Developing our fundraising plans for 2021

Beckie Wynne — Director of Income Generation

We’re all enjoying our first weeks of relative freedom, as the third UK lockdown restrictions have eased, but I think we are all aware that life will be different for a long time yet.

We’re certainly not expecting this year to be in any way normal, so that’s had an impact on the fundraising plans we’ve been putting into place.

We’re about to start our new financial year, and in the course of planning for it, we’ve had to review how we’re going to raise the money we need to provide care to children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

The biggest impact on our activities of course has been on events. Having had to cancel most of our events last year, we’ve rethought our calendar for the coming 12 months and developed more Covid-secure events outdoors.

This means we’ve expanded on things like our popular Yorkshire Three Peaks walk and included a family-friendly One Peak Wander, a climb up Pen-y-ghent with a den building competition at the top. We’ve also introduced new events, including our Cow and Calf Abseil at Ilkley, and Walk the Wall —along Hadrian’s Wall.

Sadly, it does mean we’ve made the decision not to hold our Glitter Ball this year, but it will be returning in May 2022. Overall, the events we’re putting on this year will look different to previous years, but we hope they will be successful.

The other area of our income which has been hit hard is retail. Our chain of 13 shops have been closed for about seven of the last 13 months, with only our eBay store able to remain in operation continuously.

Fortunately, even with social distancing and other safety restrictions in place, our customers have been incredibly supportive. Each time we’ve reopened our shops we’ve been inundated with donations and sales have been strong, so we’re hopeful that now they’ve opened again, they will do really well through 2021.

Of course, it’s not only our events and fundraising that have been affected in the past year, but all the activities individuals, groups and companies do to raise money for us. Our amazing supporters have stuck with us and found new and different ways to fundraise.

Last year, we lost £2.2 million in fundraising income — the difference between the budget we’d set pre-Covid, and the revised budget we had to draw up after the pandemic struck, when the effect on our fundraising became clear.

We are confident, thanks to our loyal supporters, we will survive this, but that doesn’t mean we will come of it unscathed, and we expect to lose more money in the coming year.

We’ve had to save a lot of money — we’ve held vacancies, used the furlough scheme, and things like having to limit our capacity to meet Covid guidelines, and having non-care staff working from home has also helped to reduce costs.

But overall we expect it will take us around two years to recover financially from the pandemic, which has a knock-on effect on our 10-year plan to increase our income, so we can continue to meet the needs of our families.

The reality is that our service is mainly funded through the generosity and support of our community, so our vision is to invest for the long-term, building our regular giving and lottery supporters, so we have that regular income all the time underpinning the fluctuations of events and external fundraising.

This blog post first appeared in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Head shot of Beckie Wynne in front of Martin House back drop.

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