“Access helped us increase our brand awareness. It’s helped us reach a whole new range of people who now know more about the charity and more about how they can get involved. We felt that more people are engaging with us and signing up to our events and are helping to generate income for us.” - Ben Green, PR & Communications Manager at Sheffield Hospitals Charity
Sheffield Hospitals Charity (SHC) is the official charity of the NHS in Sheffield which supports the local patients and the NHS staff to deliver the best quality of care in all of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
What they believe in is that the people of Sheffield deserve the best and highest possible quality of care. And they try to go above and beyond to give them that above and beyond what the NHS can provide.
As an NHS charity, SHC has been particularly focused on trying to adapt to the pandemic to ensure that we're able to provide the same level of support to the hospitals at that moment of need. They've been working with hospitals and with their staff to make sure that they're providing the additional extras that they needed throughout the pandemic, from calm rooms and care packages for staff to iPads and tablets for patients so that they can keep in contact with loved ones.
Their fundraising has been a real challenge during the pandemic due to the fact that their normal methods of fundraising such as events and group activities had to stop so restrictions meant that they couldn’t do things in the normal way. And they had to be creative and they had to adapt. “Our fundraising team has been fantastic in being able to do that. We've done a lot of things virtually. We've tried to engage people as best we can and encourage people to do things from home. But of course, it's challenging because I think people are not used to that. People have got to adapt to different ways of working. And also we acknowledge that the pandemic has taken up so many people's lives and everybody's life has changed. And we've had to try to work around that,” Ben explained.
As every organisation out there, SHC has found themselves in the position of having to move all their activities online during the pandemic, from events to retail and fundraising. So their digital presence was vital.
“Having the platforms to do that has been fantastic. Working with Access has enabled us to do everything in a more collaborative way. And we have got services that we are getting from Access that we perhaps never have used before or never realised that we were going to utilise, but have been vital to us - being able to sign people up and promote our events online, to operate our retail offering, to communicate with our supporters online and have the online presence of our website, and also after adding Google Ad Grants, being able to reach more people in an online setting. It's been obviously massively important for us,” Ben said.
SHC thinks that people are going to continue to want to reach them on an online platform. ‘Having a digital presence will always be part of our strategy. But maybe that's been hastened by the pandemic. The world has changed as people expect things to be available to them at the touch of a button, and we have to adapt to that. And so having platforms like Access allow us to do that and then allow us to do that in a fairly seamless way.”
SHC was looking for an accessible and intuitive system for their users but also one that would join up with all their other systems so their staff wouldn’t have to duplicate work.
Ben explained, “I think the usability of the website has been is probably one of the biggest things for us because we have obviously our staff team, we have volunteers, but we also have our supporters who want to use it to sign up to things, who want to use it to book onto events. So at the front end and back end is very important that we have that usability.
"Our supporters have constantly said how good and easy it is to use the platform to sign up for events or to take part in things. But also as a staff team, I'd be the first to say that it's really easy to update content, to add news stories, to add images, videos to change our front page etc. It's all things that we have to do really regularly and probably actually on a daily basis sometimes to make sure that we've got the constant renewal of information on there and everything that people might need.
"So with the website being so user-friendly, that's a huge time-saving piece of work because it allows staff to be able to do things quickly, efficiently and also get more constant information on the website. But also I think what's really important is that it all joins up together. So we're able to join up with our external communications that we send out to our supporters. We're able to link to our social media feeds, to our in-person retail outlets. And all of this means that we're not having to duplicate work all the time. So having that joined-up approach is really important for us as a charity.”
Having to turn to a digital-only model during the pandemic, SHC needed to be able to reach a wider audience and drive up site traffic.
“One of the things that we've started to use recently is the Access NFP Ad Grants. One of the biggest things for us was being able to reach a wider range of people, to make them aware of the charity and understand what we do. And given the normal communications methods have not been possible over the past year, having the additional reach is really important,” Ben said.
“What we found is that it's helped us increase our brand awareness. It's helped us reach a whole new range of people who now know more about the charity and more about how they can get involved. So certainly we felt that more people are engaging with us or signing up to our events and are helping to generate income for us. Throughout the pandemic, that's obviously increased even more because whereas we might have had more people in-person fundraising, we've now given them the opportunity, through using Access, to be able to reach us digitally. So certainly we are more known, more interactive with our supporters and we've probably had more of a digital presence, certainly since our website has been as it is now,” said Ben.
“What has been really important for us is that we've had a good communicative relationship with Access to be able to understand how they work and how we can utilise them best. And what's been fantastic is that the things that we've asked Access to do, have been put in place really quickly, really easily, and with actually minimal work for us. And we constantly get emails from Access to keep us up to date with the latest developments.
Also, one of the best things I would say about Access is that there's a really easy and simple approach to being able to raise any problems and have them resolved really quickly with good, constant communication from the team. And that's really important for charities like us, because we need to be able to adapt and react to things really quickly. So having somebody working on your behalf quickly to resolve any issues and to communicate with you what those issues are, that has been vital.”
“I absolutely recommend charities to work with Access. I think Access is offering some fantastic services and various online offers, whether that be your website, whether that be the NFP Ad grants, whether that be combining your website with your other online presence, whether it be social media or retail.
"Access has definitely shown me that it's offering a very personable and user-friendly approach and a multiplatform service. So I think any charity that was looking to expand what they're able to do, I would definitely say that Access is a really good option.
If you are interested in learning more about the Access NFP Website Platform or the Access NFP Ad Grants, request a demo and one of our specialists will be in touch to understand your needs.