Put simply, the initiative asks local people, groups and companies to cover the running costs of the hospice’s care services for a 24-hour period.
Donors can choose a specific date, so they could sponsor a day that is meaningful to them, such as a birthday or anniversary, or a special day or celebration, such as Christmas.
A number of donors have pledged to fund specific days on a long-term basis, and the hospice has also launched a ‘pay for an hour’ scheme for those who are not able to pay the full cost of a day.
What does the donor get?
Donors get to feel part of the charity – as well as the ‘feel good factor’ they have a tangible sense of direct involvement with the hospice.
As part of the package, Chestnut Tree House celebrates the day with the donor and recognises their support in a number of ways:
- donors are sent a formal certificate of their day
- donors are invited to come to the hospice to see how their support helps
- committed donors are given a silver badge
- on the sponsored day, the donor’s support is highlighted in the reception area of the hospice and on the hospice website
- the donor’s support is recorded permanently in the ‘Roll of honour’, kept at the hospice.
‘Pay for a day’ was the brainchild of hospice supporter and patron Mike Holland, a local businessman and entrepreneur. Mike’s son Brian died when he was just 13 years old – this was in 1979, before Chestnut Tree House existed.
Mike said: “I am paying for Chestnut Tree House’s care on 27 July – Brian’s birthday. It will be a special day for me and my family and I look forward to visiting the House and seeing how our contribution is helping to benefit these children’s lives. It will be, for me, a fitting tribute to my son’s memory.”
After a lot of research and hard work, and the support of their patron, Chestnut Tree House has successfully developed a new fundraising product that enables them to successfully raise money for the unrestricted running costs of the hospice.
The product appeals to major donors, corporates and key community groups, by packaging up these costs in a tangible way. The idea is simple to explain and buy into. From the launch to date, 109 days have been pledged and paid for, which equals £746,650.
In 2012, the charity made a special film called ‘Thank you for the days’ to thank donors who have been part of the scheme.
‘Pay for a day’ won the Help the Hospices & NGS Award for Innovation in Income Generation in 2012 and the 2012 Institute of Fundraising Award for Best Use of Major Donor Fundraising.
A number of other hospices are also running similar schemes. More details are available on their websites:
- Claire House Children’s Hospice
- Katherine House Hospice
- Demelza Hospice Care for Children
- Haven House Children’s Hospice
A full case study of the Chestnut Tree House ‘Pay for a day’ initiative, with further tips and information, is available to Help the Hospices members.