Hire More Fundraising Rain-Makers During Recession, New AHP Study Concludes
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2009 — As the recession's grip tightened on nonprofit hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. and Canada, high performing philanthropic fundraisers in charge of major gifts and planned giving programs were often their most effective and efficient rain-makers, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).
These and other important findings come from the latest series of reports from the AHP Performance Benchmarking Service for fiscal year 2007, which takes in the early months of the current recession. The AHP's annual surveys examine the performance of organizations, such as hospital-affiliated foundations, that raise funds for nonprofit health care facilities.
"Health care executives and boards should think twice before downsizing their fundraising staff and mix of fundraising activities to cope with the recession," said AHP President and CEO William McGinly. "The data confirm that such cost-cutting would be penny-wise but dollar-foolish, because hospital services and daily operations need philanthropic support. Rising joblessness is challenging nonprofit hospitals and health care systems to find the wherewithal to deal with growing numbers of uninsured patients while they cope with inadequate reimbursements and accelerating expenses."
One bright spot came from major gifts given by individual contributors, which averaged $55,000 per gift. The highest performing fundraising organizations put stronger, longer-term emphasis on cultivating major gifts, investing on average three times more than other surveyed organizations but earning five times more in high-dollar gifts.
"Developing major gifts and planned giving is the type of fundraising that calls upon the skills of the most seasoned professionals," said AHP Board Chair Lisa Hillman, senior vice president and chief development officer for the Anne Arundel Health System based in Annapolis, Md. "It takes experienced and talented major gift and planned giving officers to build crucial relationships with donors that result in significant support for the institutions they represent."