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How To Maximise Your Donation Channels with SPARK TSL

Connectivity is essential in hospitals, but valuable features past the basic provision of WiFi can often be overlooked.

13 minute read | 25/04/2024

How To Maximise Your Donation Channels with SPARK TSL

The Impact of a Tailored and Data-Driven WiFi Portal

Often, NHS Charities work with their Trust to help fund Free WiFi, set up a simple one click portal with generic NHS branding and call it a day. They have ticked the status quo for providing free WiFi as mandated by NHS England, so why do more?

Unfortunately, many Trusts don’t realise that they are missing out on brand exposure, data collection and supporting their charities that provide essential financial aid. With a bit of investment, NHS Charities can see an increase in community awareness, involvement and donations.

So how do we get from WiFi to donations? Let me take you on a journey. Alternatively, you can skip straight to the results from two NHS Charities, The Royal Free Charity and Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity.

SPARK TSL hosted a Webinar on this topic in March 2024. Click here to download the webinar.


The Journey From WiFi Portals To Donations

Step 1: Add charity brandingNHS Lothian

There is no benefit to your charity if your branding isn’t on a WiFi portal. Tens of thousands of people see the WiFi portal when connecting to the internet, which is a common first step for anyone who enters the hospital. It's possible that many people are unaware of the charity associated with the Trust, but incorporating branding on the WiFi can significantly boost exposure and awareness levels.

Step 2: Authentication/re-direct page

After the user is connected to the WiFi, they are greeted with a ‘You’re now connected’ message which can be very generic and cause users to click off straight away and check Facebook or something else of the like. This re-direct page can be anything you like. Perhaps it links to the Trusts website homepage, the charity page, or by default, to an entertainment and engagement platform such as SPARK® Media, unless specified otherwise.

A bespoke page could even be built, providing information links that include: how to pay for the car park, the hospital map, wait times at the ED’s in the surrounding area, sponsor the latest charity event. You could create it to include literally anything. The ball is in your court. This is an opportunity for more brand awareness and to provide useful information to visitors and patients.

Step 3: Enable a data click portal

Data holds significant value. It can be leveraged by companies to tailor their marketing strategies and entice you to make purchases. However, it's crucial to prioritise data privacy and compliance with GDPR regulations. To obtain consent, simply include an optional tick box for users to indicate their interest in receiving marketing information.

Your charity can adopt the same approach through data click portals. You can also include additional options for users to join your charity lottery. By incorporating clauses such as 'by participating in the lottery, you confirm that you are over 18 years old,' you can ensure GDPR compliance while reaping the benefits of utilising data effectively.

Read the NHS Charity Case Study

Step 4: Invest in a CRM

You’ve got all this data, but how do you store and monitor it? That’s where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform comes in. You can then import the data collected from the WiFi portal to the CRM. It’s down to you to do the research and find which CRM is best for your charity. But to help you get started, here’s a list of CRM systems that some NHS Charities use:

Step 5: Clean the data

Not everyone fills in their real information when using these forms. You might get some micky.mouse@hotmail.com and therock@gmail.com that you need to clean from the data set before it goes into your CRM. Dirty data can create a false view of your data and generate inaccurate results from any marketing efforts you enrol them in. You could enable email validation on the WiFi portal to counteract this at source.

Step 6: Market to the data

With clean data in your CRM, it's time to unleash its potential. This is where the magic of email marketing, automated workflows and integration comes into play. Each CRM offers a unique set of features and enhancements to streamline data collection and marketing efforts all in one place. Be sure to explore these capabilities when choosing the right CRM for your charity.

Utilise your CRM system to send out targeted emails, conduct A/B testing on subject lines, and set up nurturing workflows based on user engagement with the emails. Segment your data into categories such as WiFi users, lottery participants and engaged users to tailor your marketing strategies effectively. Empower your Marketing team with the necessary tools to drive traffic to your website, attract more lottery players and boost donations.

Where did this all come from? A WiFi portal. The same WiFi portal that previously did nothing for the charity. Pretty impressive, right?


Evidence That WiFi Portals Turn Donations

You may be thinking "this all sounds great, but does it actually work?". Let me introduce you to the Royal Free Hospital Charity and Bristol and Weston Hospitals Charity who both shared their experience with data click portals in SPARK TSL's first Charity Webinar, How To Maximise Your Donation Channels with SPARK TSL.

Download the SPARK TSL NHS Charity Webinar

Both John and Katie informed our webinar attendees of the real benefit their charity has gained since implementing SPARK TSL's data click portals. Both charities had to put time and investment into following through with the data once it was collected to reap the rewards. But it was completely worth it for them.

The Royal Free Charity Increases Subscriber Numbers 12-Fold In One Year

John Kundu is the Digital Marketing Manager for Royal Free Charity and previously worked with SPARK TSL when he was at Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. After seeing the results there, he was very excited to bring this prospect to The Royal Free London.”

They already have a CRM system and a marketing plan for charity subscribers, but the problem was they didn’t have the volume of subscribers needed to generate a significant income. They really struggled to increase this number, as John stated in our NHS Charity Webinar:

"Our subscriber growth wasn't really shifting. We didn't get that many people coming on board before SPARK TSL and we tried various things. All of a sudden, within the space of launching the WiFi Portal on December the 7th 2022, we ended up having about 17,000 subscribers in in February 2023."

To put that in perspective, in one year, they grew from 5,000 to 60,000 subscribers. This incredible figure is all thanks to the data click portal that SPARK TSL provisioned. Remember, those are just the subscribers, there was over 350,000 interactions with the WiFi portal in 2023. Their portal was custom designed with Royal Free Charity branding. That’s thousands more eyes exposed to the charity than previous.

Royal Free Charity Device Portal (1)

The Royal Free Charity have nailed  data segmentation and personalised email workflows. They carefully organise and import their data into their CRM, ensuring that WiFi subscribers are distinct from those who signed up through other channels; allowing for tailored nurturing strategies for each set of data. The open rate for their WiFi Subscriber audience is 47.7%. This matches the rates of their general subscriber base which proves that the subscribers generated from the WiFi portal are just as valuable.

How does this turn into donations?

“From a year's worth of statistics, around 10% are engaging, 5 to 2% are making donations, and that's quite a huge difference. That's about 5,000 people actively involved.” - John Kundu

With such a large subscriber base created from the WiFi portal, they only need a small percentage of that number to donate which will cover the cost of the initial investment and more. For illustrative purposes, imagine if each of those 5,000 people donated £5 - that equates to £25k annually. With the success seen by Royal Free, it would not be surprising if their donations exceeded this amount. 

Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity Donation Increase

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Bristol & Weston heard the buzz around what SPARK TSL is doing with data click portals and wanted in. They knew that even if 1% of the 1,000,000 or so patients and visitors to their hospitals made a donation, it would create significant income.

They experienced a similar story to Royal Free, massing 26,000 subscribers from the WiFi in 2023 after they cleansed the data. This marks a 95% surge in subscriber numbers, with an impressive monthly average of over 2,000 new subscribers. To put this into perspective, they were previously only acquiring around 100 new subscribers in a good month.

Bristol & Weston Charity Portals (1)

They also already have a CRM and email system which they used to test messaging to WiFi subscribers. They learnt that the WiFi audience responded best to prize led fundraising offers and asks. They used this information and promoted their lottery.

Out of the 26,000 clean opt ins, 4% of them play the lottery, that’s 1,040 people paying £4.34 a month. Over a year, that equates to £54,163. Just from the lottery

The brand exposure generated by the usage of our NHS Trust WiFi alone makes it a worthwhile investment. There's 10s of thousands of people using the WiFi every month.” - Katie Walker, Director of Fundraising & Marketing at Bristol & Weston Hospitals


Optional extras


Data cleansing and manually exporting and importing data can be quite time consuming. Some charities have the workforce to carry out this work and make sure that the clean data gets marketed to correctly to justify the work taken to do this.

This process can be fully automated by setting up a data validation journey through the WiFi portal. This eliminates the need for manual data cleaning and ensures that all collected data is accurate.

You can also implement integration from SPARK® Analytics to your CRM system. This removes the need for exporting, formatting and importing the data. It’s also relatively instant. Within 5 minutes of the user providing their data, validating it and getting online, this same information appears in your CRM. They can then automatically be put into a workflow to receive a welcome email from the charity. The floor is now yours to include them in any email campaign.

Dual Portals

WiFi isn’t just needed for patients and visitors, the staff use it too. To separate staff from visitors and patients, it’s wise to get a dual portal. This portal can include email validation, data click and the option to sign up to Charity news. The information collected can be utilised by the charity so they can market differently to staff vs patients and visitors. Royal Free & Bristol and Weston Hospitals Charity do exactly this with their dual portal. Engaging with the staff who register fosters a sense of community within the Trust.

SPARK® MediaWest Suffolk SPARK Media

The entertainment and engagement platform I mentioned earlier, has an official name: SPARK® Media. All of our WiFi customers get the Lite version of this digital platform, for free with SPARK® Connect, our WiFi service. Each of the three tabs can be customised to provide links to useful entertainment and resources. These tabs are: Entertainment, Charity and My Care. However, they can be customised like West Suffolk have done in the gif to your right.

A banner can also be added at the bottom which is often used to display the charity, creating more brand awareness and opportunities to donate.

What your NHS Charity can do

Simply get in touch with us and ask for a data click portal. Our expert Sales Team will talk through your options and pricing, then our Products Team will take it from there and work with you to create something truly reflective of your charity. 

What are you waiting for? Enable a data click portal today and reap the rewards. 

Be part of the journey


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