Earlier this week, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) released its annual giving report for 2010. Despite the current economy, the results show that U.S. non-profit hospitals and health care systems collectively raised more than $8.3 billion last year – an 8% increase from 2009. This means that $620 million more was raised year-over-year. The $8.3 billion raised in 2010 is the third best year ever for healthcare fundraising and the 8% growth rate over last year’s totals was the healthiest increase since 2006.
The results show a few interesting trends:
- Individual donors still contributed nearly 60% of the total dollars raised. It confirms that an emphasis on approaching people (rather than foundations or corporations) should remain as the top priority.
- Annual giving was the largest source of funds raised (20.0%), followed by major gifts (17.1%), capital campaigns (15.4%), special events (15.4%) and planned gifts (9.5%). Maintaining and cultivating relationships with donors over their life cycle – from annual giving, to major gifts, to planned gifts – still yields the best results.
- Funds were used for construction and renovation projects (22%), new equipment (20%), general operations (17%) and community benefit programs (11%). Having a compelling case for support (whether for new facilities, important health programs, or community outreach) is still one of the main determining factors in giving.
- The greatest fundraising success was seen by hospitals associated with academic institutions, children’s hospitals, and those organizations with at least 15 years of proven success. Organizationally, hospitals with at least four professional fundraisers on staff also saw the greatest gains.
Most healthcare fundraisers are pleased with the results and hopeful for the future. While it was generally expected that the economic recovery would bring about higher giving levels in 2010, most recognize that we still have yet to rebound to pre-recession giving levels.
Also of note, the costs of raising money have increased over the last three years and many organizations have seen a falling rate of return on their fundraising investment (ROI). The cost to raise a dollar was approximately $0.33 in FY2010, which is just slightly higher than the $0.32 from the previous year.
All in all, the report shows that donors still regard healthcare as one of the most important priorities in their philanthropic giving and that a stabilizing economy enables donors to start giving again and sometimes at higher levels. Hopefully, these trends will continue and healthcare philanthropy will grow next year to surpass its previous successes.