A charity that works with babies with serious heart conditions smashed its fundraising target six-fold on Giving Tuesday.
Tiny Tickers launched an appeal with the aim of raising £725, the price of a pulse oximetry machine used to detect heart defects in newborn babies.
But the charity’s supporters helped raise £4,500, enough to buy six of the life-saving machines.
The equipment will now be used test roughly 9,000 babies a year in maternity units across the country.
Jon Arnold, chief executive of the charity said: “We’ve been blown away by the success. Our target was to buy one machine and we thought that would be quite a big target for a small charity like ourselves. Our supporters responded amazingly.”
Despite congenital heart disease being one of the biggest killers of infants in the UK, only around half of congenital heart defects are picked up during routine prenatal scanning.
Tiny Tickers wants to change these statistics, working to improve early detection, diagnosis and care of babies with heart conditions by helping to train health professionals and funding vital hospital equipment.
Their Giving Tuesday campaign Test for Tommy was launched in the memory of baby Tommy McKellar, who passed away at 11 days old from undetected congenital heart disease in 2015.
Reflecting on the benefits of signing up to the campaign, Jon said: “In terms of the legacy of Giving Tuesday, in terms of our work, [the results were] absolutely phenomenal and those machines could help save lives. In terms of us and our profile as a charity I think there are massive benefits in terms of engaging supporters who already knew us but also getting us to new audiences.
“We’ve been involved with Giving Tuesday for the last two years but only sort of on the margins until this year. This was the first year that we got more heavily involved.”
The charity also hosted a social media takeover on the day, with Jon answering supporter’s questions and reaching new audiences and followers: “We saw an uptail in the number of followers we have on social media and a lot of those people who did donate were new donors for us so it’s a massive legacy for the charity as well hopefully.”
Speaking about advice he would give charities who are considering joining up, John said ‘go for it’, adding: “This is the first year where we sat down to come up with a plan and a specific appeal. We found that making specific asks was really successful. I would definitely encourage anyone thinking about getting involved in Giving Tuesday to do it, it’s a great way to leverage your fundraising and a little bit of planning and deciding how it could work for you can go a long way.
“For us as a small charity it was absolutely fantastic. It was another way we could connect with our supporters and clearly it really motivated people. Our lasting impression was what a success it’s been, more so than we could have ever hoped.”