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101 Thinking differently and thinking quick in the middle of a pandemic
  1. Megan Boyle,
  2. Aneta Saunders and
  3. Kate Heaps
  1. Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice, London, UK


Background The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically diminished the income generation capacity of hospices and posed significant risk to their ability to meet increasing need. According to one survey, 29% of charities were not confident they would be able to continue post-lockdown (Blackbaud & Chartered Institute of Fundraising, 2020). The importance of the decisions made in response cannot be overlooked. While no one can offer the ‘right answer’, even with hindsight, our hospice embraced an agile, go-getting approach that reaped reward and set us up for a promising year.

Aims Our priority was to protect the financial position of the hospice, maximising on opportunities to generate income.

Methods We chose not to furlough our fundraisers. We applied an agile decision making process and utilised our resources flexibly, re-allocating team time. This included whole-team support for the emergency appeal, covering hospice reception duties, securing PPE and supporting clinical teams with testing. We embraced digital channels and delivered an emergency appeal within weeks of lockdown. Our team, empowered to work differently, delivered an almost complete calendar including virtual mass participation challenges and a Christmas grotto.


  • Emergency appeal raised £400K+.

  • Overall income exceeded budget.

  • 195 hours supporting the inpatient unit with testing.

  • Working closer with colleagues has improved perception of the fundraising team and fostered a mutual respect across the organisation.

  • Fundraisers remained connected with the cause.

  • Thinking creatively, remaining agile and contingency planning have become habit.

  • Trustees have better understanding of value and reach of our teams’ work.

  • We laid foundations for further development of key income streams.

Conclusion Investing in the right way and at the right time was a better strategy for us than to focus on cost management. An ambitious, bold approach powered new ways of working which proved fruitful and has shaped team practice and culture going forward.

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