Fundraising and personal donor data
As a local charity Trinity Hospice relies on the trust and goodwill of the local community: we would never undermine that by using inappropriate fundraising tactics.
We collect supporter data that helps us understand our donors and their preferences: many want to stay in touch with Trinity, and want to support us financially, so it is vital that our fundraisers have quality information to target supporters properly, to avoid people getting things they do not want or need.
We operate on ‘opt out’ policy, where a supporter can ask to be excluded from future fundraising requests and communications. We adhere to all Data Protection Act regulations and we never sell donor details or buy other people’s ‘lists’.
We don’t believe in aggressive fundraising: our approach is to inspire people to give to Trinity, rather than to make them feel in any way compelled, but all fundraising is a balancing act.
Many people give to Trinity on an ad hoc basis, but to raise the £5 million we need each year we sometimes have to formally ask for donations. This method works – direct appeals raise a significant amount each year – but we recognise that there is a limit on the number of these approaches we can use in any 12 month period, and we are careful to segment our supporters to stop unwanted or repeated mailings.
Access to our supporter database is restricted to a few team members, who receive training to comply with Trinity’s confidentiality policy. We respect the rights and privacy of our supporters and have a clear and open ‘fundraising promise’ which outlines our commitment to honest and accountable fundraising. We also have a comprehensive complaints procedure.
Reserves – a cautious approach
Our Trustees must fulfil their legal duty to guarantee the availability of Trinity’s services, and with this in mind they take a cautious approach to the level of assets held in reserve.
Based on 2014-15 accounts, two years’ running costs for Trinity would be just over £15 million. Free reserves at 31 March 2015 were £16.2 million. We adhere to all statutory requirements and follow guidance from the Charity Commission and while there is no legal requirement on charities to hold any specific amount, our Board’s official position is to hold two years’ running costs in reserve.
The Trustees consider that the continued pressures on health sector funding and ever-increasing demand for Trinity’s services make this cautious approach essential.
Hospices across the UK must operate against a background of highly unpredictable funding and must be realistic when looking ahead. Trinity’s current strategic plan predicts that the organisation is likely to be in a small deficit in the 2015-2016 financial year.
Trinity’s reserves are kept under constant review and amounts have been used in the recent past to help fund the launch of Hospice at Home and for our hospice refurbishment, and there may be circumstances in the coming year where reserves are used for other items of essential expenditure.