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AHP Connect Member Profile - Jaime Weller-Lafavor

Jaime Weller-Lafavor
Published:  06/22/2017
Originally published in the June 2017 AHP Connect.

Director of Development
St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Henderson, Nevada

Why our foundation is special

Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican just celebrated its 70th anniversary. Weller- Lafavor says the foundation is an “extension of the mission of our hospital,” which “is to further the work of the sisters...that heritage piece [is] what makes us really special. And we still work with the sisters here, which is amazing.” There are currently eight Adrian Dominican Sisters residing in the southern Nevada, with two in senior leadership positions.

What I love about my work

Weller-Lafavor has been at St. Rose Dominican for eight years, starting as a grant manager and working through annual giving and more recently major gifts. In addition to fundraising and supervising the Foundation’s grant program, she is also response for marketing and communications. Weller-Lafavor enjoys “communicating the impact...collecting stories about why donors give and how those donations have an impact.”

How we get the message across

Right now, Weller-Lafavor is developing a donor communications piece called “Gratitude,” which will focus on expressing thanks. The foundation is refocusing their efforts on telling their stories to show donors how they can advance various health care initiatives. “We’re moving away from traditional direct mail because we’ve seen a decrease in performance. However, we have seen a return on newsletters,” she says, which will be a combination of print and electronic format. “We’re being conservative with our resources. Part of our mission is to be good stewards of our natural environment. We have to be multi- channel on this, being responsive to how donors want to receive communication.”

What we’re focusing on right now

St. Rose Dominican is ramping up its efforts in major gifts that align with the strategic priorities of the hospital. The hospital system is currently expanding into southern Nevada, which, even though it’s the home of the Las Vegas strip, has multiple medical deserts. The hospital system plans to “decompress the congestion in emergency rooms” with four new facilities, as well as “co-locate it with community health” opportunities and community outreach, which include “services centers for people who have chronic diseases” and so forth. A recent communication piece about this initiative used messaging about continuity of care and ensuring that the community has “the resources they need to manage or improve their condition so they won’t be readmitted to the hospital or back in the emergency room. We believe that be providing these resource, the overall cost of health care will reduce.” So far, the overall effort to develop major gifts is proving successful!

How we started an employee giving campaign

Weller-Lafavor rebranded the Health Foundation’s employee giving campaign in 2012. “One of the challenges you have in a healthcare environment is that the care providers are keeping focused on providing care for the patients and often not aware that [the hospital is] a charity.” The idea was to build awareness among staff members that they “can give where they work. The campaign was necessary because many don’t make the connection because they’re so overwhelmed by everything they have to do.” Once the connection is made, however, employees become an important member of the development process. “When they’re hearing gratitude statements from patients and families, they can say, ‘I give, you might want to give, too,’ an important part of the patient referral process.”

Another important component of the campaign was moving away from contests such as “give and be entered to win an Xbox” and instead “moving towards the internal expression of being thankful for working here.” Still going five years later, the effort receives gifts from $1 a paycheck to hundreds of dollars a paycheck. Weller-Lafavor says, “It’s astounding to see the generosity of the people who work here.” Eventually, they’d like to move into an employee-led campaign, “where the employees can rally behind it,” but they are making sure they have the correct timing for that type of effort.

View the 2016 St. Rose iGive Employee Giving donor stories and donor list.

My advice for starting your own employee giving campaign

“It’s really creating that relationship with influencers, the ones who are well-liked by their peers but who are also donors. We engage them and ask them to be our ambassadors [and ask them to] tell people why they give. That influencer is so, so important because they’re a peer. Having that person who is inside, known, liked, and respected is key.”

Why I’ve attended five AHP Madison Institute tracks

“That’s an amazing experience. The only [tracks] I haven’t done are Fundamentals and Advanced Major Gifts! Madison is such a completely different experience and so in line with the way I like to learn. The relationships you create are enduring. I’m kind of an AHP Madison junkie. Every track I’ve taken there have been just amazing. It’s so awesome to put yourself in an immersive learning experience with your peers and just get away. It’s the opportunity to unwind and focus, and it gives you some ‘Aha!’ moments, some things that you can take back and research, or take back and implement, and some pie in the sky things. And you meet a really wide scale of people.”

Meet The Author

jaime weller-lafavor
Jaime Weller-Lafavor
Director of Development
St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation

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