Brick-by-Brick: A Capital Challenge (That Raised £21 Million)

September 11, 2019 Louise Sparks

By Michelle Pagett, The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice

The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice provides free palliative care and support to the people of Glasgow. We need to fundraise £3 million per year to keep our doors open and look after more than 1200 patients and their families every year.

A new building was needed to improve our existing services and lower our age limit to include young adults from age 16 upwards. Glasgow City Council gifted the Hospice a 7.5 acre leafy green site within the grounds of Bellahouston Park, to build a new hospice on.

Getting Started
We needed to raise £21m to fund the build, while continuing to fundraise to keep the doors of our current facility open. Knowing this would be the most ever raised by a hospice in the UK, we also knew we needed all the help we could get. The team read all the theory that we could get our hands on. We spoke to a number of charitable organisations who had been through similar capital appeals, we took advice from industry professionals, we attended courses and workshops and we employed the services of consultants.

We established that we needed to fundraise in a way that would appeal to our donor demographic and we got as much information as possible from our supporter database to give us as much insight as possible.

Glaswegians are known to rise to a challenge. And in 2012, despite an uncertain economic climate, we launched the Brick-by-Brick capital appeal.

How did we raise £21m?
Our fundraising efforts and activities have been wide and varied. Some were based on traditional methods and for others we adopted new techniques:

  • Major gifts from individuals, organisations, corporates, and trusts.
  • A staged public appeal
  • Legacy income
  • Revenue surplus
  • Local, national and international fundraising

Our Appeal board was flexible. People came on board and gave their expertise and once they had exhausted their network, they moved on.

What made the target achievable was the sheer volume of people we managed to engage during the public appeal, with everyone doing what they could, at whatever level.

Staged Public appeal
We needed a staged structure to keep returning to our donors with new asks. We split the stages into Foundations, Buy a Brick, Raise the Roof and Kit it Out. This allowed us to inform supporters of the progress we were making and take them with us along the way.

  • Foundations: We asked people to make a donation and write messages of love and support on hearts that were to be buried in the grounds of the new hospice.

  • Buy a Brick: We asked people to buy bricks, each brick costing £5.
  • Raise the Roof and finally Kit it Out: A simple message each time asking people to donate for
    the roof and furnishings.

At each stage we were able to better select our marketing methods and improve our segmentation.

We had a logo for each stage of the campaign, based on the main Brick by Brick logo design. Same colours, same font. The names of the appeal stages sat in the center of the logo and the colour round the outside showed proximity to fundraising target.

With the appeal branding, we very much promoted the idea of this being for Glasgow; well known scenes of Glasgow, with a nod to the specific stage of the appeal within the image.

Critical Learnings
Running a capital appeal and revenue fundraising at the same time, we had an increased work load, competing demands and we were asking more of our supporters than ever before. The capital appeal put extra strain on the team, but it also really made us focus on improving our way of working.

Over the course of this six-year appeal we took a few wrong turns, experienced many challenges and took a few risks. We learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. Our key critical learnings were:

  • Be flexible. Be brave. If something isn’t working, stop what you are doing and try something
  • Approach major donors first. Don’t go public too soon – risking donor fatigue.
  • Split your public appeal into stages.
  • Everyone needs to use the database and not store supporter information in their heads or emails.
  • Whether allocated to revenue or capital appeal fundraising, fundraisers must work together as a team.


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