Originally published in the June 10, 2016 AHP Connect
The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented March 16, 2016, by Jessica Harrington, president of the Harrington Agency, and Michael J. Burton, associate vice president of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Office of Institutional Advancement.
The current array of digital outlets presents both opportunities and challenges for health care philanthropy.
At the very time we are witnessing significant changes in how and why donors give, new approaches are arriving on the scene to reach out, inform, engage, involve and solicit their largess. From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and beyond, it can seem daunting to decide which channels to choose.
Jessica Harrington and Michael Burton offer a data-driven approach to selecting the most appropriate channels of communication to enhance annual giving.
All too often, they say, annual giving programs are stuck in the doldrums of routine practices (such as reliance on direct mail) that are inefficient and fail to foster a sense of community between donors and the institutions they support.
A new approach
Harrington and Burton suggest a new paradigm for philanthropy—modifying the standard giving pyramid and capping it with an inverted engagement pyramid to form an hourglass. The upper portion depicts the progression from initial awareness (e.g., of a hospital’s mission) through more involved stages of understanding and commitment.
Where the pyramids converge, the fully-engaged individual becomes a donor (the point of “conversion”) and is ready to embark through the levels of giving from “renewal” through planned giving. Along the way “ambassadors” (donors who have become champions of the cause) help to spread the word and encourage others to join in.
Judicious use of new channels of communication can greatly advance this process and help potential donors connect with your institution. However, annual giving programs need adequate capacity to take advantage of these channels and achieve the best return on investment. Facebook, for example, may be a great way to increase awareness of your institution’s mission, but not for getting donations.
How to choose