AHP Connect Articles

AHP Connect delivers updates on industry news and research, educational and professional opportunities, best practices and other articles related to health care philanthropy.

CEO Corner: Marketing Best Practices We Can Use in Health Care Fundraising

Alice Ayres, MBA
Published:  05/23/2019

I had the great pleasure of participating in AHP’s 2019 Convene Canada, held in Toronto last week. There were so many wonderful highlights – an opening keynote by The Unstoppable Tracy Schmitt, Ted Garrard’s keynote and the tour of SickKids, KCI’s “The Ask” podcast on volunteer engagement, and an incredible closing keynote by Dr. Danielle Martin, who has taken the world by storm with her perspective on how health care must change.

In many education sessions across the two days, I was struck by how many marketing and sales best practices from other sectors are making their way into conversations among philanthropy leaders. Among them:

  1. Know your customer, or in our case, donor. Spend time with them to better understand them and their interests. Get out of the office and hear what they worry about and care about. Don’t ask them to “buy” but rather listen so you really understand them.
  2. Create donor “personas.” What are the common themes you hear from your donors? What stage of life are they in? Do they have kids? Do they have parents? What else are they thinking about? Who else do they give to? This helps you to customize stories, project pitches and update your stewardship plans.
  3. Create donor “journey maps.” What is your first interaction with your donors? What are your subsequent interactions with them? What moves their engagement from introduction to real interest in your organization? From interest to a gift?
  4. Meet your donor where they are. Do they prefer LinkedIn or Facebook? Direct mail or email? Events or one-on-one meetings? Develop a plan that is customized to their comfort.

So much of this data is widely available thanks to the digital lifestyle we all live. This offers us the ability to have true conversations with our donors in a way that was first articulated to the business world in the break-out hit “The Cluetrain Manifesto” by David Weinberger and Rick Levine, originally published in 2000 but still relevant as ever. It is a great read if you have not already encountered it.

At AHP, we will be developing more content on these topics, starting with a session I will lead in conjunction with Mike Beall, principal consultant and communication practice leader for Accordant Philanthropy, at the AHP Madison Institute this summer. I’d love to hear your thoughts – as always, I can be reached at alice@ahp.org.

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Meet The Author

Alice Ayres
Alice Ayres, MBA
President and CEO
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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