As Urostomy Association supporters will know, trustees recently introduced a transformation plan to review and build upon our charity’s services. This is because we want to increase our reach and impact to ensure that we offer the very best information and support for anyone affected by a urinary diversion, as well as their families and those who support them.
We are introducing a new plan for a number of reasons. These include the need to:
- Reach more people who need us – In recent years we have seen a decline in the traditional membership, and we are not effectively attracting new or younger people.
- Strengthen our position in the sector – Other charities are attracting potential members, even though they are not specific to urinary diversions
- Update our image – There is a perception that we are becoming ‘old fashioned’ and not embracing new technology to maximise our reach and support. It also means that health professionals are less confident in referring people to our services.
- Raise more money for our charity – We need to diversify how we raise funds, so the Urostomy Association can grow in the future.
A members’ survey was commissioned, with 837 people taking part (a fantastic 41% response rate), and presentations took place in almost all the Association’s local branches. We also held online consultation groups to attract wider contributions, and four stoma nurses were interviewed to hear their thoughts. Some additional objective information was also taken into account on membership trends and numbers.
The key messages which emerged are that we should:
- Become a greater influencer –to ensure that the voices of people experiencing a urinary diversion are heard at a policy and practice level, both nationally and locally
- Engage better with key referrers – to ensure professionals such as stoma nurses and GPs more confidently refer people to our services
- Provide more inclusive services – to better support people who are not near a branch or choose not to join one
- Make greater use of technology – to engage and disseminate valuable information to our community, through social media (including YouTube) and Zoom, for example
- Diversify our information – to expand beyond our established Journal by providing information in other ways too, such as e-newsletters and video formats
- Update our image – to strengthen our credibility and appeal to younger people seeking our services
- Grow ways in which people can get together – so people can meet up to share experiences, provide support and learn about the latest health advances without the formality of a branch meeting.
We want our services to be available for everyone with living with a urinary diversion. The membership fee was reduced to zero because it was felt that it was a barrier to people being able to engage and benefit from our services. We have already seen a subsequent increase in membership, which is great news! In reality, the membership fees provided a very small percentage of the funds we need to run our organisation.
The plan going forward is to diversify the UA’s fundraising strategy, so funds can be secured elsewhere and enable us to continue to provide support in the coming years.
We are creating a new fundraising strategy. This includes applying for grants from Trusts and Foundations, growing relationships with corporate supporters, introducing appeals, and running a gifts in wills campaign. We also want to better support people keen on fundraising.
As you can imagine, there is a lot to do, and we are keen for branches to continue to do their great work locally.
Over the next couple of months, we intend to review the way that the UA head office runs, with a view to providing the best possible engagement with everyone who needs us. As you would expect we will be embracing all that modern technology has to offer us.
Samantha Sherratt joined us as Transformation Director on 6 November 2023. You can read more about her here. Samantha’s job is to deliver the three year transformation plan, continuing the exciting journey we have already embarked upon.
The UA can be reached through the following:
- Telephone: 01223 910854
- Email: email@example.com
- Social media: the UA’s Facebook page and the UA members’ Facebook group
- Address: Office 205, No 9 Journey Campus, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AX
Please contact Samantha Sherratt via the ‘contact us‘ function