Hospital philanthropy faces tough challenges

Fundraisers at non-profit hospitals and health systems struggled to raise money for their employers in 2009, according to a new report by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

The AHP's survey of 66 institutions concluded that the median return on investment--the amount of money invested in fundraising vs. incoming revenue--fell 23 percent in 2009 from $4.63 to $3.57. For cash donations, median ROI fell 17 percent to $3.26.

"The recession's impact and duration were felt more strongly in the U.S. than in Canada, where healthcare philanthropy tended to advance slightly or at least hold its own despite lower levels of government support," said AHP CEO William McGinly, Ph.D. "U.S. non-profit hospitals, however, often struggled just to keep giving levels steady, and some saw declines."

However, donations from hospital physicians and physician groups jumped up, averaging $5,000 in 2009, vs. $3,000 in 2008. Major gifts from individuals of $10,000 or more accounted for 55 percent of all gift-giving, up 7 percent from 2008.

"The constant message that shines through the data is that organizations that best survived last year's worsening economy were those who persevered by keeping sufficient staff and resources to maintain well-rounded philanthropic opportunities and programs," McGinly said.

For more:
- read the AHP press release
- read the Healthcare Finance News article