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3 Traits of Successful Hospital Fundraisers

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, May 12, 2014

It's tempting to dismiss healthcare fundraising and development professionals as little more than specialized salespersons. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the full array of skills they must have to meet your organization's financial goals.

The announcement last week that Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Cancer Center has received a gift of $65 million earmarked for a new patient care building, isn't just good news for future cancer patients—it also highlights the importance of fundraising efforts and healthcare philanthropy.

The benefits of having a dedicated, in-house fundraising team depend largely on recruiting and hiring the right professionals. Knowing a candidate is in possession of the full complement of skills can be tricky. Some experts share their insights:

1. More Than Just Sales Experience
It's tempting to dismiss a fundraiser as a glorified salesperson, but don't stop there—look further. While a similar skillset is needed, the best fundraising professionals and development specialists are motivated not only by earning bigger commissions and crushing their sales goals and competitors, but by something else.

Fundraisers absolutely must feel passionately about the cause they're raising funds for, says Sarah Gnarre, vice president of Development at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, MA.

If someone were to attempt to raise funds for a cause they didn't believe in, "It wouldn't work out," she says. A fundraiser must have a deep connection to healthcare philanthropy, either due to a personal experience, a sense of altruism, or other personal reasons.

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