A Beacon of Hope | Gloucester Cathedral celebrates raising £1 million

At the beginning of last year, Gloucester Cathedral was all set to conduct a Feasibility Study for the second phase of its Project Pilgrim Campaign. Gifted had been engaged to undertake the work and Director, Andrew Day, was just about to begin the interview process when the first lockdown was announced.

‘The response needed to be immediate, yet considered and thoughtfully executed,’ says Andrew. ‘Meetings were held with the Cathedral Chapter and it was agreed that the most effective way forward would be to halt the planned Study, pivoting Gifted’s professional fundraising support towards an urgent appeal for funds, instead.‘

It was a brave decision, but one that had the potential to secure some of the Cathedral’s existing programmes and avoid further costs down the line, such as keeping apprentice stone masons in work and on site. Critically, the Appeal also had the support of Lord Vestey, who’s leadership was a major factor in achieving the fundraising target.

Shining a light in the darkness

In late Spring, the £1 million Beacon of Hope Appeal was launched. Alongside keeping vital services and programmes going, the fundraising was also focused on the Cathedral’s role as a light in the darkness. At a time of uncertainty and in a part of the country where social deprivation, homelessness and drug use are still a real challenge, the aim was to keep doors open and continue the Cathedral’s ministry to some of the most vulnerable people in and around Gloucester.

A little over six months later, the Appeal reached its £1 million target and Christmas was cause for some heartfelt celebration. ‘It was a phenomenal effort and a lasting tribute to the decades of philanthropic leadership that Lord Vestey has given to the Cathedral,’ says Andrew. ‘When we heard of his passing, just recently, I found myself recalling his earlier, outstanding involvement with Gloucester’s 900th Anniversary Campaign, back in 1989. Over the years, he continued to fundraise for the Cathedral’s fabric and mission, enthusiastically approaching others to do the same and becoming one of its most cherished ambassadors. The success of the Beacon of Hope Appeal feels likea fitting legacy, at the end of an extraordinary life.’

If your organisation is looking to reshape its fundraising strategy in the New Year and you'd like some help in taking the next steps, please get in touch with one of our directors and ask for an initial, exploratory discussion.

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