Bournemouth Parks Foundation - the story so far
Project manager Theresa McManus shares the story of setting up Bournemouth Parks Foundation.
I started as the Bournemouth Parks Foundation’s project manager in January this year, a week after the Foundation was approved as a charity. At that point there were 5 trustees in place, and the ways in which were we going to trial digital giving in an outdoor environment were still to be decided.
Our immediate challenges were:
- completing the set up of the charity
- developing marketing and communication strategies
- developing marketing materials
- getting a website and donation platform set up
- recruiting volunteers
- developing our ‘products’ of legacy and digital giving
Time has passed so quickly, I can’t believe it is now September already.
Eight of the eleven trustees we wanted have now been appointed, and we’re actively recruiting for the position of ‘financial expert trustee’. We’ve all met several times and are working together well; the mix of people is really important, that we all get on well, have something unique to offer and represent our community.
Marketing and Communication
The marketing and communication strategies for the Foundation have been developed, alongside all the other necessary strategies, policies and processes, and our branding. We now have all the leaflets, banners and stationery we need, but are still working on getting our event caravan ready to take out into our parks to raise awareness, attract donations and recruit more volunteers.
Our website has been set up and is linked to the National Funding Scheme’s DONATE platform. This provides us with a number of ‘causes’ which we are raising money for, e.g. a sculpture trail along Bournemouth’s River Stour.
Crucially, we have finalised, designed and implemented our ideas for digital projects. We have installed a riverside Speaking Bench to attract donations towards the Sculpture Trail, and we have installed a giant talking parrot sculpture outside of the Bournemouth Aviary, to attract donations towards building a new aviary.
This was the main focus of our summer activity, alongside a couple of exciting duck-racing events our volunteers carried out for awareness-raising. We have since been reviewing how people are interacting with the digital installations and are considering how they could be improved.
Finally, we are also trialling our legacy giving offer with a firm of solicitors offering to write free wills. Of course, leaving a legacy to the Foundation is not obligatory, but we are hoping to convert a proportion of enquiries into pledges.
Our key learning so far is hard cash is still the preferred method for donation. We have also seen that whilst our signage is informing people, and our digital installations are providing enjoyment, it is not hitting that lucrative emotional jackpot. We still have more work to do to develop the digital income streams which will hopefully coincide with the inevitable final migration away from cash to the ‘digital wallet’ (phone/contactless card).
The technology behind the ‘digital wallet’ has not progressed as fast as we had anticipated 18 months ago nor has the public’s trust – it is so tantalisingly close with the major banks getting their act together that 2016 should be the year when opportunistic charities such as ours are well placed to take full advantage of the cashless society.