Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is an independent charity providing hospice care to people across Birmingham and Sandwell.
We have supported the hospice for a number of years and are currently (Spring 2017) in the concluding stages of an innovative appeal that also included an inspiring art installation.
Caring for around 1,200 people a year, and their families, many hospice patients remain at home for much of their illness, where they are supported by Community Palliative Care and Hospice at Home teams. The Hospice helps and supports families and loved ones, no matter how young or old, throughout the patient’s illness and after bereavement, for as long as necessary.
Hospice care is free of charge and Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice needs to raise some £8 million each year. This latest initiative – the Forget-me-Not appeal – aimed to not only raise funds and result in an innovative art installation but also to change perceptions around hospice care. As part of that challenge, we were commissioned to raise awareness of the appeal, of the week-long installation of 1,500 beautiful wrought-iron forget-me-not flowers that took over Birmingham’s Brindleyplace, and to change attitudes of hard-to-reach audiences.
At the beginning of the three month campaign, we devised a three phase media relations structure which consisted of issuing a press release at each crucial juncture in the campaign – all leading up to the week of the installation. Each release was tailored to individual media outlets – by location, sector and demographic – maximising our coverage of the campaign.
To gain momentum leading up to the launch, we visited local radio stations across Birmingham to present their presenters with their personal forget-me-not flower, and to request a ‘live shout-out’, which sparked great interest and coverage on social media.
Throughout our work, we ensured the human interest perspective resonated throughout. We called upon case studies of patients, families, nurses and local personalities – all willing to share how they had been touched by the work of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. These touching tributes were shared across the hospice website as well as their social media channels, enabling current donors to be made aware and the opportunity to strike up interest with potential donors.
We secured a number of key outlets from a ‘Critical List’ we agreed with the hospice, including ITV Central, Made in Birmingham, Free Radio, Birmingham Mail and Asian World. We also successfully delivered against key performance indicators agreed with the client not only relating to media coverage but also footfall to the event and flower donations. Each and every one of the 1500 Forget-me-Not flowers was in consequence sole either prior to or during the installation week!