Hospice UK’s Comms Conference is the charity’s annual event for hospice communications and marketing staff, aimed at sharing knowledge on key aspects of communications and providing networking opportunities. This year’s theme is: Be prepared: is your hospice ‘comms-ready’ for the challenges and change that lie ahead for the sector? Cheri Strudwick, Head of Supporter Engagement at Heart of Kent Hospice in Maidstone, writes about why you should attend on July 12.
I attended my first Hospice UK Comms Conference last year and not only was it my first one, but I was also delighted to be asked to be a panel member talking about branding. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that after accepting the invitation I was a little apprehensive – but all the sessions on the day were brilliant, and I learnt so much from both listening and talking to my peers.
One thing that is so good (and rare) about the hospice sector is the collaborative working, and how if you’ve a problem, question or a challenge you can pick up the phone or drop an email to your counterpart at another hospice and have a genuinely honest and open conversation.
We are all in the same position – we are hugely passionate about the work that we do, coupled with the realities of pressure on our limited resources, whether time, budgets or team members; so to know that a hospice the other end of the country might have tried that campaign, run that event or dipped its toe in that latest social media fad is not only reassuring, but hugely motivating. I came away from last year’s conference genuinely buzzing about the work that I do, with a renewed sense of purpose, but also reassured that my concerns are the same as those of many others.
What was obvious from the day is the benefit of having shared time together; how by making the time and monetary investment to attend the conference you will learn from both specialists and peers about their experiences. You are able to ask questions and listen to each other, away from the pressures of that 100th email of the day (when it’s only 11.30am!) and your IG director asking for the latest income figures.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is so true when it comes to the benefits of the conference – the challenges and changes the hospice sector faces are realities for all of us. We can add real value to the work that each of us does back in our own hospice by pausing, asking questions, taking time to reflect and maybe acting on one thing that we’ve heard – which combined will add a different angle, direction or purpose to our communications.
* The Hospice Comms Conference this year will address the challenges and changes the hospice sector is facing, with some hospices struggling financially and many facing significant workforce challenges.