Slowdown in Post-Recession Giving to Health Care

Slowdown in Post-Recession Giving to Health Care

March 14, 2012 by jga_admin

by Angela White


Amid a slowdown in charitable pledges to hospitals, a study just released by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), indicates health care organizations have increased their reliance on cash-based fundraising, emphasizing annual gifts and special events, such as community runs/walk, golf outings, luncheons/dinners, etc.

However, with an ever-increasing emphasis on cash gifts, I believe that we run the risk of sacrificing our broader donor relationships that culminate in ultimate major and planned gifts.

  • Are we focusing on cash gifts to fund immediate needs at the expense of listening to our donors and their desires for longer term philanthropic goals?
  • Are we undervaluing planned giving as a charitable gift vehicle?
  • Are we sending a signal to our donors that we are more concerned with meeting our annual goals than we are in helping them achieve their philanthropic giving plans?

Of course, all institutions need cash gifts for annual support, yet how we couple immediate gifts with a holistic approach to the donor relationship and giving is critical to the role of philanthropy at each of our institutions.

The study showed a definite downward trend in securing multi-year pledges in the 2010 fiscal year for major and planned gifts.

Susan Doliner, FAHP, CFRE, chair, AHP Board of Directors. points to one probable cause for the drop in pledges the report noted. “Philanthropic contributions can make an extraordinary difference in the health of our communities, yet the ongoing debate around health care costs, delivery systems and access combined with economic conditions nationwide have slowed decision-making for major donors considering gifts to health care related organizations,” said Doliner,

Another item of note from the report: “in almost all instances, organizations that devoted more staff and resources to philanthropy did significantly better when compared to benchmarks than did those with less to spend on charity programs and fewer professional fundraisers.”

Learn more about the AHP Performance Benchmarking Service, now in its seventh year, and the FY2010 Performance Benchmarking Service survey.