Case Study: The Lighthouse Children and Families
“Since 1999, The Lighthouse Children and Families, a non-profit organization, contributes to the wellbeing of children afflicted by illnesses requiring complex treatment, and provides respite and support to their families. The Lighthouse welcomes children at Maison André-Gratton, Quebec’s only pediatric palliative care home, which offers both respite stays and palliative care. It also offers in-home respite care and a family support program.”
Providing accompaniment or palliative care to children afflicted by illnesses requiring complex treatment and their families is a noble cause that rallies a great number of people. Over the years, this has resulted in a steady increase in third party requests to raise funds for The Lighthouse. It’s a nice problem to have, although very unusual: too many unsupervised donors relied on The Lighthouse’s internal resources to raise funds. Phil Communications’ mandate was to find a solution to this problem.
Each unique problem requires an original solution…
…and the partnership between The Lighthouse and Phil seemed tailor-made to dream up such a solution. The Lighthouse’s Director of Financial Development and Communications, Manon Durocher, recalls that the organization was lacking in communications expertise before hiring Phil. External fundraising initiative management is a complex and resource-intensive task, and it used to be done on a volunteer basis. The solution included implementing a proper communications plan to be managed through a permanent position within the foundation.
Mme. Durocher understood that structural changes to the Foundation’s communications and human resources were needed, but she had reservations as to the speed at which such a program would be implemented. That’s why Phil spread the budgetary, structural and functional changes at The Lighthouse gradually over a two-year development phase culminating in the inauguration of the “UNIS pour Le Phare” program.
UNIS pour Le Phare
The UNIS program aims to allow third parties to contribute to The Lighthouse by raising funds independently, using materials provided by the organization. The “UNIS Pour le Phare” toolkit includes donation forms, fundraising tables and a solicitation template, among other things. However, the most important tool is certainly the UNIS program star.
It’s a simple and affordable concept: a yellow star on a purple background, cut out from cardboard. All fundraising initiatives invite the participants to write their name or the name of a sick child on a star and to have their photo taken holding the star. This tool doesn’t just serve to motivate participants; the photographs produced become valuable content for social media. Their shareable nature made this initiative highly successful. In the first year of the UNIS program, many of them have been shared across social media. People rallied around the concept and its social and creative aspects.
Collaboration; Execution; Results
The mutual trust established early on between Phil and The Lighthouse is what ensured the program’s success. The Lighthouse’s open-mindedness allowed Phil to present ideas, including the UNIS star, knowing they would be understood and implemented. In comparison, Phil’s respect for the pace at which The Lighthouse was ready to make changes allowed for a smooth transition. The Lighthouse now has an external fundraising management position, ridding itself of the administrative burden of overseeing tens of independent projects each year.
This administrative reform lightened The Lighthouse’s workload. This in turn allowed for a multiplication of independent fundraising initiatives. In the first year since the UNIS program’s implementation, the number of external projects doubled, from about thirty to about sixty events, then well over 80 in it’s fourth year. That’s not to mention the numerous reactions caused by the UNIS star on social media, increasing The Lighthouse’s visibility online.
We want to thank The Lighthouse for helping improve the lives of children afflicted by illnesses requiring complex treatment and their families. This is an essential cause and The Lighthouse is the only organization in Quebec to offer these services. We at Phil are very proud to contribute to such a worthy cause. We are also proud that the efficiency of our collaboration has fostered excellent results!