“Hospitals, medical care, and the healthcare industry” certainly have been in the forefront of our national consciousness as Congress wrestles with healthcare reform. Most of the debate speaks about hospitals and medical centers as if we are all very similar in our missions, strengths, motivations, and constituents. Do not allow your development planning and fundraising program to be caught in that trap.
At the recent 43rd Annual AHP International Conference in San Francisco, there was significant conversation about how our institutions and missions differed and how different development programs were faring in this economy. The common thread seemed to be that while almost every program was struggling, some were doing better than others. And, while looking back might provide us with perspective, preparing our programs for the future is how we will regain momentum and success.
As Bentz Whaley Flessner reported last month:
The end of the recession means that much of the wealth destroyed over the past two years will begin to return. Since major gifts from individuals are asset based, not income based, the outlook for major gifts will improve. It will not happen overnight, and it will not happen to all donors at the same pace or levels. But, the climate for major gifts will be brighter.
How should you focus your program to take maximum advantage of a returning economy? Start by realizing that the key influencers and movers for your best prospects will differ, depending upon the type of healthcare institution you are. In some institutions, the physicians, nurses and other caregivers will bring the most visibility and leverage to your efforts. For others, board members or senior administration have the most influence. Take the time to review the approach strategies that have worked–and not worked–for your most successful or disappointing solicitations.
Bentz Whaley Flessner recently released its ninth annual survey of What the Affluent Think about Giving to Healthcare. The results provide a revealing perspective on how donors to different types of hospitals, medical centers, and care facilities give and with whom they prefer to interact. For instance, medical and nursing staffs play a much more significant role in influencing philanthropy at children’s hospitals than with long-term care facilities. At community hospitals, it is the board members who major donors consider important to their giving decisions. The data in the report may be helpful in getting the appropriate persons engaged in your program.