Health Literacy

How Do You Develop a Successful Healthcare Philantrhopy Effort

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Healthcare is among the most important services we can provide for each other, but unfortunately, healthcare funding in America is not always at levels we’d prefer. One way that hospitals look to fill in the gaps in their funding needs is to turn to charitable donations.

Philanthropic efforts cover a great deal of valuable services at hospitals. From helping with the purchase of expensive machines to covering costs for disadvantaged patients in need of expensive care, a well-funded healthcare charity can make a massive difference in the world. In order to have a successful philanthropic endeavor it’s necessary to prepare thoroughly so that you have the strongest possible foundation to build off of.

Assess Your Needs

Before you can begin raising funds you need to know what you are raising them for. Conduct an audit of the needs of the hospitals or organizations you are looking to help provide funding for. Determine not just what they are currently doing but also what they wish they could be doing if they had the right funding.

This audit serves two purposes which both benefit your end results. First, knowing exactly what you are trying to raise money for allows you to set reasonable goals for success so that you know the extent of the challenge you are facing. In addition to laying out targets, this assessment provides you with the building blocks for your pitch by providing the individuals reaching out to donors with a list of the positive benefits their donations will contribute to.

Find Your Prospective Donors

After establishing what you’re raising money for you can begin scouting out your prospective donors. There are many different types of donors and often each has their own needs when being pitched. Some useful potential donors to pursue include patients and families of patients who had successful treatments at the hospital or for the condition for which you are raising funds; healthcare workers, including practicing physicians, hotel staff, administrators and board members; outside organizations including small businesses, major corporations and other charitable foundations.

It’s often best to pursue all of these donor types to varying degrees, placing additional focus on the groups most likely to be able to provide positive fundraising results.

Set Your Fundraising Standards

One of the unique issues facing fundraisers for healthcare related philanthropy is the complicated issue of patient confidentiality. While the right anecdote can mean the difference between getting a big donation and getting a brush off, you should always value the patient’s privacy first. Best practice is to follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations, and to only share additional information if given the explicit consent of the parties involved.

Reach Out to Partners

Getting donations can mean more than just directly receiving cash offerings. The best philanthropic drives are rarely solo efforts. One of the most effective ways to improve your results is to get one or more corporate partners to team up and offer assistance. Finding philanthropists in powerful organizations with a strong interest in healthcare provides an opportunity to team up with these organizations to expand your reach. Greater reach means a greater opportunity to find new donors and raise more money for your charitable efforts.

Encourage Participation

If your philanthropic effort revolves around funding for a specific hospital or healthcare network, mobilizing workers within the organization is an easy way to produce better results. Employees can speak on the need for the money you’re raising with honest stories from the job, and knowing that the cause is close to their lives helps to get the maximum effort out of those working for the cause.

Get Organized Early

When a charitable organization gets going and starts to grow it can be easy for things to spiral out of control if you allow small details to slip in the beginning. It’s vitally important that you create structures before launching your formal fundraising and that you continue to adhere to them throughout the process. While changes to procedure as you learn and grow are fine, stress the importance of sticking to the current procedure as it is defined to ensure nothing slips through the cracks and that all information is tracked the same way.

Keep Records

Sometimes the most important jobs are not the most glamorous, and nowhere is that more true than in record keeping. Detailed records are an administrator’s best friend. Keeping information on all of your prospective donors, as well as all of your prior donors from the past, lets your organization build its list and also benefits your donors by making it possible to recover information on their donations should they need the information and fail to keep their own records.


Working to increase funding for healthcare is a worthwhile goal. From helping to fund revolutionary new treatments to ensuring that even those without deep pockets can get life-saving care, you can truly make a difference with your philanthropic work. When you follow the above principles you position your charitable organization for the best chances of success in this noble aim.

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Danuta Smoluk is a teacher with over three decades of experience teaching both children and adults. She specializes in teaching the Polish language to English-speakers. She has a master's degree in primary and early childhood education from WSP Słupsk (currently Pomeranian University in Słupsk) and had her degree validated by University of Toronto. Aside from education, she also has an interest in real estate and home improvement. She has planned and supervised many house renovations. She loves interior design, cooking, and gardening.

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