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Fundraising for a nonprofit healthcare organization should be easy. What nobler cause is there than fighting childhood cancer? Who wouldn’t want to donate to the Red Cross or the American Heart Association? Isn’t curing debilitating diseases a goal everyone wants to support?
Of course it is. And yet, when you work in healthcare fundraising, raising awareness for your cause can prove challenging, especially when it is one of many noble causes looking for donations. It may seem impossible to find the right donors in a vast sea of prospects.
Thankfully we’ve worked with countless nonprofit healthcare organizations to find and retain donors, and we take pride in making this essential task easier. Here are our best tips.
You already have a worthy cause, now you must find and engage prospective donors. Fundraising for healthcare organizations means setting specific goals, crafting a compelling story built around personal narratives, and leveraging technology to promote your cause. Whenever possible, choose partners and fundraising events than align with your core value: the health and wellbeing of others.
You want donors to invest in your cause, both financially and emotionally. To achieve this, share your long-term vision and fundraising goals. Be certain your goals are specific, measurable and achievable, and give examples of how a donor’s contributions will be used. Is the hospital building a new children’s wing? Will donations fund new equipment or medical research? Are you raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness month? It may be worth consulting healthcare philanthropy trends to see what is successful when crafting your pitch.
Once you have a clear fundraising goal, you can use it to define your target audience and target ask. Now you can decide whether to crowdfund or approach major donors, to hold a fundraising event or look for a corporate partner. No matter who you are approaching, remember that the most impactful stories are personal. Donors want to know how their contributions are making a difference in the lives of real people.
Whenever possible, share inspiring stories of patients and physicians. Did the cancer treatments a patient received at your hospital save their life? Did their physician offer empathy and support that went beyond traditional care? Before sharing, always be certain you have permission and are acting in accordance with HIPAA.
MORE: 5 Ways a Nonprofit Can Improve Engagement With Potential Donors
Understanding your donor base is important when fundraising for health industries. Many donors may have a personal connection to your cause, whether they are a former patient or close to a current or former patient. Be sure to segment your donor base so you always know who you’re reaching out to. First time donors may require extra attention to secure their contribution, while lapsed donors might be willing to fill out a survey to reengage. Donors who are former patients should always be spoken to with care.
When fundraising in the healthcare sector, a grateful patients program or memorial donations are an effective way to engage your networks. These allow people who have had a positive experience with your organization to show their appreciation. If you do choose to fundraise this way, HIPAA and data privacy compliance should always be top of mind.
Every donation is meaningful, from five dollars to five hundred dollars. The more intentional you can be with your communications and the more you can tailor them to your specific segments of your donor base, the more likely you are to yield desired results.
With online giving on the rise, it’s important to make donating to your cause easy and accessible for everyone. Create a simple, eye-catching online donation form. Be certain it’s prominently displayed on your web site in both mobile and desktop formats. Customize the giving ladder to turn one-time donors into recurring donors. Then use online fundraising platforms to organize donor’s information and maintain those relationships for years to come.
Social media is an incredible tool for building awareness for your cause. Use Instagram or Facebook posts to drive prospective donors to that online donation form, via specific calls to action. Did your hospital just hold a 5K walk or run? Post photos and ask those who couldn’t attend to contribute. The “Movember” campaign, when men grow mustaches during the month of November, is the perfect example of utilizing social media to raise awareness and donations for a specific cause. People learn about issues that effect men’s health, contribute, and have fun in the process. Besides, who doesn’t love a goofy mustache photo?
When appropriate, consider utilizing text fundraising for more specific, urgent needs. For example, during the pandemic, some hospitals asked for donations for PPE via text, often in smaller increments like five dollars to cover the costs of N95 masks. Text fundraising can be incredibly effective in emergency situations.
The bottom line: If you work in fundraising right now, you have a virtual toolbox at your disposal. There are so many different ways to attract prospective donors. Create an intuitive, easy to navigate donation platform, then use social media to draw prospective donors in. In emergency situations, text fundraising may be the fastest and most efficient way to engage your network.
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Health fundraising organizations like the American Heart Association or the American Breast Cancer Foundation often host events like a 5K walk or run. These fundraisers are popular because the focus is on health, and participant’s share their personal experiences to engage their networks and raise money on your behalf. There is perhaps no better advocate for your cause than a survivor, or someone whose parent or spouse is battling the disease.
Hosting an event like a 5K can be expensive, so consider approaching corporate sponsors for donations first. Use that initial capital along with registration fees to fund custom merchandise, banners, tee shirts or any other expenses you might incur. Proudly advertise your corporate sponsors on everything from your web site to your concession stand.
For smaller fundraising events, engage your local community. You’ll be surprised by how many small business owners are willing to support your cause. Don’t underestimate the value of in-kind donations. A catering company or fitness studio that can’t afford a sponsorship might be willing to lend you folding tables or a speaker system for the event.
For significant fundraising goals, you must identify high-potential donor prospects and understand what their capacity and interest in giving is. This is where using an online research tool like Nexis for Development Professionals® is crucial. You can be confident you’re not missing any important news or information, as we offer the most comprehensive set of data points out there, giving you a full picture of a donor prospect.
Once you’ve chosen which high-potential donors to partner with, ask for large donations to achieve a specific goal (funding for medical research or fundraising for healthcare facilities, for example). Approach the CEO and other board members about making their own individual donations. While a large, one-time corporate donation from a major donor is a huge win, consider asking for matching donations in addition or as an alternative.
When major donors commit to either an employee match or a fundraiser to hit a specific goal (matching all donations up to $100,000), it’s an opportunity to build awareness and engage a wider network. Your supporters will be especially motivated to give knowing they will double their impact.
Research and apply for grants to increase funding. You can also approach corporations with a sponsorship request letter to see if they’d partner with you. When deciding who to approach, consider industries that are adjacent to yours, or corporations who frequently give in the nonprofit healthcare sector. To make this easier, Nexis for Development Professionals can help you uncover connections to your cause through interests, donor bios or geographic regions.
MORE: Top 3 Ways to Improve Donor Engagement and Boost Donations
Fundraising is about building and maintaining relationships, and there’s no better way to do that than by showing donors how much you appreciate them. Follow up on donations with a handwritten thank you note or a phone call from a member of the board. When you reach your fundraising goals, whether it be hitting a certain target or ending a campaign like Movember, be sure to broadcast your achievements across all your social media platforms so your network can celebrate with you. But most importantly, build on your momentum by continuing to engage your community.
In the healthcare sector, finding the right donors can be challenging, especially when there are many different companies that could be interested in partnerships. Using an online research tool like Nexis for Development Professionals® will help you identify high-potential donor prospects. Uncover companies, board members, and executives and be strategic with your asks to increase your donations. Schedule your free demo today.