Freelance Fundraiser’s Jottings

17 September 2008

Hospice creates unique virtual garden of remembrance

St. Gemma's Hospice logo

St. Gemma

St. Gemma’s Hospice, Leeds has come up with a brilliantly simple, but effective way of both remembering loved ones and raising much needed funds for their work of caring for those with life-limiting conditions at the same time. Their new Gardens of Hope offer four virtual flower gardens, that spring into life with new blooms every time someone sponsors one.

The Rose Garden, Lily Pond, Crocus Field and Clematis Wall offer donors a chance to create a new flower and leave a short message about a loved one, linked to the flower. Place your cursor over the flower and the message appears.

The page that introduces the gardens also gives a useful breakdown of various things different levels of donation can pay for, helping potential donors to decide what amount they wish to give for their flower.

The total uniqueness of this new virtual in memoriam initiative is a brilliant example of how a  medium sized charity with no large budget for swanky web designers that I’m sure many others will, in time, want to follow.

Another great opportunity with something like this is to link it through social networking sites, such as FaceBook, MySpace or Twitter, given that one can do all of this online.

Check it out at:



  1. The problem with doing this kind of fundraising for small local charities is that it’s really difficult (and often expensive) to maintain bespoke software applications. Sometimes they come about because they’ve been lucky enough to recruit a member of staff who just happens to have the skills, or maybe there’s a supporter who wants to donate some time. But a supporter who develops a program may not be so keen to donate time on-going for maintenance, or your member of staff may get a new job.

    I think we need more tools for smaller charities to personalise and use for online fundraising(ideally MUCH more customisable than justgiving).

    Comment by grumpygrandma — 24 September 2008 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  2. That’s a really good point Grandma. I know that St Gemma’s does have a volunteer who maintains their site and, in this case, is happy to do it in an ongoing capacity. It could be a problem for other smaller or local charities, especially if they don’t have the budget to pay professional web designers.

    However, the idea is still a good one and not OTT in design terms, so could be replicated in a similar way by other charities wanting to expand their online donation opportunities.

    I’m currently exploring alternative ways to build websites without using expensive software, such as Dreamweaver, or needing professional web designers, beyond the initial design stage. Web pages that a charity can easily update themselves and add pages as and when necessary. When I’ve learned a bit more about the process, I’ll be sure to blog it here.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by freelancefundraiser — 24 September 2008 @ 11:04 pm | Reply

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