By donorsearch

Annual Giving: Prospects and Approaches

For most nonprofits, annual giving campaigns generate the highest number of gifts though major giving campaigns can provide more total revenue. Annual giving campaigns can generate loyalty as well as revenue, and are flexible and relatively cost-effective. Certain philanthropy and wealth markers can predict the best prospects for annual giving campaigns, including previous giving, giving to other nonprofits, high dollar real estate ownership, and other factors. Because annual giving and major giving campaigns have different goals, strategies, and resources, both can be managed concurrently:

Annual Giving Defined

Annual gifts are gifts solicited and given on a regular, on-going basis, and are typically unrestricted (that is, available to a nonprofit for any use). Some organizations conduct a campaign annually, some quarterly, and some follow a different schedule. Unlike a capital campaign, which is typically a campaign to raise funds for a specific, tangible goal (new equipment, new facility, new program), or a major giving campaign, which cultivates only large gifts, an annual giving campaign concentrates on generating a large number of smaller gifts. Usually, funds from annual giving campaigns are used for day-to-day operations, paying debts, and other ongoing budgetary needs. For many nonprofits, annual giving represents the majority of gifts received, surpassing the number of gifts received from major and planned givers and events.

Benefits of Annual Giving

  • Donations are normally unrestricted and can be used for any purpose
  • Campaigns can be conducted at any time
  • Prospects can be segmented, and multiple strategies can be used to involve board members, staffers, and volunteers
  • Campaigns offer opportunities for ongoing communications with prospects
  • Annual campaigns build donor loyalty
  • Annual campaigns are the best introduction to the nonprofit for a new donor
  • Income is relatively predictable in terms of amount and timing
  • Pledges and other strategies can provide an ongoing revenue stream
  • Campaigns can be easily modified at any time

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By DonorSearch

Prospect Research for Religious Organizations

Fundraising is not a passive activity. Just like any other nonprofit, religious organizations need to get active and call prospects, host events, and engage donors in order to raise the funds that allow them to operate at full capacity. To boost your church fundraising efforts, we’ll answer:
  1. Why do faith-based organizations need prospect research?
  2. How is prospect screening unique for faith-based organizations?
  3. Who should you focus on?
  4. When should you screen?
  5. Where to do screenings?
  6. What are the benefits of screening?
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Why do faith-based organizations need prospect research?

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By donorsearch

Four Ways Universities or Colleges Use Prospect Research

Extravagant dorms attract new students, superior educational opportunities keep upperclassmen satisfied, and guest speakers provide students with unique experiences as only a place of higher learning can deliver. None of that can be accomplished without funding. Every college or university needs to fundraise to have enough money to give students the best educational experience possible. Fundraising is hard work. The business of convincing prospects to donate is a long game of building relationships and convincing people that their money will do a lot to improve your school. To be successful at fundraising, in general, colleges and universities need the tools that make fundraising easier, such as prospect research. There are many ways that prospect research makes fundraising easier for higher education institutions. We’re here to share four of the best strategies.  

1) Identify more major gift prospects

While prospect research can aid a bevy of fundraising efforts, the primary goal is to help fundraisers identify more major gift prospects. Small donations matter, especially when you consider that most major gift donors will begin by giving lesser amounts, but it is the big gifts that consistently lead to fundraising success. More often, a few major gifts are what lead to a fundraising campaign reaching its goal, as opposed to a large amount of smaller gifts carrying the load. Major gift prospects can be identified by a number of data points that you can find through prospect research.  

Past giving to your college or university

Some parents or alumni may have already donated to your school. When donors give consistently, they stand out as exceptional candidates to be converted into major gift donors. They care about your school and already give on a regular basis. Receiving bigger gifts may merely be a matter of time. Don’t rush the process, but always be on the lookout for when and how to approach loyal donors to give more. Many of your alumni aren’t current donors, and that’s okay. It’s never too late to get them started. Also, prospect research helps colleges and universities to identify which prospects have given to other nonprofits. Donations to other organizations are great indicators of a prospect’s desire to give philanthropically. Individuals who donate between $5k – $10k are five times more likely than the average person to donate elsewhere. Your prospects might not give to you yet, but they give to the causes they care about, and you can be the next cause to deserve a big donation.  

Current state of the alumni relationship

Whereas museums have members, and hospitals have patients, higher education institutions have years’ worth of alumni to reach out to for donations. No matter where people live, they permanently retain their bond to your school. However, different alumni are better to approach at various times. Your school has dedicated prospects, which could be approached at any time, and timely prospects, who are better to speak with at particular times. Dedicated prospects show signs of commitment to your school. Maybe the alumnus regularly attends public events on campus, goes to alumni events, or his/her child elected to go to your school and has continued a legacy. Prospect research can help to unearth records that demonstrate who remains actively engaged with your school and may want to give back in a big way. Timely prospects include the current class of graduates and alumni classes with reunions that year. Whenever a particular occasion pops up to reach out to a certain group of alumni, your fundraisers should take advantage. Some people might not typically consider giving to your school, but a big event, such as a 25th graduation anniversary, can provide the focus necessary to sway prospects.  

Causes that prospects care about

While unrestricted funds are typically preferred, sometimes the way to land prospects is by asking them to give restricted funds to specific campus initiatives. Alumni are a diverse bunch. They’re athletes, artists, and business professionals. They graduated with varying degrees and after having participated in a broad range of extracurricular activities. Play to their interests when requesting donations. A former swimmer might want to give a major gift to the swim team, but not to the school as a whole. A creative writing major might like to donate to the department on behalf of a particular professor. Gifts to Greek life are another popular way for donors to give a major gift to the cause they care about most on campus. Use prospect research to help identify alumni with strong ties to specific communities within your school and who exhibit the indicators of people willing and wanting to donate in a big way.  

 2) Develop more personal relationships

People can tell when they’re receiving automated messages. While your fundraisers don’t have the time to handwrite letters or personally craft individual emails for every prospect, altering a few sentences to make communications more personal can do wonders. To craft more personal communications, schools need to learn more about their donor pools. Thanks to prospect research, you’ll learn tons about donors, including:
  • Real estate ownership — Wealth markers help university fundraisers understand a prospect’s capacity to give. Real estate is one such wealth marker, and all signs of wealth can be analyzed to determine ask amounts that are tailored to individuals.
  • Business affiliations — Knowing where parents and alumni work, as well as the specific jobs they do, can help fundraisers. Knowing what people do for a living is an easy way to start a conversation and to know right off the bat what people think about on a daily basis, so you know how to approach them.
  • Personal information — Congratulations! You’ve found a major gift prospect. What’s the problem now? You can’t reach her because you have the wrong phone number and an outdated email address? Don’t waste time or miss out on good prospects because your donor database is filled with old information. Prospect research can provide updated contact information to make staying in touch with donors a breeze.
Parents and alumni want to feel like you know them. Impersonal fundraising appeals won’t resonate with most people. Take the time to learn about your prospects and reach out to them with appeals that let them know that you know who they are and that they mean more to you than just another donation.  

3) Manage your fundraising budget

Prospect research is affordable, and typically provides more than a return on your investment. If you don’t leave money in the budget for prospect research then you’re probably leaving money on the table. What’s more, university major gift officers need prospect research to perform their work as efficiently and effectively as possible. You don’t want major gift officers wasting time and resources on prospects who can’t or won’t give major gifts. Prospect research not only allows fundraisers to quickly identify major gift prospects, but it allows them to approach more of them in less time and with personal pitches that can leave memorable impressions. Reduce your research time, get detailed donor information fast (and info that’s easy to use!), and gain new insights into your prospect pool while receiving a great value for your money spent.  

4) Equip fundraisers with powerful tools

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By donorsearch

Planned Giving: Identifying Prospects

Planned giving prospects demonstrate significantly different wealth and philanthropy characteristics from major gift prospects. Traditional wealth markers, such as value of real estate, are not accurate indicators of planned giving. The philanthropic activities, such as significant political giving and prior major gifts, that are strong predictors of future major gift philanthropy, are also not accurate indicators of planned giving. The key factors in identifying planned giving prospects are loyalty to the nonprofit, as evidenced by the number and frequency (not the dollar amount) of gifts, and the age of the prospects. This article will not differentiate between gifts given before death and gifts given at death. There is currently no methodology to predict what type of planned giving program will most appeal to any specific donor. The information in this article is applicable to all types of planned giving, including bequests, trusts and other planned giving vehicles.

Planned Giving: A Significant and Growing Source of Revenue

According to Giving USA, in 2011 giving by bequest increased by 12.2% to $24.41 billion over 2010. The Council for Aid to Education (CAE)’s Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey shows that the 10 biggest higher education fundraisers received 10.5-31.1% of their gifts from planned giving from 2005 to 2010. Because age is a significant factor in identifying planned giving prospects, aging trends can help predict future giving trends. As of 2010, only one state (Florida) had over 17% of its population over the age of 65, and 26 other states reported that 13.1-17% of their population was over 65, according to the US Census Bureau. By 2030, the same study predicted that all but four states would have 17+% of its citizens aged 65 or older.

Key Trends in Planned Giving

Often, planned giving involves two factors: a desire to support an organization, cause or mission, and an unwillingness or inability to provide a significant gift in the present. Much of that unwillingness to donate today is driven by fear, uncertainty, and doubt about financial security. According to a 2011 survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 57.4% of older Americans are somewhat to much less confident that their income will remain steady, while only 5.6% predicted their income would increase. For planned giving, which asks donors to promise a future gift that will cost them nothing now, this is good news. Donors can support nonprofits in the future without jeopardizing their present financial circumstances. A second significant trend, a 2009 survey by the Hartford Financial Services Group, shows that 76% of Americans ages 50+ support charitable causes, compared to 60% for Americans ages 49 and younger. As Baby Boomers age, Giving USA expects non-bequest giving to flatten, while bequest giving increases. View more prospect research statistics.

Wealth and Planned Giving

While wealth is not the most significant predictor of planned giving, the likelihood of a planned gift rises with the size of an estate. According to IRS data as reported in Giving USA 2012, 4-5% of all Americans leave a charitable bequest in their will, but that percentage is significantly higher for those that leave larger estates: In fact, for estates large enough to file estate tax returns and their giving histories, charitable bequests far exceed lifetime giving. According to David Joulfaian, a U.S. Dept. of the Treasury economist/researcher, a study of 11 years of IRS data concluded that charitable bequests exceeded donors’ total lifetime charitable giving by 2.74 times. Development officers who’ve seen large bequests given by donors whose lifetime donations were much smaller will not be surprised by that statistic. Development officers will also not be surprised to learn that giving by bequests has risen much faster than the general level of giving. According to Giving USA 2012, total estimated charitable giving by individuals rose by 4.0% from 2010 to 2011, while giving by bequests rose by 12.2% during the same period. One more significant fact: 78% of planned giving donors gave 15 or more gifts to the nonprofits named in their wills during their lifetimes, according to a survey by and the CAE VSE survey. Learn more about the limits of wealth screening.

Understanding the Differences Between Planned Gifts and Major Gifts

The methodologies that effectively identify planned giving and major gift prospects vary, with six of the eight methodologies DonorSearch routinely uses differing significantly between the two groups of prospects: Screening methodologies that are effective at finding major gift (and, by extension, capital campaign and annual giving) prospects cannot accurately identify planned giving prospects. Married couples, for example, are much more likely to give major gifts than single adults. However, there is no evidence to show that widows, widowers, and adults who are divorced or never married are more or less likely to include planned giving in their estate planning. Learn more about major gift prospects.

Planned Giving and Major Gift Markers

The markers that identify planned giving and major gift prospects also show significant variations:

DonorSearch Planned Giving Prospect Identification (PGPID)

Because the engagement strategy for planned giving prospects can be lengthy, and development office resources must be used as efficiently as possible, identifying the strongest planned giving prospects is critical. DonorSearch has developed a specialized prospect research tool, Planned Giving Prospect Identification (PGPID), to more accurately find planned giving prospects. In a project for a major university, PGPID identified 2,259 planned giving prospects based on loyalty, which was 9.5% of the total file which included 23,827 records. Using a proprietary process that classified every record with a rating of A (most promising) through G, the results made a planned giving program much more manageable for the university: Loyalty ratings can be overlaid with location (by state), age, wealth, known philanthropy or other factors, for further analysis and action. Planned giving is a significant and growing source of gifts for nonprofits of all types. Identifying and cultivating planned giving prospects efficiently can ensure future income for nonprofits of all sizes. If you’re new to planned giving or want to learn more about how planned giving can boost your fundraising then contact DonorSearch for a free demo today.  

By donorsearch

Four Strategies to Find New Donors in Your City or State

The Earth has 196,940,000 square miles of total surface area, and, unless you have a teleportation device, your fundraising team can’t cover it all. The most convenient place to look for new donors is on your street, around the corner, and other places within your city or state. As with those who desire fresh vegetables, it’s best to stay local to get what you want. Unlike fresh vegetables, money won’t conveniently spring up from the ground. You need to be proactive to get new donors. Proactive as in don’t just jump through hoops. Jump through rings of fire to land where new donors live. And don’t merely take the long road. Dare to trek across frozen tundras in order to find greener pastures. Don’t think that finding new donors will always be difficult, but do realize that donor acquisition takes both decisive action and a dedication to reaching for new opportunities. To get your nonprofit started, here are four strategies to find new donors in your area:

1) Leverage the Connections of Your Board Members

Board members have connections to other philanthropically inclined and wealthy individuals. Ask your donating board members for the names of people who might be interested in your organization. This is a way to gather prospects without putting in hours of work or paying for an outside entity to conduct research. One strategy is to ask board members for donor suggestions during your next board meeting. Put your board members on the spot and ask them to suggest five connections who might be interested in your mission. Many nonprofits view acquiring new donors as reaching out to strangers, but obtaining more donors could be as simple as having a conversation with someone you already know.

2) Ask Loyal Donors to Point You Towards New Donors

Consistent donors may know other people who might be interested in your nonprofit, and all you have to do is ask for names. In addition to requesting names, you can ask loyal donors for referrals, which can work in two ways:
  1. New prospects contact you — Loyal donors tell their friends about your nonprofit through word of mouth and encourage new prospects to get in touch with you. After the prospects call, you can conduct the relevant prospect research to see if they’re high-quality major gift prospects.
  2. Loyal donors provide introductions to new prospects — You can’t always trust new prospects to contact you, so you’ll usually need to be the proactive one. However, you can receive an assist from your loyal donors. Ask for introductions to the new people who might be interested in your nonprofit. Personal introductions can help to ensure that new prospects will be receptive to opening dialogues, and your initial connections will be more intimate thanks to your mutual friends.
As you can see, it’s essential to take advantage of who you already know in order to meet new major gift prospects.

3) Look at the Annual Reports of Similar Nonprofits

Look for other nonprofits with similar causes. People are interested in particular nonprofits for a reason, and if your cause relates to a mission that donors already support then you stand a chance of convincing donors to also give to your nonprofit. Individuals who have made a gift of $5k-$10k are 5 times more likely than the average person to donate to another nonprofit. That donors that have given to other nonprofits are better than completely new donors, and you stand the best chance with donors who support missions such as yours. When you employ prospect research tools, such as DonorSearch’s Gift Search tool, it’s easy to find donor lists. Gift Search allows you to:
  • View the causes and organizations that donors support
  • Filter donations by state, year, amount, and other criteria
  • Access annual reports where donations are named

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By DonorSearch

Prospect Research for Greek Organizations

Many young people have a stereotyped vision of college that not only includes, but mandates, fraternities and sororities. While some colleges thrive without prominent Greek scenes, fraternities and sororities add personality and school spirit to school identities. They are organizations aimed at helping young people to develop into intelligent, rational, involved citizens. Greek organizations need to fundraise to keep providing students with vibrant, enriching social experiences. Thanks to prospect research, fundraising is made a little easier. Let’s walk through a few components of prospect research for fraternities and sororities:
  1. Why Greek organizations need prospect research
  2. How prospect research is different for Greek organizations
  3. Who to screen in your prospect research
  4. How to screen prospects for your Greek organization
  5. When to screen for prospective donors
Nonprofits and other organizations of all sizes regularly use prospect research to identify their next big supporters. Your fraternity or sorority should be doing the same at every stage from recruitment to alumni management! Let’s dive in:

1. Why Greek organizations need prospect research

Membership fees only go so far. Fraternities and sororities have houses to maintain, events to host, and various other expenses. Like other nonprofits, budgets need to be balanced in order for these organizations to run at full capacity. Greek organizations are social communities, but they’re also complicated enterprises with many moving parts. Fraternity and sorority financial management is an important component of the health of your chapter! While donations of all sizes can help, major gifts provide significant sums that can help fundraising campaigns succeed. Finding new major gift prospects is tough work, but it gets easier when you have prospect research to reveal the philanthropic and wealth indicators that matter. Download our free white paper on Major Giving: Prospects and Approaches for more context.

2. How prospect research is different for Greek organizations

Hospitals have patients that come and go. Museums have members that have to renew after certain amounts of time. Greek organizations have massive alumni bases from which they can find new major gift prospects. The beauty of a Greek organization’s prospect pool is that alumni are alumni for a lifetime. Just like for universities, this permanent prospect pool allows fraternities and sororities to be more patient with fundraising. Urgency is a must, but not everyone has to be researched at the same time. Prospects can be segmented into groups and researched in intervals. The ability to break donors up into categories helps Greek organizations tackle vast prospect pools. Recent graduates are unlikely to give, and even if they do their donations tend to be minimal. Knowing the time since graduation and the depth of affiliation of alumni with your Greek organization allows you to pick out people to research who are more apt to give large sums. Prospect research will also help to find information on when people give, so you can pitch to people at the appropriate time of year. Learn more prospect research fundraising strategies.

3. Who to screen in your prospect research

Not everyone is a major gift prospect, and you can waste a lot of time and money conducting research on every alumnus. A large piece of successful prospect research is planning before conducting any research. A good research plan details:
  • The indicators you’ll be looking for in a major gift prospect
  • How much time and money will be allocated to obtaining information on any one prospect
  • Strategies to store and share prospect research
  • How you’ll approach prospects once they’re identified
Not all alumni are dedicated alumni. Likewise, people lose touch with the organization and their commitments wane. It’s up to you to find the alumni who hold their Greek experience in high regard and wish to promote the experience for future generations. Fraternities and sororities should combine prospect research with known levels of engagement with their organizations:
  • Was the prospect actively engaged in the fraternity or sorority?
  • Was the prospect a president or governing board member of the organization?
  • How many years was the prospect a part of the organization?
People with stronger ties tend to have higher affinities to give back to Greek organizations. Whether a prospect was highly engaged in your Greek organization or not, many brothers and sisters already donate to various nonprofits, while others have both the means and will to give, but have yet to donate. Prospect research helps to find these people, so you can initiate the prospect development process and begin conversations about major philanthropy. One easy first step might be to screen a long list of initial prospects. Learn how to conduct a bulk screening to gather data on 2,000+ prospects at once.

4. How to screen prospects for your Greek organization

How to screen prospects includes what to look for and the methods to obtain your desired data. What you’re looking for is not merely wealthy alumni. Money matters, but philanthropic indicators, such as previous giving to both your Greek organization and other nonprofits, are better indicators of future giving. Of course, combining philanthropic data with wealth markers is the optimal approach, as the best major gift prospects have not just the affinities to give, but the capacities to give, too. To conduct prospect research, there are three common approaches: Do it yourself Prospect research consultant Prospect screening company

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By DonorSearch

Milwaukee Film, Social Media, and Donor Engagement

DonorSearch’s blog is dedicated to covering prospect screening and other fundraising-related topics but sometimes we like to highlight interesting examples of donor engagement. So we reached out to Sarah Bernstein of Philanthrodata and Jessica Bursi of Milwaukee Film to give us insight into how Milwaukee Film engages with their donors through social media. Last year, during Thanksgiving week, Milwaukee Film embarked on a Twitter campaign to steward their donors, sponsors, and volunteers. But it was their approach to this stewardship which got my attention. Full disclosure: I am not (yet) a donor to Milwaukee Film. I follow them on Twitter because I was a film major in college, and a Milwaukeean. However, this Twitter campaign excited me as a prospect researcher. Milwaukee Film is the nonprofit organizer of the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, but their mission statement shows that they are driven by a deep love for our city, and the people in it:
Film can entertain, educate, and empower. It can bring change on levels both intimate and epic. And it’s at its best as a communal viewing experience, with the best possible sound and projection. As a nonprofit cultural institution, Milwaukee Film has made it our mission to communicate all of this to the city that we love, in a way that is both true and unique to Milwaukee.
As a prospect researcher, I was struck by the way Milwaukee Film’s Thanksgiving tweets showed remarkable insight into their donors and what makes them tick. So I highlighted some of their tweets on my blog. However, as time went on, and discussion about social media ethics heated up in the prospect research community, I wanted to know more. I was particularly interested in knowing more about how Milwaukee Film gained their knowledge about their donors and how they used social media to engage with prospects and build a fundraising constituency. I was especially interested because they are a small local grassroots organization, without the level of staffing in prospect development and social media that universities typically have. So I contacted their development director, Jessica Bursi, and we had a lively conversation. The transcript below follows that conversation and some questions which I had later.

Sarah: Last Thanksgiving, Milwaukee Film undertook a remarkably donor-centric stewardship campaign on Twitter. How did that come about?

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By donorsearch

5 Best Practices for Grateful Patient Programs

Ice cream is a great thing, but it’s even better when mixed with your favorite toppings. In life, great things can always be improved, and you should never settle for anything less than the next determined progression towards your desired perfection. Of course, perfection is impossible, but just like plain vanilla ice cream turns into a fun sundae thanks to the addition of whipped cream and jimmies, you can improve your Grateful Patient Program by implementing best practices that can help the program to turn a corner. From how frequently to implement prospect research to solicitation plans to how to use major gift officers, we’ll show you how to go from starting a Grateful Patient Program to making it as effective as possible in order to yield a program so efficient that you’ll swear you can taste the goodness.

1) Conduct prospect research through our Daily Patient Screening service

Prospect research is the spotlight that shines upon the prospects who can deliver big gifts to your organization. Not everyone can be a major gift donor, and prospect research ensures that you focus valuable fundraising resources on your most generous donors. When you conduct prospect research with DonorSearch, you receive in-depth data on your list of patients, including:
  • Past philanthropy (both to your organization and other nonprofits)
  • Insights into the causes and organizations that the donor supports
  • Political giving
  • Ask amounts based on philanthropy and wealth
  • Corporate and nonprofit involvement
  • Real estate ownership
  • SEC insider stock transactions
Having all of this data is one thing, having it organized is another, and being able to interpret the information in a timely manner is yet another thing entirely. DonorSearch provides three scoring systems to make it easy to identify major gift prospects at a glance. The scores include our proprietary DS rating, along with a quality score, and a RFM score.

2) Entrust major gift officers

With the major gift prospects identified from your screened list, it’s time to assign them to specific gift officers. Gift officers will save you from having to punt on prospects by solving the tough questions, such as:
  • Why does this prospect do very little philanthropic giving despite a large capacity to give?
  • Has the prospect been incorrectly approached about donating?
  • Has the prospect not found the proper cause to support?
  • Has the prospect not been convinced of the value of a donation?
Patients can be split up according to what works best for your organization, but it’s good to prioritize certain types of donors to the gift officers who handle those people best. Types of donors include patients who are current major donors, patients who could do much more philanthropy than they presently do, and wealthy patients who have yet to give. Fundraising is a long game, but gift officers armed with prospect research can make it a whole lot easier.

3) Gain the support of hospital leadership

Grateful Patient Programs can’t succeed, or begin in the first place, without the support of several hospital departments. You need to get everyone on board with the mission of your Grateful Patient Program, as your program will struggle to succeed without the proper leadership and support. Present the potential revenue increase to hospital executive leadership. However, a pitch focused on money may not do the trick, and it may be necessary to enlist the support of board members to convince the executive leadership and other hospital administrators of the importance of such a program. If departments are concerned about how they’ll be affected by a Grateful Patient Program then focus on how you’ll work hard to make the implementation of the program as smooth and as positive of an experience as possible. Make sure to connect with the people who support your efforts, as they can help to convince the doubters to get on board. Once you have the executive leadership on board, it will be easier to gather support from other hospital departments. A major concern among doctors in regards to Grateful Patient Programs is gift officers visiting patients. You’ll want to address those concerns early and often, as a Grateful Patient Program will struggle to succeed with reluctant doctors. Select a group of supportive doctors and nurses to serve as program ambassadors. These people will address the concerns of more hesitant personnel and ensure that fundraising efforts have minimal impact upon the medical staff.

4) Implement a solicitation plan

From letters to emails to phone calls to in-person visits, it requires a team effort to convince a prospect to commit to a big donation. So strap on your boots and get to work, because, while statistics can be used to skew the odds in your favor, fundraising can be an unpredictable pursuit that should be tailored to the individual prospect. You’re competing against many other nonprofits, both hospitals and other organizations, for the limited funds that any donor is willing to give. You need to be timely, precise, and enthusiastic about all of your donation pitches. To stay on top of who you’ve solicited and who you have yet to contact, you should:
  • Track proposals in your donor database — Each prospect should have an individualized proposal that includes: ask amount, anticipated gift date, and the purpose for the gift. Update the proposal at each stage of the solicitation process: research, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • File contact reports — Report all phone calls, visits, and correspondences of any kind with the prospect. You want to know what you’ve done in order to determine the best next steps.
  • Conduct frequent prospect management meetings — Meet with fundraisers and other hospital staff involved with the Grateful Patient Program to ensure that operations are running smoothly and prospects are moving through the solicitation pipeline. New prospects and requests for more prospect research can be presented at this time.
Typically, actual solicitation does not begin until the patient leaves the hospital, but donors vary and it’s up to you to decide when it’s best to begin the asking process. There’s a vast array of fundraising strategies to employ, but always keep in mind that solicitation plans are really just guidelines, and every donor requires an individualized game plan.

5) Track and measure your program

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By donorsearch

Fundraising with a Grateful Patient Program

Your healthcare organization has limited resources, and it’s important to use them efficiently. There are only so many doctors with so much time to spread out among all of your patients in order to provide the best possible experiences. When patients receive exemplary care, they’re more apt to give back to your organization. Healthcare organizations with Grateful Patient Programs have chosen to raise funds from a select group of willing donors. All donors matter, but Grateful Patient Programs focus on the prospects who can give gifts large enough to purchase new equipment, update facilities, and cover other pricey expenses. Organizations must be strategic about identifying major donors, as time is of the essence, and gifts that can make big differences for healthcare organizations could slip through their fingers if they’re not efficient about finding willing, generous donors with the most to give.

Daily Patient Screening

Grateful Patient Programs are a unique form of fundraising in that patients are always coming and going. You have constant influxes of new patients and discharges, and it can be hard to identify them all as either potential donors or not. Prospect research efficiently identifies the major gift prospects among your patients. This saves your gift officers time, so they can devote more effort to soliciting donors. The Daily Patient Screening service is DonorSearch’s solution to this problem. DonorSearch’s screening service identifies the best prospective donors while they are still in your facility or while their positive experiences remain fresh on their minds after discharge. DonorSearch will return in-depth wealth and philanthropic information about each donor, so you can pinpoint your strongest prospects at the best times to start relationships. The Daily Patient Screening service is optimal for Grateful Patient Programs, but DonorSearch will work according to the scheduling needs of your organization. With prospect research in hand, your staff can dedicate extra attention and service to the patients from which you stand to benefit the most. Learn more Grateful Patient Program best practices.

Who Should Not Be Targeted

While prospect research reveals major gift donors, you can save both time and money by knowing which patients not to submit for prospect screenings. These are patients whose circumstances clearly dictate that they do not have the means to give a significant gift:
  • Patients on Medicaid
  • Self-paying patients
  • Pediatric patients (under 18)
  • Young adults
  • Patients who have opted out of fundraising communications per HIPAA guidelines

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By donorsearch

How to Start a Grateful Patient Program

Hospitals save lives by providing care that positively impacts the lives of both patients and their families, and work doesn’t get much more personal than that. That makes it sound like grateful donations should simply fall into your organization’s lap, but fundraising is not that simple. While nonprofit hospitals provide intimate care, many struggle to grow personally close to patients. While repairing torn muscles and curing mysterious pains lets your patients keep working hard, you need assistance, too. For nonprofit hospitals, donations are vital for improving hospital services. Improvements include:
  • Updating facilities
  • Purchasing better equipment
  • Talent acquisition
  • Increased marketing efforts
Fundraising success almost always requires a dedicated strategy, and creating a Grateful Patient Program is one of the best fundraising decisions that your healthcare organization could make.

Staff Needed to Operate a Grateful Patient Program

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