Specialist Brain Injury Care in Warwickshire
Castel Froma is a registered charity that cares for over 400 people every year, all of whom have complex neurological conditions such as brain injury, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone Disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
Susie Murray is director of fundraising at the charity. “Two-thirds of our users are people who have suffered in an accident — traffic or sporting, for example. The remaining third have progressive neurological conditions, such as MS, cerebral palsy, or motor neurone disease. They all have complex disabilities and may struggle with walking, swallowing, continence, breathing or communicating. We offer both nursing and rehabilitation — helping people to relearn lost skills,” she says.
Murray's role is new and stems from the charity’s need to expand into major proactive fundraising (it had previously existed on a mix of legacies and endowments, alongside money from the NHS.) She and her colleagues have a tough annual target of £350,000 as a start — to cover some costs that are quite frightening.
“It can cost £3,000 to replace a bed. A specialist mattress can be £4,000,” she says. “Our fundraising needs to cover all our rehabilitation work, the associated staff salaries, social activities for patients, even some of our core work. Our first job was to create a fundraising database,” Murray says, explaining her contact with CTX. “To run this, we needed to get SQL Server, and CTX’s contribution was to allow us to do this. It is impossible to do fundraising on a meaningful scale without a database — the most important thing is to make people feel engaged, recognized, and thanked — to keep in touch with them to continue the relationship and to make sure they know that the organization cares.”
Murray had heard of the donation scheme via Microsoft’s U.K. offices and so knew that the charity could get the software it needed. Murray describes the acquisition process from CTX as “very smooth,” urging charities to look into the scheme and in particular not to be fazed by its "techie" nature. “Don’t be put off from registering even if you’re not the technical person,” she says. “I could do it, and then I called upon our IT person when the software needed installing.”
The database is now successfully up and running and being used to serve an enormous existing and potential supporter base. “There are people who might give five pounds a month and people who might give five hundred thousand,” says Murray. “There are several companies with staff all doing events, thousands of trusts to send applications to. Without CTX’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of this — we’d have been working on bits of paper.”