St Bridget’s Hospice has been an essential part of health care on the Isle of Man providing palliative treatments such as counselling, therapy and bereavement support since 1983.
It provides independent healthcare, free of charge to Island residents diagnosed with life threatening illnesses and more than 150 patients are admitted to the hospice each year.
St Bridget’s unfortunately outgrew its premises and it was essential to the island that something be done to help. The Mighty Oak Appeal was launched to raise funds for a purpose-built facility, and the whole Island got behind the effort contributing L4.3 million.
Once construction was completed in October 2007, St Bridget’s was renamed Hospice Isle of Man and management invited everyone to tour the new facility during an open week.
The Hospice Isle of Man relies solely on donations from the public and needs to raise L3 million per annum in order to function. The goal for us was to attract as many visitors to the open week as possible and highlight Hospice's role in the community and its many services. This would, in turn encourage people to continue to support operations going forward and to become a volunteer.
Strategy and Implementation
Use a broad-brush approach in a closed media market such as the Isle of Man's, and you risk becoming a one-hit-wonder.
Strive PR employed a range of tactics including briefings, news releases, testimonials and success stories. We drip-fed angled and targeted stories to meet the exact requirements of each journalist. And, we used a myriad of hooks to keep the story fresh.
We put a human face on Hospice by focusing on patients, volunteers and employees - each with his own unique story in testimonial interviews – a powerful media trigger.
In addition, various aspects of the new facility, the kitchen and the sensory therapy rooms, where given special focus. Celebrity participation including Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Welsh International Rugby League's Scott Quinnell augmented the profile.
Without exception, every single Manx media outlet covered the event, many several times.
Hundreds of column inches were devoted to Hospice. It was featured on the front page of two newspapers and Manx Tails, an all-Island publication which is delivered to 36,400 houses in the Island every month by post.
Border TV ran a lengthy feature and each of the Island's radio stations ran several interviews and news stories. A video tour of the facility ran on isleofmantoday.co.im.
But perhaps most importantly, nearly 10 per cent of the Island's population, 7,000 people, attended open week -- a number that surpassed all expectation.
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