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Nonprofit Hospital Donations Up 8% in FY2010

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 14, 2011

The nation's nonprofit hospitals collected $8.26 billion in philanthropic donations in fiscal year 2010, not as high as pre-recession levels, but trending strongly in the right direction, according to a report from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

AHP President/CEO William C. McGinly told HealthLeaders Media the 8% increase in donations in 2010 doesn't make up for the declines that hospitals endured in fiscal 2009. Still, he was surprised and encouraged by the report's findings. "In 2009 we dropped 11%, which was nearly $1 billion," he said. "I was hoping we would recover half of that loss this year in 2010, and we are ahead of that. So it's a little better than we thought. We are excited about that. This gives us a sense that we are slowly moving back in the right direction."

The AHP's annual survey showed that donations and grants to healthcare institutions in the not-for-profit sector totaled $8.2 billion in fiscal 2010, up $620 million over the $7.6 billion raised in fiscal year 2009. While last year's total was still short of the $8.6 billion raised in FY 2008 and the FY 2007 level of $8.3 billion, the 8% growth was the healthiest rate of advance since FY 2006.

A further breakdown in the report shows that individual donors contributed almost 60% of total giving. "We are seeing what I call 'the family' stay steady," McGinly says. "Over half the donations are coming from the employees, the boards, and foundations of the hospitals, the physicians, and grateful patients. That family group is still holding strong through all of this. They are the people in the know. They know better what the hospital is providing than the public they are serving in their community."

Annual giving was the largest fundraising source in fiscal 2010 and accounted for 20% of all funds raised, followed by major gifts (17%), capital campaigns (15%) and special events (15%). Planned giving, such as bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and similar long-term philanthropic arrangements, accounted for 9.5 % of donations last year, similar to pre-recession levels.

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