How do you get a multi-million-pound donation? That was the challenge for Cambridge Children’s Hospital, a new type of hospital that sits at the intersection of Cambridge University Hospitals, University of Cambridge, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, and needed over £100 million in donations to be built.
The hospital aims to pioneer integration across mental and physical health, utilise and create breakthroughs in gene therapy and take the principles of precision medicine from childhood through to adulthood. A radical reimagining of paedeatric healthcare, Cambridge Children’s aimed to spark a healthcare revolution across the world.
“This was a group of people with a visionary idea who thought there was a better way to give children care,” says Louie Sumpter, one of the founders at EveryFriday, “When you go into medical school, you choose a fork in the road, you either choose physical health or mental health, and mental health has long been in the shadow of the physical, Cambridge Children’s Hospital treats them in equal measure”.
At Cambridge Children’s, whether it be the emphasis on treatment in the home and the idea that “no hospital is the best hospital”, or the focus on how treatment as a child affects them still as they become adults, the ideas taking shape at Cambridge Children’s had a lot to offer thanks to its unique situation in being connected to the research branch of one of the world’s most renowned universities.
To begin to reshape this paradigm in paediatrics not just in the UK but the whole world, Cambridge Children’s needed to attract the attention and capital of ultra-high net worth individuals from around the globe, raising an extra £100 million in funding to get this paradigm-shifting project off of the ground.
These individuals and philanthropic foundations are so wealthy that only a handful of donations are needed. But the problem of course is that these individuals and organisations are constantly bombarded with appeals for other charities. This being the case, and given that no charity is necessarily bad, there was already serious competition afoot.
This is particularly the case in paediatrics, where bigger names such as Great Ormand Street Hospital, Sick Kids Toronto, and Boston’s Children’s Hospital all target the same individuals for funding. Many of these charities are also private enterprises, with slick, well-funded, blockbuster campaigns to fall back on.
Not only that, the wide-bearing nature of what Cambridge Children’s had to offer meant that there was a danger of it looking like a Jack-of-all-trades. For some, a donation to the hospital would be emotional in that they wanted to help children in need. For others, it would be personal, wherein either those treated (or their treatment) had some sort of connection to their own lives. For others still, it would be purely the scientific factor, whilst for others, they might simply be an ex-Cambridge alumnus.
This being the case, Cambridge Children’s needed to find a way to speak to these philanthropic individuals individually and to explain to them what makes this particular site so special in ways that would resonate with all groups, in the same way, no matter their personal motivations.
The challenge then was in creating a fundraising campaign that would appeal to both the hearts and the minds of the various stakeholders involved and had to be both simple and flexible enough to showcase the multifaceted character of the hospital. At the same time, it needed to make them feel like they were engaging with something bigger, a part of the greater whole.
If Cambridge Children’s did this, there was a much better chance that these wealthy individuals would help fund and facilitate this next healthcare venture.
A whole new approach needed a whole new proposition. The answer lay in “A Whole New Way”, a platform that punctuated the holistic nature of Cambridge Children’s Hospital as well as celebrating it at a regional, national, and international level.
“A Whole New Way” allowed Cambridge Children’s Hospital to tell all the different parts of the story all at once, with the very act of this hammering home the true purpose of the hospital itself: that each patient is a person, and their story doesn’t start or end once when they walk through a hospital’s doors. Instead, it is interconnected to their past and their future and is ultimately inseparable from the ground-breaking research going on within Cambridge Children’s walls.
The proposition worked in whichever direction you were approaching it, if someone wished to donate to Cambridge for the science factor, they could. If their decision was based around the fact this is the first dedicated children’s hospital in the region, then “A Whole New Way” worked there too.
But in totality, this total reimagination of healthcare and its accompanying proposition showed how a donation to Cambridge Children’s was more than just that: it was about becoming part of what comes next in precision paediatric healthcare.