St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Growing a donor base to help homeless women rebuild their lives


Homelessness in the U.K. is on the rise as the cost of living crisis pushes more people onto the streets. Homeless women – often fleeing violence – are even more vulnerable on the street. St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a London-based charity, started the ambitious 18 Keys project to raise £1.8 million to re-develop a hostel in London to provide stable accommodation and services to help homeless women rebuild their lives.

To make this initiative a success, 18 Keys needed to reduce its dependence on institutional contributions and grow its donor base. The project needed a distinctive fundraising campaign strategy to expand its reach and mobilize new donors.


Prophet started by analyzing the communications of other charities, isolating the best practices of the most successful fundraisers. With those insights, we interviewed current and potential donors to better understand why, when and how they donate and their perceptions about the explosion of homelessness in London. Then we huddled with the 18 Keys team, ideating new audience segments and key messages for each group. And we revisited the team’s approach to collecting testimonies, knowing that real women telling their stories will have more impact than any other form of marketing.

We distilled those diverse findings into a comprehensive new strategy. That included tone-of-voice principles and vital messages they could use going forward. We helped prioritize the highest-impact channels where they could achieve maximum ROI, and developed tools for creating future content.


Armed with the thinking and tools to enable them to compete with the larger charities, the 18 Keys team has been using Prophet’s guidelines to create distinctive and motivating fundraising campaign messages that compassionately illuminate the plight of women struggling with long-term homelessness. In March 2023, the project surpassed its £500,000 donation target by 6%, keeping it on track to hit £1.8 million by the end of the year.

“This is revelatory. Such a clear and insightful strategy with a weight of detail we simply would not have had access to without your help.”

Caroline Muir
Major Gift Fundraiser at St Martin-in-the-Fields Trust