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Sector Case Study: Hospital Rooms – Digital fundraising for Mental Health Awareness Week

Hospital Rooms Project Curator, Natalie Tilbury talks us through the organisation’s digital fundraising campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week.

About the organisation

Hospital Rooms is an arts and mental health charity that commissions artworks for NHS mental health inpatient units across the UK.

Our vision is for all people in mental health wards to have the freedom to experience extraordinary artworks. We believe in the power of art to provide joy and dignity and to stimulate and heal.

What did you want to achieve?

We facilitate creative workshops between service users and the UK’s leading artists, creating permanent art installations within these units.

Covid-19 and the lockdown of units has forced us to rethink how we work. Prior to this crisis, establishing a dialogue with mental health units digitally through  Zoom or Skype had been deemed impossible. We wanted to change that. We were incredibly fortunate to be granted emergency funding from the Arts Council, a portion of which was allocated to helping us realise this vision. To supplement this, we initiated a series of fundraising efforts including our Mental Health Awareness Week Limited Edition poster series.

How did you do it?

With the generous support of artists Anish Kapoor, Richard Wentworth, Cornelia Parker, Giles Deacon, Emma Talbot and Unskilled Worker, we sought to raise funds for a new Digital Art School: a series of digital  art workshops for patients in mental health units in NHS hospitals across the UK. Each artist generously donated an image to be reproduced as a series of 100 limited edition numbered A3 posters, including some signed by the artist. The posters were launched on over a six-week period and dispatched from our London office to buyers all over the world.

Beginning on Thursday 21 May 2020, we launched one poster a week on our online shop for six consecutive weeks. To incentivise people to join our regular giving scheme, we made the posters available to purchase from 8am to Friends of the charity and then at 12pm the same day for general sale. We kept our messaging simple on social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) posting an image and several close-up details of each poster a few days prior to its launch. An email newsletter was also sent to our database at exactly 12pm every launch day.

Up to a third of the posters were sold to Friends of the charity, many of whom went on to collect the whole set. Launching at 12pm exactly allowed us to attract high volumes of traffic to our website which meant that half of the posters sold out completely within four hours of going on general sale. The Anish Kapoor poster sold out in less than two minutes.

What results did you see?

The  result of the six- week campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week to raise funds for the Digital Art School was an increase in web traffic by 3,387% over the same period last year, £30,000 from the artist poster sales and a 300% increase in Friends of Hospital Rooms membership. A fantastic result. To see the full campaign report click here.

What next?

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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