Sunflower Power: 

Thames Hospice's Flagship Event Raises £100k+ Using Donorfy


TH Sunflower Walk HR-60

Thames Hospice
  • Migrated from: ThankQ
  • No of Constituents: 115,000 +
  • Total Annual Income: £16,000,000 +
  • Charity Type: Hospice
  • Donorfy Package: Professional

Since 1987, local charity Thames Hospice has served the East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire community with free-of-charge, specialist palliative and end-of-life care services. Dedicated to providing compassionate support to people aged 16 and above, as well as vital support for their loved ones, Thames Hospice relies on charitable donations to help fund its services. 


Meeting Demand

With less than a third of its costs covered by NHS England, the team need to raise £38,363 daily to provide their vital services 365 days a year. It’s a tough ask, especially during current times of economic uncertainty and increasing demand for their services. In light of this, their flagship event is a critical opportunity to raise vital funds.



Sunflower Walk

The Sunflower Walk is one of their flagship fundraising events, inviting participants to come together to walk around the Hospice's surrounding areas. In 2022, the Sunflower Walk raised £15,620 in donations with 220 participants.

In 2023, with a revamped events team and fresh perspectives, they enhanced the event by introducing a new half marathon route alongside the existing 2.5k and 10k routes. The half marathon course led walkers from the Hospice into Windsor, passing by Windsor Castle before looping back to the Hospice. 

The success of the changes to the event was immediately evident - participant numbers more than tripled to 750 walkers.” explains Vanessa Biggs, Head of Data, Insights and Supporter Care.



Streamlining Event Management

The campaign harnessed the full potential of Donorfy's integration with Eventbrite. Leveraging this integration, the team implemented a comprehensive strategy to optimise participant interactions and fundraising efforts.

Eventbrite Integration: The integration between Donorfy and Eventbrite facilitated a smooth transfer of participant data directly into their constituent timelines. This automated process eliminated manual data entry tasks, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in managing participant information.

Personalised Supporter Journeys: With participant data seamlessly imported into Donorfy, the team used DotDigital to create bespoke supporter journeys tailored to individual preferences and engagement levels. Through targeted email communications, supporters received personalised updates, fundraising tips and event-related information.

These emails were the pinnacle in connecting our supporters to our charity’s cause and encouraging effective fundraising to support us.” adds Vanessa. “We had many families walking in memory of loved ones, in particular a group of 50 joined together to remember and celebrate the life of their loved one. He received end of life care at the Hospice and friends and family united to take on our Sunflower Walk in his honour; contributing over £16,000 to the overall total.”

Fundraising Opportunities: The introduction of sunflower merchandise sales as add-on items through Eventbrite provided supporters with additional fundraising avenues. By offering commemorative sunflowers as part of the event ticket purchase process, Thames Hospice capitalised on supporters' enthusiasm to contribute further to the cause, generating an extra £2,492.

Automated Performance Tracking: Donorfy's integration with DotDigital enabled seamless tracking of email performance metrics, including sends, opens and click-through rates. These insights were automatically recorded back into Donorfy, empowering the team to assess the effectiveness of their communications strategy and optimise future engagement efforts.


A Blooming Success

The Sunflower Walk's remarkable success was fuelled by a passionate team, and using Donorfy integrations strategically. This resulted in a staggering £101,545 being raised, more than 300% higher than the previous year's total.

This extraordinary fundraising achievement has tangible effects on Thames Hospice's ability to deliver essential care. 

This incredible amount could fund two nurses for a whole year, to provide specialist care to those who need us, at our Hospice or in their own home.” says Vanessa.

Moreover, the event facilitated extensive community engagement, with 25 new volunteers joining Thames Hospice and invaluable media coverage generating widespread awareness of the charity's mission.

The Sunflower Walk campaign received well-deserved recognition at the Donorfy Awards, where Thames Hospice stood out as finalists in the Campaign of the Year category. Although they didn't quite clinch the top spot, their outstanding achievements and great use of Donorfy set them apart in a highly competitive field.

Thames Hospice's campaign exemplifies the power of community-driven initiatives, leveraging Donorfy for impactful results," remarked Ben Twyman, CCO at Donorfy. “Being finalists in the Campaign of the Year category is a testament to the team's incredible dedication, too.”

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