Glossary of Terms

Guide to definitions and financial terms used in the Report on Giving survey and report

Organization Information

Academic medical center: An organization with a medical school and at least one university-based hospital.

Behavioral health facility: An organization whose primary goal is to provide psychiatric services for the diagnosis and treatment of people with mental illnesses, although physicians may be available to treat other medical conditions.

Campaign: A series of fundraising efforts that are set within a specific time limit, with a specific beginning and end spanning multiple years, which generally has a named purpose, scope, and set dollar goal.

Centralized: A structure in which each individual fundraising entity within a healthcare system operates and is coordinated through a centralized (or regionalized) philanthropy office.

Children's hospital: A healthcare facility that provides inpatient beds, continuous nursing services and an organized medical staff providing diagnosis and treatment for a variety of diseases and disorders specifically related to children.

Community hospital: A healthcare facility supporting non-federal, short-term general, and other special hospitals.

Decentralized: A structure in which each individual fundraising entity within a healthcare system operates with little or no centralized (or regionalized) philanthropy office support.

Fiscal year:
 Any 12-month corporate accounting period.

Healthcare system (System): Group of hospitals or other healthcare entities that are organized under and/or are affiliated with a corporate umbrella structure.

Home care/hospice facility: A program offering palliative care, chiefly medical relief of pain and supportive services, addressing the emotional, social, financial and legal needs of terminally ill patients and their families.

Hybrid: A structure in which a centralized (or regionalized) philanthropy office offers and provides either a limited or wide array of specialized support services to individual fundraising entities within the healthcare system. The services offered and provided may exist in varying degrees (e.g., limited services to all or almost all individual fundraising entities, complete services to just a few individual fundraising entities, etc.).

Net patient revenue (NPR): In the United States, the aggregate money generated from patient services collected from payers, including private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. The calculation for NPR is the total patient revenues minus patient discounts.

Non-system-affiliated philanthropy department: A fundraising entity which is not a separate legal entity, but, rather, is simply a department of the hospital(s)/system it supports, and which is not affiliated with a larger system including other fundraising entities.

Non-system-affiliated foundation: A fundraising entity which is a separate legal entity from the hospital(s)/system it supports, and which is not affiliated with a larger system including other fundraising entities.

Safety net hospital: A healthcare entity whose primary goal is to provide healthcare to patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Single healthcare entity: Either a stand-alone facility or a facility within a healthcare system for which there is an organized fundraising program. For the Report on Giving survey, this includes academic medical centers, behavioral health facilities, children's hospitals, community hospitals, and home care/hospice facilities.

System-affiliated philanthropy department:
A fundraising entity which is not a separate legal entity, but, rather, is simply a department of the hospital(s)/system it supports, and which is affiliated with a larger system including other fundraising entities.

System-affiliated foundation: A fundraising entity which is a separate legal entity from the hospital(s)/system it supports, and which is affiliated with a larger system including other fundraising entities.

Gift Revenue

Annual gift: Gift of less than $10,000 from an individual. Do not include gifts of less than $10,000 from other donor constituency types (e.g., corporations, businesses, foundations, governmental agencies).

Corporation/business donor: Business donor, whether incorporated or not, and whether organized as a for-profit or as a not-for-profit.

Corporate/business gift or grant: Charitable gift or grant of any size made by corporations, businesses, and corporate foundations. Exclude corporate sponsorship of special events, as those are reported as special event gifts. Corporations include for-profit organizations, as well as not-for-profit organizations such as churches, schools, civic groups, professional associations, United Way, Children’s Miracle Network, Canada Helps.

Foundation gift or grant: Charitable gift or grant of any size maybe by private family foundations, community foundations, general purpose foundations, and independent foundations established as a not-for-profit corporation or a charitable trust, with a principal aim of making grants to unrelated organizations or to individuals, for charitable purposes. For benchmarking, this broad definition encompasses all foundation types, except corporate foundations which are reported as corporate/business gifts.

Governmental grant: Dollars from any governmental agency that the philanthropy function was responsible for raising. Include grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements when the beneficiary of the grant’s work is the organization and not the donor.

Individual donor: Person who makes financial contributions to the organization. This constituency is considered as one for the purpose of the Report on Giving but may also be broken down into sub-categories (e.g., grateful patients, major donors, annual donors, planned gift donors).

Letter of intent: Document indicating a revocable or conditional intent to make a gift to an organization at some future time that contains a clause that allows the donor to cancel or alter the terms of the pledge under any or certain conditions, or makes payments conditional upon future events. If the chance is only remote that a stated condition will not be met, this is not considered a condition. Letters of Intent are reported as production revenue, not recorded revenue, since these are not recordable per GAAP accounting rules.

Major gift: Gift from an individual valued at $10,000 or greater. Do not include gifts from individuals that are made as part of a planned gift or in response to a special event, as these are reported as planned gifts or special event gifts.

Planned gift: A gift, usually of significant size, made with forethought about the benefit to the organization and the financial planning implications to the donor. Planned gifts often are equated with deferred gifts (in which a commitment is made today but the funds are not available to the organization until a later time) such as bequests, life insurance policy beneficiary designations, gifts of residual interests such as charitable remainder trusts, or other similar arrangements.

Pledge: A written promise to make a future gift. Irrevocable pledges are reported as recorded revenue at the time the pledge is made. Revocable pledges are reported as production revenue at the time the pledge is made.

Production revenue: Includes recorded revenue plus revocable, written deferred gifts that are not yet recordable per GAAP due to revocability and/or conditions on the gift (such as conditional pledges or revocable bequests) to allow the gift to be recorded for financial statement purposes.

Recorded revenue: All irrevocable outright and irrevocable written deferred gifts received during the reporting year made in any form, such as cash and securities, non-cash gifts such as personal and real property, unconditional pledges, or irrevocable bequests.

Special event gift: Gift of any value made via any event sponsored by the organization, held for the purpose of raising money, building awareness of the organization, and expanding constituencies. For benchmarking purposes, special events are divided into three main categories: Highly structured events (e.g., galas, dinners, balls, fashion shows); sporting events (e.g., golf, tennis); and large-scale community-based events (seeking broad public participation; e.g., runs/walks). Include all gross special event income, such as ticket sales, auction receipts, corporate sponsorships, and event underwriting. Include all applicable in-kind gifts.

Total revenue: In Canada, income generated by an organization from all sources, including funding received from provincial and territorial health plans, payments for services to patients covered under private insurance or those paying out-of-pocket, as well as contributions from fundraising, donations, research grants and investments.

Expenses and Staffing

Direct compensation expenses: Actual compensation expense (such as salaries, benefits, bonuses, and any other compensation) related to philanthropy/development officers who directly carry out each fundraising program.

Direct fundraising staff: Individuals performing front-line fundraising activities, typically including the following functions: Chief Philanthropy/Development Officer (CPO/CDO), executive director, vice president of philanthropy, directors of philanthropy/development, annual gifts, major gifts, planned gifts, special events, campaign fundraising, public and private grant writing, corporate and foundation relations, and other fundraising specialists with direct fundraising responsibilities.

Indirect compensation expense: Actual compensation expense (such as salaries, benefits, bonuses, and other compensation) related to staff who indirectly support philanthropy officers.

Indirect fundraising staff: Individuals who are not responsible for front-line fundraising activities. Some examples of the work these individuals perform to support fundraising are: general writing; public relations; marketing; finance, including the tasks of the CFO; operations; information technology; prospect research; gift receipting; data management; data analysis; human resources; development coordinator; administrative assistant; clerical support; and other specialists and generalists without direct fundraising responsibilities.

Non-compensation expense: Actual expense that is related to philanthropy operations, but that is not compensation related. Exclude non-philanthropy expense and depreciation expense, which is purely an accounting entry, not a real usage of resources. Examples include professional fees (e.g., legal, tax, accounting), contracted services (e.g., consulting), travel, dues/subscriptions/ memberships, software subscription/maintenance, rent/occupancy, supplies, printing, postage, mailing, and cultivation expense.

Constituency Giving

Annual fund: Funds raised on an ongoing basis by an organization throughout the reporting year. These funds can come from a variety of sources, including acquisition and direct mail gifts of any amount from individuals.

Board member donor: Donor affiliated with the organization as a healthcare system, facility, and/or foundation board member, regardless of whether the board is a fiduciary/governing board or a non-fiduciary/non-governing board.

Corporate/business donor: Business donor, whether incorporated or not, and whether organized as a for-profit or as a not-for-profit.

Corporate foundation donor: Foundation donor that receive the majority of their funding from a for-profit corporation whose name it bears. While a company-sponsored foundation may maintain close ties with its parent company, it is an independent organization with its own funds.

Donor-advised fund (DAF): A fund established within a public charity, trust, or other organization (e.g., Fidelity, Schwab, a local community foundation) to which the donor has made a gift and already taken an immediate tax deduction (a tax credit in Canada).

Employee donor: Staff donor from the organization’s healthcare system, facility, foundation, and other applicable facility or department

Healthcare system (System): Group of hospitals or other healthcare entities that are organized under and/or are affiliated with a corporate umbrella structure.

Hospital auxiliary donor: Donor from a separately incorporated organization of volunteers whose efforts are committed to providing volunteer hours and/or raising funds. Note that hospital auxiliaries are not always separately incorporated. This does not include contributions from auxiliary donors from departments of the healthcare organization.

Individual donor: Person who makes financial contributions to the organization. This constituency is considered as one but also may be broken down into sub-categories (e.g., grateful patients, major donors, annual donors, planned gift donors).

Physician donor: Individual donor who is a physician at the organization. Physician donors can be employed, affiliated, or from physician groups.

Private foundation donor: Foundation donor from a legal entity set up and funded by an individual, family, or group of individuals for the purpose of making charitable gifts and grants to unrelated organizations.

Single healthcare entity (Entity): Either a stand-alone facility or a facility within a healthcare system for which there is an organized fundraising program. For the Report on Giving survey, this includes academic medical centers, behavioral health facilities, children's hospitals, community hospitals, home care/hospice facilities, and safety net hospitals.

Support group donor: Donor from a separately incorporated organization (apart from hospital auxiliaries), organized for the express purpose of providing support to the hospital (such as guilds or minimum gift clubs) that make gifts to the hospital or the foundation from the proceeds of its activities.

Distribution of Funds

Capital: Funds or assets used for the creation, improvement, or expansion of an organization's physical facilities or equipment, including hospital buildings, medical equipment, and technology systems.

Charity care: Free or reduced-fee medical services provided to patients who are unable to pay as part of a healthcare organization's community benefit or social responsibility programs.

Patient care programs: Specific initiatives or services designed to address the health needs of patients. These programs can range from preventive care, treatment of acute conditions, management of chronic diseases, rehabilitation services, and palliative care.

Research: Activities undertaken to generate new knowledge, improve existing treatments, or discover new medical technologies, including clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and basic science research.

Education: Programs and activities focused on the training and development of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and allied health staff.

General operations: Funds used for the day-to-day activities necessary for the organization to function. This can include administrative functions, facility maintenance, human resources, finance, and information technology support.

Endowment: A fund where the principal amount is kept intact while the investment income is available for use to fund grants, programs, or operations in alignment with the foundation's mission.

Employee funds: Financial resources designated for the benefit of employees. This can include pension plans, health benefits, education benefits, and emergency assistance funds.

Other: A catch-all category for use of funds for activities that do not fit neatly into the other defined categories. This can include miscellaneous income sources, non-operational expenses, and unique or one-time projects.

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