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Wednesday, 2 December 2020


Closing the gap on income loss by exploring a new type of auction

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THE Sick Children’s Trust is the charity that gives families with seriously ill children in hospital a warm and comfortable place to stay, minutes from their child’s bedside across its ‘Homes from Home’. The charity has been doing this since 1982 and over time has opened ten houses at a number of leading paediatric hospitals. 

Like many charities, The Sick Children’s Trust has had to adapt to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic and predicts a loss of 25-30% of its income this year. To date, the charity hasn’t been able to hold any major events which last year accounted for £180,000 of income.

In an attempt to close the gap, The Sick Children’s Trust launched its first-ever virtual house – an online Auction House. The concept of an online Auction House was brand new to the charity and required close cross-departmental working to make it into a huge success.

Working with online platform Givergy, the charity launched the online Auction House at 7pm on Sunday 18 October with 50 items on offer. Within the first hour, more than £3,000 was raised from supporters who bid against one another for prizes including a virtual dance masterclass with Anton Du Beke, a family escape to Northumberland and much more.

Having never done anything like this before the charity did not know what to expect but within 48 hours £18,000 was raised, exceeding the charity’s expectations. By the time the gavel came down at 10pm on Sunday 1 November an incredible £28,955 had been raised.

Using a mixture of targeted emails to the charity’s database, personal approaches and a robust social media plan, The Sick Children’s Trust was able to engage existing and new supporters, yet most importantly raise vital funds to give families with sick children in hospital a warm and comfortable place near their child’s bedside. 

Chief Executive Jane Featherstone said:

“This year has been a challenging time for everyone across the world, yet throughout the pandemic children still fell ill, were born prematurely, still required emergency treatments and needed their family by their side.

“We kept our doors open for these families, giving them somewhere to be together with their sick child. We have only been able to do this with the generous and overwhelming donations from our supporters.

“As a charity who historically used more traditional ways of fundraising through community events, gala dinners and building relationships with trusts and major donors we had to adapt quickly to a digital fundraising approach. We have found this approach to fundraising a learning curve but ultimately a successful avenue for us to drive further funds to our ‘Homes from Home’.

“The success of our online Auction House is an example of the brilliant support the general public has to offer, from all those who donated items to those who bid on them. They are helping us to close the gap in the income loss we predict this year as a result of events being cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you.”

To find out more about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit: sickchildrenstrust.org

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