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Donors Shift Giving Patterns in Rough Economy

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 21, 2009

Businesses and individual donors hit hard by the recession have shifted charitable giving patterns to longer-term pledges and gift commitments rather than ceasing to give altogether, according to a study released today by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

"The fact that in this deep recession, donors are still givers and have not halted contributions signals a depth of relationship and commitment to the individual organizations, which should be continually nurtured by healthcare fundraising operations," said William C. McGinly, AHP's president/CEO, in a media release. "The real message here for healthcare executives and boards is take care of your donors and support your fundraising staff and mix of fundraising activities to cope with the recession."

The fourth annual AHP study of benchmarking data and philanthropic fundraising techniques found that the most effective fundraisers use a variety of well-rounded programs and activities to raise money, shattering the myth that big-ticket galas, golf tournaments, and telethons are the only way to attract donors, McGinly said. The study found that the most successful philanthropic programs emphasize building relationships and cultivating major gift donors.

Data were gathered from 58 foundations that support nonprofit hospitals across the U.S. and Canada, focusing on the 2008 fiscal year when the recession's full impact was hitting charities hard.

The data was compiled through AHP's Performance Benchmarking Service. Participating organizations compare their fundraising programs and results against those of industry leaders to upgrade business practices, achieve fundraising goals, and integrate philanthropy into their healthcare organization's strategic plans. Using data collected from participants, members generate comparison reports for improved financial and human resource evaluation and planning in language CEOs and CFOs understand.

The nonprofit AHP's more than 4,500 members direct philanthropic programs for 2,200 nonprofit healthcare providers in North America. To view the report, e-mail: ahp@ahp.org.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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