship experiences that meet the expectations of modern consumers.”
Hospice Health Report: key summary
Read the key takeaways for giving trends, mass volume data, donor acquisition, retention and attrition.
Pre-pandemic income levels across donor types remained relatively steady, but since 2020, income from major/corporate donors reduced, while low-value gifts increased to tackle these trends. Hospices should prioritise productivity and cost-efficiency at each stage of a gift’s lifecycle.
Hospices receive donations of all sizes, with many people choosing to give what they can, when they can. However, processing lots of smaller donations can be time-consuming for fundraising and finance teams, a process which could be improved by investments in automation technology that handles data processing requirements with speed and precision, freeing up valuable time.
The report indicates that pandemic crisis appeals were highly successful when many households had disposable income due to furlough schemes and work-from-home policies. However, in 2021, the lifting of social distancing liberated consumer spending and led to acquisition rates falling to the lowest level since 2017. Hospices should focus on retention and re-engagement to restore relationships put on hold due to global and economic events.
Even though new and repeat donor retention levels increased last year, both have deteriorated since 2017. The report showed a decline in repeat donors during that time, who are vital to annual revenue. If, as expected, donor acquisition rates suffer due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, retaining donors through improved donor stewardship experiences will become even more critical.
Find the full figures on page 18 of the Hospice Health Report.