Providing an objective voice in an important decision

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

“Action Planning provided us with a really good service. David Burland was very objective and whilst looking out for the best candidate was able to offer his advice and experience from his previous career and his knowledge of the hospice sector.”

Peter Foxton, Director of Income Generation, Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice provides compassionate services to adults across the whole of west Surrey and part of north-east Hampshire. It is one of the oldest hospices in south-east England.

With an ambitious new construction underway on their Farnham site, requiring £6million in funding in addition to the charity’s reserves, a campaign of public funding was scheduled to begin in March 2024 and a marketing agency was required to advise and lead on the fundraising aspects of the capital campaign to individuals (excluding major donors).

Having completed a fundraising feasibility study for this project in 2022, Action Planning was asked to help source an appropriate agency.

We were appointed to work with Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice to manage the tender process to select a direct marketing agency. While the hospice has an active in-house marketing resource, they wanted a stronger independent voice internally, particularly for Director of Income Generation Peter Foxton to bounce off, so there was an element of mentoring involved too. Action Planning Associate David Burland led on the project.

David worked with Peter and his team to create the tender document and wrote reports on each of the applicant agencies, with a recommendation as to whether to move them forward or not. Four agencies were then invited to come and present to a board chaired by David. In this role he provided a balance to the in-house decision makers to interrogate, while interrogating their judgements in return.

“David’s expertise at the table was really valuable and added to our in-house expertise. It was a good opportunity for us to just sit and think critically,” says Peter.

Once the successful agency had been chosen. David managed the feedback to those that had not been selected.

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice landed their direct marketing agency and were very satisfied with their choice.

Consultant’s insight
This was a rather unusual project, given that we were appointed by the client as consultants to manage the process of appointing other consultants for them to work with!

Our first conversation was to consider whether we actually wished to bid for the work ourselves. However, we quickly concluded that the project did not play to our strengths. We decided that we could best serve the client by working closely with them to select a specialist agency with the right expertise and experience.  

Acting as the ‘middle man’ between Phyllis Tuckwell and the agencies required careful co-ordination and communication between all the parties involved. Chairing the discussions with the shortlisted agencies also meant that all those from the client side could focus on questioning the potential partners and not on the actual management and structure of the sessions. But we could actively participate in the questioning of the agencies and offer a different perspective.

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