Doctor listening to patient's heartbeat while nurse takes note.

Five Steps to Grateful Patient Fundraising Success

Your patients and their families are grateful for your compassionate and excellent care. They want to show their gratitude through giving. That’s why the most vital best practice in healthcare fundraising is the Grateful Patient Program – a systematic strategy to engage patients in supporting your doctors and your mission.

Five Strategies for a Best-in-Class
Grateful Patient Program

To set realistic fundraising revenue goals and decide on the initiatives to propose, you should evaluate your Grateful Patient Program for these five strategies. And make needed enhancements.

1. Build a pipeline of patient prospects segmented by capacity, affinity, and likelihood.

With hundreds or even thousands of patients coming through your doors, you need the ability to focus on connecting with the patient prospects who:

  • Have the financial capacity to make a significant gift.
  • Have the greatest affinity for your organization, a specific physician, or care area.
  • Are likely to be philanthropic.

These individuals should be assigned to a fundraiser and/or clinician portfolio for direct engagement.

Tip for enhancement:

Screen your patient census on a regular basis to identify prospects with wealth and a history of giving.

2. Set SMART Goals.

Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals that track progress over time and highlight areas for growth or challenges to overcome.  Some key measurements are:

  • Increase/decrease in the number of donors 
  • Increase/decrease in dollars raised
  • Potential donors identified 

Tips for Enhancement:

  • Generate reports that measure fundraising KPIs with data from your CRM.
  • Screen your patient base to determine your overall fundraising potential.

3. Have plans to act fast.

Patient gratitude begins to decrease as soon as they leave the hospital or have their last doctor visit.  You should plan to communicate and engage with grateful patient appeals within 2 weeks of their last contact. 

4. Be sure you have a solid Culture of Philanthropy.

Healthcare organizations should have a strong Culture of Philanthropy. That means your organization as a whole–meaning everyone from the president to doctors to volunteers–should understand the impact of philanthropy on the strength of your organization. When they embrace the importance of support, they will all serve as ambassadors for your mission when they interact with patients and patient families.

How to Evaluate:

  • Have in-person conversations with as many administrators, doctors, nurses, and staff to gauge their knowledge of fundraising.
  • Send electronic surveys to get more feedback.

Tips for Enhancement:

  • Set up brief training events and provide materials that convey the value of philanthropy and the critical role that each staff member plays in your success.
  • Give your “ambassadors” talking points for conversations they have with patient prospects.

5. Provide Comprehensive Training to Your Grateful Patient “Ambassadors”.

Train all staff on the value and progress of the program.  This will give them a sense of ownership around grateful patient giving. 

Tip for Enhancement.

Schedule “goodwill tours” where fundraisers have short (10 minutes) informal conversations with the clinical staff at all levels where they talk about fundraising.

With these five strategies, you will accelerate the success of your Grateful Patient Program. 
AND, if you’re new to patient fundraising, download our Grateful Patient Program eguide to build your own!


DonorSearch Ai for Healthcare applies the industry’s most advanced AI/machine learning algorithm to synthesize your CRM and EMR data with DonorSearch data and deliver highly predictive propensity rankings and a data visualization tool to identify prospects by their patient experience.  

Want to learn more about DonorSearch Ai?  Click GET a DEMO below.


Additional Resources

Microphone in the background with a profile picture of Lisa Greer

Philanthropy Revolutionary

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