Originally published in the October 23, 2015 AHP Connect
The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented by Heather Procaccino, CFRE, director of development and major gifts at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, Pa.
How integrated is your foundation into the rest of your health care organization? Do the doctors, nurses and other staff understand what you do? Heather Procaccino found out the hard way that her colleagues did not see the connection.
Every time a patient enters your health care organization, it creates an opportunity for your colleagues to increase the success of your development efforts. Is your health care staff prepared for these encounters? Do they understand their role in what you do? Have you laid the ground work by engaging, educating and communicating the impact of philanthropy?
When Heather tried to meet with a donor who also was a patient, nurses and doctors eyed her with suspicion—even though she identified herself. Below, she discusses how she overcame this issue and helped to build a relationship between the foundation and the medical center that benefits everyone.
Starting from scratch
Realizing the doctors and nurses on staff were either not aware of the foundation or viewed it with distrust, her first goal was to dispel their misperceptions about fundraising and philanthropy. It was important for front line staff to understand that philanthropy is ultimately about the patients. In the end, funds raised for the health care organization are used to improve lives.
It’s just as important to build good relationships with health care executives. Heather found that the leadership at her medical center also needed to be better educated about the foundation. For example, the foundation was not present at executive meetings, so the vice president of the foundation worked to get a seat at the table.
Communicating value and demonstrating success
Heather suggests using money, metrics and meaning to demonstrate and communicate your value to the health care organization.
It’s critical to let your senior team know how much money you raise and the impact it has on the bottom line. Explain the metrics you use to define success. A good metric to use is return on investment (ROI) says Heather, since it relates to the financial statements of the hospital.