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Investing in Philanthropy as a Viable Source of Income

The healthcare philanthropy team needs a seat at the table in the overall health system strategy in order to ensure it has the resources and organizational support to achieve its goals. How can it earn that seat? One way is to demonstrate the value of a dollar raised. 

A health system in pre-pandemic 2020 earned a net operating margin of 3% if things were going well. Consider then, the relative financial value of a donated dollar. $10 million in philanthropy is equal to a net patient revenue of $330 million at an operating margin of 3%. At $50 million raised and a net operating margin of 1%, the net patient revenue value is $5 billion. Which is your organization more likely to achieve, $50 million in giving or $5 billion in services? 

Recognizing the immense financial power of philanthropy should convince any hospital to invest in fundraising. This requires developing a business case and earning the development team a seat at the management table. Comparing philanthropy to net patient revenue should be a key component of that case. 

The next step is to recognize who the key leaders are at your healthcare system. Members of the C-suite include the CEO, CFO, and COO, but also the chief medical officer and chief patient experience officer. Each of these executive leaders brings unique access and capabilities that benefit philanthropy. However, each also has their own unique preferences, needs, biases, and concerns that you must navigate.  

For more information on this topic, please visit: Culture of Philanthropy


Grateful Patient Programs

The impact of COVID-19 may have altered the ways in which you interact with grateful patients and their families, but the relationships are no less important. Healthcare organizations have proven themselves to be critical to their communities. Your patients and their families know this to be true.  

The opportunity to find new major gift donors is often the driver behind grateful patient and family programs. As one of the most effective forms of fundraising, costing only 5-10% of the money raised, major gift fundraising is a smart way to grow, or diversify, total philanthropic revenue. Organizations already focused on major giving may find opportunities to enhance their physician engagement and mid-level giving programs.  

All of this comes with caveats. Grateful Patient Programs require a lot of planning and forethought to ensure they reach the right prospects with the right messages, and that appropriate goals and benchmarks are established. Throughout the process, patient privacy must remain a high priority. There may be information that simply can’t and shouldn’t be shared with the fundraising team.  

For more information on this topic, please visit: Planned Giving



No development office can function without serious consideration of researching high-potential prospects. Prospect research has always been a labor-intensive activity, but screening reduces the labor by quickly matching constituent information to multiple sources of information and presenting what is found in an organized format.  

That extended research may be as simple as using key words and phrases revealed in a screening about a prospect’s business, family, leisure activities, or philanthropy to improve the effectiveness of a Google search. Or it may involve using more specialized information sources. Accessing data integrity services can help ensure your data is correct and up to date.  

What kinds of information might you unlock with data screening? There are hard assets that can be assigned a dollar value, like real estate owned, private company ownership, or stock holdings. There are soft indicators of wealth like community and business leadership positions or luxury purchases. And philanthropic inclinations may be inferred from nonprofit board membership, private foundation affiliation, or known charitable gifts.  

Once you have updated and accurate data, it is possible to unlock a pathway to an estimate of philanthropic capacity through a public data screening. This will help you determine how much a prospect can likely donate over the next five years or to determine how many major prospects you have in your database. Think of data screening as a shortcut to boosting your odds of finding good new prospects. 

For more information on this topic, please visit: Analytics


Demographics / Generational Giving

The Blackbaud Institute partnered with the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) to shine a spotlight on generational shifts in giving in 2019.  

They found that healthcare donors are demographically similar to total donors in terms of gender, age, education, and income. Generational groups also mirror national trends, with Boomers representing a significant population of donors. The data reveals that Gen-Xers and Millennials, while a significant force in giving, have yet to reach their prime giving years, like Boomers and Matures. 

The generations also distinguish themselves by what they report is most important to them. While young Gen Z donors say they most frequently give to charities supporting children, animals and health, for Millennials the top three are worship, children, and local social services. While the generations share some philanthropic interests, Matures are more likely than other groups to support emergency relief while Gen Xers are least interested in worship.  

Key differences in healthcare donors come into play in geography. Donors who live in the Northeast are more likely to give to healthcare charities, with 23% of healthcare donors living in the Northeast compared to 18% of all donors; whereas in the South, healthcare donors are under-represented (31% of healthcare donors live in the South, compared to 36% of donors overall.)  

Different donor groups are engaging with healthcare organizations and gathering information about them differently as well. This study can help guide your strategic and tactical choices in the world of fundraising. Click this link for help guiding your strategic and tactical choices in the world of fundraising. 


Doctors' Day

Development offices have discovered that physician champions can have a positive impact on giving programs and consequently have sought to engage physicians in their annual fund and Grateful Patient fundraising. Doctors’ Day recognition can be a powerful adjunct to good everyday stewardship of physicians, who seek the resources and institutional support to practice great medicine.  

Doctors’ Day was first celebrated in an Atlanta suburb in 1933, initiated by the wife of a physician who believed special appreciation should be bestowed upon doctors one day annually. Doctors’ Day celebrations now take place across the country on March 30 each year. Doctors’ Day festivities work best and have the greatest impact when conceived and planned well in advance and express heartfelt appreciation while mixing in a bit of fun. Examples of this include on-site car detailing or massages for doctors, or signed cards from patients and staff expressing appreciation.