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Trends Affecting Healthcare Philanthropy in 2015

HealthcarePhilanthropyAs we look ahead this year, healthcare institutions are in a position to optimize their fundraising opportunities. We’ve identified some trends (and strategies!) that will impact healthcare philanthropy in 2015. 

1. The service-line fundraising strategy.

By integrating philanthropy across service lines in order to mirror how the hospital or health-system works, in essence, makes philanthropy a more natual function. This strategy will help you to better engage physicians in your philanthropic efforts. By capitalizing on their strong patient relationships, you will be in a better position to identify the patients who can become potential major donors, utilizing concepts from our recent Grateful Patient study and report. Building these relationships can also significantly help case development.

The challenges: not all hospital fundraising departments are located within care facilities. You may have to commit time away from your desk in order to integrate into off-site administrative and clinical teams. 

2. Proactive (and frequent) donor engagement.

Don’t wait until your typical quarterly or annual meeting to touch base with your key donors. Share information about your institution’s achievements throughout the year. When a news release is issued, forward it to them in an email, or better yet, print it out and send a hard copy in the mail with a short note attached. And don’t forget simple touches like cards of congratulations, happy birthday or get well.

The challenges: making time for this, and identifying relevant content. It requires you to be active within a donor’s circle of contacts, to stay current on what is going on in their lives. 

3. An expanded social media voice for philanthropy.

Your institution probably already publishes regularly on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Piggyback on this presence by setting up a regular schedule of postings relating to philanthropy. Maybe you can negotiate with your news staff to provide two or three Instagram photos a month, perhaps taken at fundraisers or meet-and-greets. Or use the platform to announce upcoming events, with a link to the event registration page.

The challenges: an ongoing calendar can trip some people up. To maintain credibility, be sure to abide by schedules and commitments. One other caveat: this doesn’t mean you should neglect old-fashioned relationship building. 

4. Local, regional and national giving days.

For some reason, the giving day phenomenon hasn’t caught on as much in healthcare philanthropy, but it should. It’s a great way to rally donors and coordinate participation by employees, patients, staff and board. It’s successful because it is a concentrated effort, that thrives on participation, to reach a larger group at once. The group energy and momentum often inspires new donors, too. If you plan a giving day into your schedule, be sure to secure matching funds upfront.

The challenges: getting the first one off the ground. To assist your plans, download our Short and Sweet Guide to Giving Tuesday Kit.

5. The “ultimate gift” strategy.

Overall, philanthropic giving has been up for the past three consecutive years, and the market is at an all-time high. You’ll want to take advantage of accumulated wealth, but don’t jump the gun on potential gifts without a long-term ask plan. In other words, the first gift doesn’t have to be that $10 million named pavilion – it could be an increased annual gift or something smaller devoted to a specific program. Develop a 12-month ask plan that will lead the donor from their comfort zone through to the ultimate gift.

The challenges: you don’t want to damage a relationship by rushing an ask or by asking too often. Set up for what you ultimately want from an individual, then figure out a plan to actively engage them, with an eye on longevity.

What trends are you seeing in your healthcare institution? Leave a comment below.

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Adam Wilhelm
About Adam Wilhelm A hands-on collaborator, Adam Wilhelm engages organizational leadership and Boards and translates their visions into implementable activities for fundraising teams. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated consummate...
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