Dear Neil and fellow HIFA members,
I think HIFA has had a great year, and recent discussions on the forum regarding coronavirus (https://www.hifa.org/news/coronavirus) have shown what a valuable part HIFA can take in calling for better access to quality healthcare information - for all healthcare providers.
I've always felt in awe of what HIFA can do with its limited resources - and this only makes me think HIFA could do so much more if there was better funding and if HIFA had a more regular income stream.
In this regard, here are some starter ideas. I'm not saying that are all suitable for HIFA, and this certainly is not an exhaustive list of possibilities, but I hope these ideas may generate some further thoughts and discussion from others, perhaps from those who have had experience (positive and/or negative) of these methods of increasing funds.
At first glance some may seem to need HIFA to have extra manpower (which it doesn't at the moment) - but in such cases HIFA could work in collaboration with others or seeks help from its members (there are around 20,000 of us!)
Note: it's possible that HIFA needs a mix-and-match strategy for different countries, times and projects.
1. Make a concerted effort to seek support (including financial support) from all professional bodies that might be interested in HIFA
So in all countries, links need to be made with professional bodies for:
e. other healthcare professions e.g. community health workers, dieticians, physiotherapists, radiographers, occupational therapists, dentists, paramedics, psychologists and psychiatrists, audiologists, optometrists, social workers, etc)
f. librarians/info technologists
h. journalists and editors
i. health & safety officers
j. medical photographers and illustrators
k. medical/other student bodies
HIFA could make use of its country reps to identify and/or contact all of these bodies around the world. There could be a letter template sent out to each country rep to use and a standard contract/agreement that allows HIFA to stay neutral and independent
2. Develop closer relations with SOs - especially those already funding HIFA?
There may be ways in which HIFA can be of added value to others - e.g. a health charity. Developing closer relations might help identify ways in which the two can work together, with additional funds coming from the SO in question, or HIFA and the SO working together to get more funds. An additional point - at the moment HIFA seeks SOs among the membership. But there may be organisations out there that don't have direct link to HIFA but are interested in it achieving its goals - perhaps as part of its CSR strategy. (For example, a book publisher or maker of bookshelves!)
3. HIFA looks to see if there are grants that it can apply for?
Has this ever been done in a systematic way? If so, has it ever been done outside the UK? Perhaps HIFA would need to work in collaboration with others to make a joint grant application? Could HIFA get a volunteer fundraiser(s) on board to help with this?
4. Looking for ways of getting match-funding?
From governments, large donors etc - to leverage any funds coming into HIFA.
5. Wills and legacies?
There may be people who would like to leave a sum to HIFA in a will - HIFA could make this easier for them to do via the website.
6. Identify and make use of advertising space?
HIFA has a website and also the Dgroups site - is there space on either that can be used as advertising space? HIFA would of course need to make it clear that placing the advert is not an endorsement and there would need to be a strategy about what adverts would/would not be allowed. Possible adverts: conferences, journals, jobs, ?medical products. Advertisers would probably want to know number of visits/hits/followers.
7. Sponsorship for web meetings and discussions (e.g. via Zoom)?
For example, a group may wish to have a special meeting about "What is health misinformation?". The sponsor provides/invites a speaker (and possibly even hosts the virtual event) and there is good amount of time allowed for a Q&A with the speaker. (Thanks to Zoom many of us now have experience of this.) HIFA could help provide publicity via its social media and forums, perhaps in tandem with the host and/or other interested parties. (This could also be a subscription only event, with password only given to subscribers - but this would take time and manpower to set up and may go against principles of access to all)
8. HIFA produces some publications which are sold at a cost?
These would be developed by HIFA members. They could be anything from leaflets to PowerPoint presentations to books and guides. (Again, this may go against principles of access to all)
9. A variation of the above - make certain parts of the website only accessible to paying members?
Perhaps HIFA could develop some short courses, in association with others, that would be useful to our members. These could be developed so that there is some accreditation associated with them. Again, this may go against principles of access to all.
10. Neil and others charge to be invited as speakers to meetings etc?
There is a huge amount of knowledge and expertise that perhaps can be 'monetized'.
11. HIFA makes use of new ways of fundraising/crowd-sourcing - e.g. via justgiving?
Perhaps this would need to be project specific. Again, using the HIFA forums and social media to spread word.
12. Work with community groups?
Community groups that feel a tie-in with HIFA may be willing to carry out fundraising activities on its behalf. As an example, as a youngster I used to raise funds through the usual routes (see next point) for the first aid organisation I worked with.
Also, there are many service organisations (such as Rotary, Lions Club), clubs and religious organisations that have members among the HIFA membership and that might be willing to help HIFA raise funds.
13. The usual small fundraisers by individuals or small groups?
Sponsored walks, cake mornings, bring & buy sales, tombolas, raffles etc. May need to think about how this would be organised, how would the money come into HIFA if done overseas, etc.
14. Developing HIFA products for sale?
Basically, merchandising e.g. hats, pens with logo(s) to be sold at meeting that HIFA attends
15. Raising the profile of the HIFA appeal to get more from individual donors?
E.g. through adverts, flyers, posters
16. Although not fundraising per se, HIFA could try to seek more in-kind support?
e.g. free consumables for Oxford HQ; more manpower to help with HIFA activities, tech support, editorial support, graphic design support, free subscriptions, fees for meeting attendance, a table for HIFA at conferences, etc
Finally Neil, a question for those of us in the UK. Does a donation to the HIFA appeal qualify for gift aid?
HIFA profile: Julie N Reza is a UK-based specialist in communications for biosciences, global health & international development (www.globalbiomedia.co.uk). She predominantly works with NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. Previously she was the senior science editor at TDR, based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva; prior to this she worked at the Wellcome Trust, UK, leading educational projects on international health topics including trypanosomiasis and trachoma. She has a PhD in immunology and a specialist degree in science communication. She also has several years research and postgraduate teaching experience. She is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and HIFA Social Media Working Group. www.hifa.org/people/steering-group
Email: naimareza AT hotmail.com