Hospice Biographers: helping stories live on

When Barbara Altounyan realised her father was terminally ill, she postponed her career as a reporter, "borrowed" a BBC audio recorder and set about recording his entire life story on audio.  

Many years later and after a career in broadcasting she started to volunteer her professional audio services at her local hospice. After 18 months of volunteering, one of her patients suggested she spread her services to hospices everywhere and the concept of The Hospice Biographers was born.

Hospice Biographers gain marketing support

The Hospice Biographers was founded in 2016 and is launching its first public campaign on October 10th. The charity plans to offer terminally ill patients the chance to have their life stories professionally recorded on audio. This will give people the opportunity to “tell their stories” to help them make sense of their lives as a whole and to create something that will be cherished forever.

These days we’re used to keeping family photos, but very few of us have voice recordings to remember people by. And yet nothing is more unique and meaningful than listening to the voice of a loved one.

The charity’s service will be free of charge and will be offered to 200 hospices across the country within the next five years. Interviews will be conducted by volunteer journalists, hospice staff and communications professionals, who will be trained by the charity in regional clusters across the UK.

Secure hardware will be used that has been custom designed for the charity by Coomber Electronic Equipment. After being interviewed, patients will be given a USB memory stick containing their audio recording. Thereafter the interviews will be securely uploaded to an online digital database hosted with the cloud storage company Box. The audio life stories will remain strictly confidential for a minimum of ten years although patients will be able to give their friends and family access to their recordings.

The charity’s founder, Barbara Altounyan, signed up to Pimp My Cause in May looking for help with their marketing strategy. Barbara clearly had a huge amount of passion for creating this charity, as well as specialist knowledge and a strong network to support its development, but she knew that they also needed business and marketing support to grow and achieve the charity’s goals. We connected Barbara with Jenni Hughes, an experienced marketer and business coach.

Over the last few months Jenni and Barbara have been working to improve the charity’s communications through their website and social media in preparation for their launch next month. This work has made the vision for Hospice Biographers much clearer and more engaging.

Jenni said, “I’ve been really fortunate to get involved with The Hospice Biographers. It's not only given me an opportunity to learn more about launching a charity and how it impacts social media channels; but it has been wonderful to meet Barbara and her patrons and trustees of the charity who really make the charity what it is. It is an inspirational charity and it's wonderful to be at the beginning of a journey for them as their audio digital archive is set to become the largest library of its kind ever created in the UK”.

Barbara and the charity’s trustees have been so pleased with Jenni’s contributions that they have asked her to become their newest Trustee and to continue to support the development of their business and marketing strategies.

Hospice Biographers patrons support October launch

The charity has also won the support of Ed Sheeran and David Suchet who’ve both made films for their media launch next month.

The Hospice Biographers are now looking for pro bono marketing support to help them move forwards, engage volunteers and promote their services. Would you be interested in helping with their social media marketing or helping them to write bid proposals? If so, please get in touch with anna@pimpmycause.org.

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