The key to hospital fundraising success in the wake of COVID-19
As a result of COVID-19, hospitals limited, and in many cases eliminated, elective and routine surgeries. This is huge problem, because that’s where hospitals make a significant portion of their revenues.
Most hospitals have started doing surgeries again, and that’s a good thing. But many hospitals were hurt financially and will take some time to recover.
So if you’re a hospital gift officer, what to do?
You’re probably working from home. And you’re no longer traveling the halls of the hospital like you used to. Some might tell you that you should “pause” your fundraising efforts. But now is not the time to coast. You’re needed now more than ever.
Physician partners are the critical link to your fundraising success. That’s true in good times and bad.
Physician partners are your connection to grateful patients who want to make a difference, and they’re also a bridge to others who may have a close connection to their work.
You rely on your physicians for prospect referrals and leads, and it’s more important than ever to continue to cultivate close relationships with those physicians.
Maybe they were on the front lines during the pandemic, maybe not. Either way they are feeling the range of human emotions during this time just like the rest of us. They crave connection. Call them, talk with them, write them a note of encouragement. A good relationship with your physician partners pays dividends—for you, the physician, your hospital, and ultimately your community.
No doubt you are already reaching out to the donors who are currently in your portfolio. You’re stewarding them as all good gift officers do.
But don’t let your new leads grow cold. Many institutions have prohibited gift officers from in-person visits with donors and prospective donors. If that’s the case for you and you won’t be securing personal visits any time soon, then call them, write them a note, or send a short video sharing who you are and why you would like to connect with them. Consider using online tools like Zoom and Skype. You will ignore leads at your peril. Right now, up your game and use every tool in the toolbox.
How many calls do you make each day? Here’s a radical idea: commit to doubling it. Then again, if you’re a high-performing gift officer, that’s not so radical anyway—but especially now, it’s time to do more.
Make your donor calls. Inquire about their health and safety, and ask if there’s anything you can help them with—just as you would for a member of your own family. And be prepared to give an update on what’s happening at the hospital. Share stories of how others are helping. Listen to them—and qualify them.
People care. They want to be connected, and they want to help. Give them a reason to do so. Establish the relationship so when the time is right, your efforts offer an opportunity for donors to make an impact.
The idea here is that you need to keep your portfolio warm and growing—regardless if you’re able to see prospective donors in person or not. Keep your current donors connected, and continue to grow your new connections.
If you have a good relationship with your physician partners, they are depending on you to guide their efforts to secure gifts and expand their impact. You’ve already gained their trust, so now, give them a task to do. They await your direction.
Have your physician partners call or send a note to your current and prospective donors. Remember, these are not fundraising calls and notes. They are check-ins to keep the relationship warm. Make it easy for your physicians. Give them talking points on what to say on a phone call. Draft a letter for them to personalize. Donors and prospective donors will be delighted when they hear from their physician.
This activity strengthens the physician-patient relationship and enhances your ability to raise more money.
Physicians are busy people, but when you show value, you build trust. Your relationship becomes invaluable to accomplishing your hospital’s mission, improving patient care, and helping physicians reach their own goals for improving and extending lives.
Donors come first, and through their relationship with the physician, you can provide opportunities for them to give back and connect them deeply with the mission of your institution.
Keep your physician relationships going—they’re your biggest source of new leads. Find ways to continue your cultivation and prospecting—and commit to elevating your efforts. And as you have success there, give your physicians a task and make it easy for them. As you support them, they will support you, and together you will realize the hospital’s fundraising goals while improving and extending lives.
As a fundraiser, you make things happen—don’t let up, even now.
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