Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity

Posted on September 1st, 2014 by Louise Eagle

CRM & Fundraising

Harlequin helps forge new era of fundraising at Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity

With many manual processes and a creaking in-house system, Lindsey Fealey the Director of Income Generation at Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC) had a clear vision that a new charity database would radically benefit the organisation. Five years later, the department is less cluttered, processes are more streamlined, contact history is centralised and event management is highly polished.

Background to organisation: for 25 years, FNHC has supported the people of Bucks, Beds and parts of Oxon. FNHC fully funds Florrie’s Children’s Team – The Children’s Hospice at Home, Lymphoedema Clinic, Day Hospice, Nightingale 24/7 team, Volunteers, and Bank nurses who deliver holiday and relief cover in the In-Patient Unit. It also provides part-funding of the Community Palliative Care Nursing Team and all the other small enhancements that make hospice care so special.

Fundraising managed on system: Campaigns, Events, Individual Supporters, Corporate, Community, Legacies, In Memoriam, Light up a Life, Promotional Items and Merchandise.

Download the PDF case study about Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity

Why did you need a new CRM system?

On joining the FNHC it was apparent that the current database was causing frustration. It had been written especially for us years before and, at the time, met the charity’s needs; however, the technology was not evolving and it was simply time to change. After a review and selection process, we went live on Harlequin in July 2009.

What advice might you give to another charity that is looking for new fundraising software?

You will need to obtain buy-in from a range of stakeholders, which may take time. A formal business plan helped convince our finance team and trustees about the viability of investing in a new system. I included costs from a range of suppliers and highlighted that increased income would be an end result. Staff may be reluctant to change; talk through concerns, focus on the long-term benefits to the charity and enthuse “we need to make time to save time”.

What are the biggest benefits the system has brought to your organisation?

Closer relationships with supporters and shared knowledge between staff: having a complete record of all communications and donations ensures everyone feels valued. Now when someone is fundraising for us, we provide a closed-loop service: we send out good luck emails and thank you letters; update communication records, preferences and interests; and tell them about other relevant fundraising. Now, all our information is in one place which is imperative for our job-sharers and volunteers. We also have greater visibility of the relationships between people on the system; for example, the many large families of supporters are now properly linked together.

Improved processes and task management: compared to when I started, we have 60% less paper files in the office. In the morning everyone logs onto the system; we view outstanding actions, follow set processes, personalise template documents and allocate tasks to colleagues. Management reports for meetings now take minutes to compile.

Saved time on Light Up a Life admin: each year many people dedicate lights on our Christmas tree to a loved one. We use Harlequin to dispatch leaflets, log income, record dedications, send out confirmation cards, organise the ceremony and collate the Roll of Honour books. With the Light Up a Life module, labour-intensive admin time has been halved. We were also able to analyse the impact of adding a ‘Make a donation’ line to the leaflet.

Greater confidence in major event management: without Harlequin, I am sure our first Midnight Walk in 2009 would not have been as big as it was. This event brought the team enhanced credibility with outside agencies and gave us the vision to plan more high profile activities.

Trustee buy-in: with the tangible results Harlequin has delivered, our trustees have a greater appreciation that a robust IT infrastructure is a must to future-proof the charity.

How do you use the software to manage your fundraising events?

Using the fundraising Event software, we co-ordinate an expanse of activities. For example, in 2014, 600 walkers took part in our Midnight Walk pledging to raise over £45k. Teams were set up on the system and participant numbers allocated; registration packs, training guides and t-shirts were issued; personalised labels and letters produced; certificates collated; corporate sponsorship managed and income and expenditure tracked. At any stage we could check the progress of the event. Without Harlequin, our Midnight Walks would not be so easy to manage – in particular, we save about a week’s time in administration with the automatic upload from online registrations.

Have you examples of Best Practice?

Phased roll-out: we did not try to do everything in one go and took a phased approach. We prioritised establishing key processes, such as contact and event management, and then over time have rolled out extra modules and functionality. Until you start using the system, you realise there are many benefits that you could not have initially contextualised.

Promotional items module: all our collection tins and buckets are logged on the system with location and expected return date. We plan area collection trips based on postcode which keeps costs down. We can also trace stolen tubs more easily.

Why did you choose Harlequin?

  • User-friendly staff: other companies we spoke to seemed very black and white and corporate. The well-established, independent, family-style-business of Harlequin appealed to us.
  • User-friendly software: the Harlequin system is easy-to-use and many customers vouch for this.

How do you rate customer service?

We know we have friends at the end of the phone. It doesn’t matter how many times we ask something, we are treated with patience and integrity. Harlequin has taken the time to understand how we operate and strives to ensure we are making the most of our system.

What are your plans for the future?

We will continue to run all fundraising campaigns in Harlequin, polish processes and tidy up our historic data. We will be relaunching our membership scheme on the system and will implement the Volunteers module.

To you, what three words best describe Harlequin?

User-friendly, reliable and flexible.

Download the PDF case study about Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity