How to build a successful hospital fundraising campaign

A science- and art-based philanthropy helped Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota quintuple its fundraising and exceed its goals for its primary campaign, the architects of the initiative wrote in H&HN Daily.

The hospital system brought in $168.7 million in philanthropic gifts between 2007 and 2013, exceeding its initial goal by 13 percent and increasing annual fundraising beyond its typical $4 million to $5 million per year, according to the article. The gifts helped finance a $300 million renovation and expansion.

In the article, authors Theresa Pesch, R.N., president of the hospital system's foundation, and Michael Ciresi, chair of the foundation's board of directors, described their "science and art" fundraising approach.

The science involves "aligning with organizational priorities, forming a major gift leadership structure, and establishing a methodical donor engagement process that can be highly customized," they wrote. That customization includes building an individualized donor engagement plan for major donors involving "extraordinary experiences," plans for soliciting funds, and celebrations of gifts.

The art "is what allows organizations to build deeper, more effective relationships with potential major donors" that last throughout the donor's life and recognize when a donor is "asking to create more than a transactional gift."

Studies released earlier this year by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy found that hospitals that continued investing in their fundraising arms achieved significantly better results than those that cut fundraising resources. High performers also give donors individual attention, keep them informed about how the organization spent their money, and develop a robust mix of ongoing philanthropy and government funding sources rather than relying on a large annual campaign.

In addition to using social media to cultivate large donors, hospitals increasingly use platforms like an online gift catalog in which donors can help purchase specific pieces of equipment.

For more information:
- read the article