60 seconds with Ryan Heal, CEO at Rockinghorse


As a Brighton based business, we’re always looking for ways to work with other members within the local community. With Rockinghorse’s 50th anniversary this year, we are delighted to be able to support fundraising efforts by running four weeks of bus ticket advertising.

A bus ticket campaign is a great way to reach a whole host of potential supporters. For a local charity like Rockinghorse, the regional coverage this format ensures means that engagement is high. While we work across a whole host of sectors including FMCG and public sector, we have a strong track record delivering high performing campaigns within the charity sector.

Rockinghorse is a fantastic Brighton-based charity which supports the needs of sick children and babies throughout Sussex. For their Golden Jubilee, Rockinghorse has decided to launch an extra special campaign – Sussex Giving for Sussex Children. We sat down with Rockinghorse’s CEO, Ryan Heal, to find out more.


1. What is an average day at Rockinghorse?

“Every day is different which is one of the things I love most about this job. Primarily we’re a fundraising office so my time can be split between meeting our corporate sponsors one day, and talking to a six-year-old girl who’s donated her pocket money another. With almost 20 in-house events and a large number of beneficiary events every year, our eight-strong team is often out and about supporting events, thanking fundraisers and giving tours of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. Fundraising, thanking and banking are our key activities — offering a positive experience to everyone we help.”

2. What are you and the charity trying to achieve with this year’s campaign?

“It’s incredible to think that this charity is 50, starting out before man even stepped on the moon. We wanted to mark this achievement with something that will not only celebrate our accomplishment but also continue to build momentum in the years to come. This year we’ve launched our ‘Sussex Giving for Sussex Children’ initiative, where we’re aiming to provide  £500,000 worth of funding which will be split between 10 worthy children’s centres and paediatric services in Sussex. By supporting these local causes, we can help take some of the pressure off the Royal Alex and support additional deserving projects.”

3. What do you enjoy most about your role?

“With every job there will always be highs and lows but I feel very grateful that I get to see first-hand the generosity of our local community. Seeing the work the Royal Alex Hospital does is a daily reminder that there are a lot of great people in the world.”

4. What has been your proudest achievement at Rockinghorse?

“Turning 50 has to be our proudest achievement at Rockinghorse. Over the years we’ve seen so many changes within the healthcare sector and to know that the money raised still makes a valuable difference to the lives of others is something very special. On a personal level, being awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Charity’ award at the Sussex Business Awards was a very humbling experience. I’m incredibly grateful to the team who continue to support the work we do every day.”

5. In your opinion, what are key success factors for fundraising campaigns?

“Every donation received no matter how big or small makes a huge difference to the support we can provide. For us, looking after our donors is one of our main priorities. We want to ensure that everyone has a positive experience, understands how they’re helping and engages with us. Working with Ticketmedia means we can not only measure the success of a campaign but ensure we’re reaching a large audience of potential supporters. At Rockinghorse, we plan for the long-term and don’t want to ask for too much, too often. The bus ticket campaign gives people the chance to donate if they can while also highlighting the charity to a broad range of people.”

6. How important is local business support?

“It goes without saying that without the support from local businesses we wouldn’t be where we are today. Being based in the heart of Brighton rather than at the hospital means we can engage with the businesses around us on a daily basis. We’re always bowled over by the generosity of individuals and businesses who give up their time and services to help us — Sussex is very special in that respect.”

7. Why did you choose bus ticket advertising to support the 50th anniversary this year?

“The support from our friends at Ticketmedia ties in nicely with our partnership with Brighton & Hove buses. We want everyone to feel a part of this charity and these partnerships do just that. With so many people travelling by bus everyday there’s a chance that everyone will have encountered the services of the Royal Alex or will know someone who has. The buses are a direct crossover with patients, families and supporters which makes this a very accessible way to donate. There were 5.2 billion passenger journeys on local bus services in 2015 and with a 17 minute average journey time research shows that passengers welcome a distraction — it’s a great medium for us to reach our supporters. ”

8. Who are you hoping will donate?

“Everyone! That’s the great thing about this campaign — you can be anywhere with a phone to donate. All you need to do is text ROCK00  £2 to 70070 and every donation will make a difference. Thank you to everyone in advance who donates to this fantastic cause.”

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