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From breast cancer awareness and physical therapy to everything in between, it seems everyone has a personal stake in healthcare philanthropy.

In fact, these sentimental connections are often what your hospital’s fundraising team taps into while seeking the funds you need to grow healthcare philanthropy.

But how can you earn a donor’s support without coming across as insensitive or putting your healthcare fundraising team in uncomfortable positions?

While this is a difficult tightrope to walk, keep in mind that your hospital staff is already used to handling delicate medical topics with care. Therefore, it only makes sense to apply the same tactful practices to your healthcare fundraising efforts.

To achieve a happy medium between patient care and ethical fundraising, always consider these healthcare philanthropy best practices first:

  1. Determine your healthcare philanthropy development strategy.
  2. Research your fundraising prospects for healthcare philanthropy.
  3. Equip fundraising leaders with healthcare philanthropy tools.
  4. Segment your healthcare philanthropy donor data.
  5. Prioritize stewardship for healthcare philanthropy donors.
  6. Strengthen your hospital’s annual fund for healthcare philanthropy.
  7. Keep HIPAA’s healthcare philanthropy policies in front of mind.

By following these philanthropic measures, your healthcare fundraising team can maximize donations while establishing trust with staff and patients.

Your healthcare philanthropy development strategy should reflect your hospital's fundraising needs.

1. Determine Your Healthcare Philanthropy Development Strategy

In order to promote more healthcare philanthropy feats, your hospital’s fundraising goals should stem from your overall development strategy.

That’s why before targeting prospects, your team should take the time to review your hospital’s most pressing areas of need and overarching ambitions to frame your fundraising strategy.

For instance, if your medical institution is striving to build a cancer research program, your healthcare fundraising team should center your fundraising tactics around that goal through a capital campaign, fundraising event, or tailored solicitation strategy.

A case for support can help you illustrate how certain fundraising projects will fit your healthcare facility’s needs and goals.

While each case for support differs depending on the organization’s fundraising plans, a few key items to always address include:

  • Your medical facility’s mission and origin story, including the need for your mission and how you’ve impacted it so far.
  • The need for your healthcare fundraising project as well as proposed challenges and solutions.
  • The specific details, expenses, and budget for your fundraising project.
  • The long-term benefits of your fundraising project and impending donor stewardship.

Your healthcare fundraising team should also run ideas past your executive director and development committee to gain as much insight into the project as possible.

Once you’ve compiled all the necessary information, your fundraising team can then provide branded copies of your case for support to donors and board members for review. In return, your supporters can provide vital feedback on how best to proceed with your healthcare fundraising initiatives.

Rest assured, if you still have concerns about pursuing your latest healthcare fundraising idea, you can always recruit a fundraising consultant to assess your case for support and help conduct a feasibility study to guarantee success.

Takeaway: Craft your healthcare fundraising game plan by analyzing your hospital’s critical needs and constructing a killer case for support.

Cast a wide net while researching your fundraising prospects for healthcare philanthropy.

2. Research Your Fundraising Prospects for Healthcare Philanthropy

Similar to running your hospital’s day-to-day operations, healthcare fundraising affects a diverse group of people all with a unique means of supporting healthcare philanthropy.

Therefore, it’s important for your healthcare fundraising team to cast a wide net when it comes to researching healthcare prospects. These individuals can include anyone with a personal or professional tie to your hospital and it’s mission such as:

  • Grateful patients
  • Physicians
  • Hospital employees
  • Board members
  • Hospital administration
  • Family and community members
  • Corporations
  • Foundations

Taking the time to perform prospect research — and hone in on specific healthcare connections — will help hospitals determine their most promising donors by uncovering information to better cultivate them.

To filter through healthcare prospects faster, your medical facility can even rely on an efficient prospect research tool to help customize donor profiles.

Prospect research tools are one of many vital prospect screening services that lay out key donor information for you to utilize in growing healthcare philanthropy relationships.

While using prospect screening tools, make sure your fundraising team pays special attention to these top giving factors statistically proven for prospect research success:

  • Past Giving — Donors who have given $10k – $25k to a nonprofit are 10 times more likely to make a charitable donation elsewhere than the average person.
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC) Charitable Contributions — Donors who have given over $2,500 in FEC and charitable giving are 14 times more likely to make a philanthropic donation than the average person.
  • Real Estate Ownership — Donors that own $2+ million in real estate are 17 times more likely to make a charitable contribution than the average person.

On top of these concrete identifiers, you can also look into each healthcare prospect’s preferred giving methods and other hospital or medical networking connections.

Takeaway: Ensure your hospital’s fundraising team reaches out to all possible healthcare philanthropy prospects with prospect research tools.

Get the entire hospital involved with your healthcare philanthropy fundraising goals.

3. Equip Fundraising Leaders With Healthcare Philanthropy Tools

Contrary to some belief, your hospital’s fundraising team is not an island when it comes to seeking donations and advancing healthcare philanthropy.

In fact, to achieve optimal healthcare fundraising, your hospital administration and development officials must work together and share fundraising priorities.

Altogether, your healthcare fundraising team should encompass a range of these contributors:

  • Fundraising development committee — This team is responsible for coordinating capital and annual campaigns, soliciting gifts, and obtaining corporate sponsorship.
  • Major and planned gift officers — These leaders conduct prospect research, organize your donor management system, cultivate donor relationships, and promote healthcare fundraising opportunities.
  • Hospital administration — Enlist their support for building grateful patient programs and fundraising initiatives.

Due to their one-on-one time with patients, doctors and nurses are also key players in providing explicit next steps for patients interested in giving to your hospital’s foundation or grateful patient program.

Finally, hospital employees should be informed of opportunities to contribute to fundraising campaigns, such as with payroll deductions or assisting with specific events.

For example, the Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation offers physician and senior staff to take part in their Caduceus Society donor memberships and giving levels.

Baylor Scott & White Central Texas Foundation offers physician and senior staff to take part in donor memberships and giving levels.

These members are also rewarded for their contributions with fun benefits like donor recognition at respective hospitals, membership certificates, and an honorary dinner.

Takeaway: Prepare your hospital’s healthcare fundraising team by providing them with tools and services for encouraging giving, soliciting, and other fundraising support.

Segment your healthcare philanthropy donor data to send tailored fundraising communications.

4. Segment Your Healthcare Philanthropy Donor Data

As you well know, healthcare fundraising will likely accrue diverse gifts and with that a diverse crowd of donors — and that’s fantastic! But how can you make sure you’re targeting the right donor audience with giving information most valuable to them?

The answer lies in facilitating donor segmentation within your medical institution’s donor management software.

By investing in a versatile and heavy-duty nonprofit CRM software, your hospital can classify donors based on a variety of giving factors like:

  • Type of supporter (donor, volunteer, or board member)
  • Donor status (first-time, recurring, or major or planned gift contributor)
  • Preferred giving method (online donation forms, text-to-give, etc.)
  • Past giving or advocacy to healthcare organizations and causes
  • Personal connections to specific healthcare concerns

These categories will help you send tailored communications to better peak your constituents’ interests such as fundraising event promotions and ways to get involved with your mission.

Prospect research can also be a big help with donor segmentation because it can quickly and efficiently narrow down personal giving attributes for every healthcare donor.

Prospect research can help with donor segmentation by narrowing down healthcare donors' personal giving attributes.

Furthermore, your healthcare fundraising team should set aside time to clean and analyze your donor data by:

  • Updating donor information
  • Getting rid of inactive accounts
  • Deleting duplicate profiles

This practice is especially important if your hospital performs daily patient screenings to keep your prospect data as up-to-the-minute as possible.

Takeaway: Segmenting your donor data can help you develop personalized fundraising strategies for winning over grateful patients and donors.

Prioritize stewarding your healthcare philanthropy donors to grow relationships and encourage more gifts.

5. Prioritize Stewardship for Healthcare Philanthropy Donors

Since healthcare fundraising is often driven by people who have been personally affected, donor stewardship is even more vital for retaining loyal supporters.

Donor stewardship helps to ensure that your most valued healthcare donors are being recognized and thanked in an appropriate amount of time. This can be done by applying effective stewardship tactics like:

  • Processing gifts and sending receipts quickly to let donors know you’ve received their contribution.
  • Telling stories that illustrate how a donor’s gift has directly influenced a healthcare fundraising project or community.
  • Creating giving societies that donors can join to receive perks like healthcare fundraising event merchandise and more.
  • Hosting fun stewardship events to thank donors in person for their heartfelt contributions.

In addition, your healthcare donors should feel individually acknowledged for their gift and the lasting impact it has on your fundraising needs. While a personalized thank-you note is always a good call, try exploring other methods of expressing your gratitude towards healthcare donors as well.

For instance, major and planned donors could receive tours of your hospital or engraved bricks to appropriately thank them for their gifts. While thanking your donors, take note to not ask them for more donations in the moment.

If your healthcare facility doesn’t have one already, set up an in-depth donor stewardship program to help your fundraising team move donors down the appreciation pipeline accordingly.

For a complete breakdown on donor stewardship best practices, check out Qgiv’s ultimate guide!

Takeaway: By stewarding your healthcare donors in personal and memorable ways, your medical institution stands a better chance of retaining supporters and encouraging more gifts.

Cultivating a strong annual fund will help your hospital invest in more specific healthcare philanthropy goals later.

6. Strengthen Your Hospital’s Annual Fund for Healthcare Philanthropy

Annual funds can be tricky for hospitals because donors are more likely to give to a distinct cause with a clear healthcare philanthropy goal.

However, a strong annual fund can spell out success for larger healthcare fundraising endeavors down the road like capital campaigns.

While there are several directions your fundraising team can go in to beef up your annual fund (see DonorSearch’s 21 actionable strategies), many healthcare facilities take inspiration from these key tactics:

  • Encouraging physicians and grateful patients to donate life insurance and other planned gifts with tailored resources.
  • Creating and marketing a branded online donation form.
  • Applying payroll deductions to healthcare employees.
  • Using segmented data to coordinate outreach with healthcare prospects.

Not to mention, fundraising events can always be counted on to drum up support from regular contributors, like employees and grateful patients.

Take a look at how Mercy Medical Center organizes a traditional fundraising event every year for the sole purpose of boosting their annual fund:

Mercy Medical Center organizes a traditional fundraising event every year to boost their annual fund.

Above all, having a steady annual fund in place can help your medical institution distribute aid to areas in need — equipment upgrades, staffing changes, facility renovations, etc. — throughout the year as well as fall back on during fundraising dry spells.

Takeaway: Cultivating a reliable annual fund will give your healthcare facility a financial cushion for aiding specific fundraising goals in the future.

Keep HIPAA in mind when asking for healthcare philanthropy donations or patient medical data.

7. Keep HIPAA’s Healthcare Philanthropy Policies at Front of Mind

As we established from the get-go, healthcare philanthropy can sometimes put patients and members of your fundraising team in awkward positions when it comes to requesting donations.

That’s why our number one tip for ethical healthcare fundraising is to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) at all times when promoting healthcare fundraising.

In short, HIPAA protects a patient’s medical records and healthcare information from being used in healthcare fundraising without their expressed consent.

Although there are several patient factors that a hospital’s fundraising team can use without permission, the top protected health information (PHI) that HIPAA defends against include:

  • A patient’s diagnosis
  • A patient’s medical treatment
  • A patient’s nature of service

In order to utilize this crucial donor data for fundraising, your medical institution must receive written authorization from the patient in question. You should also be prepared in case a patient decides to withdraw their consent from a previous agreement with your hospital.

Luckily, most hospitals will have legal teams to ensure that all healthcare fundraising members are clear on HIPAA guidelines, which are subject to change. Regardless, your fundraising team should also make the effort to familiarize themselves with the legal protocol on their own.

Takeaway: HIPAA should always be at the forefront of your healthcare fundraising team’s focus when asking for donations or confidential donor data.


It’s no secret that healthcare philanthropy most likely holds a place in everyone’s heart due to the universal need for strong patient care services.

By bearing in mind these ethical tips, your hospital can rock healthcare fundraising while respecting all individuals involved in the process.

Discover more grade-A healthcare fundraising and prospect research assistance with our top additional resources:

Build a solid foundation for your healthcare fundraising with a wealth screening demo from DonorSearch!

7 Healthcare Philanthropy Tips to Ensure Ethical Fundraising