June 10, 2016
Association of Healthcare Philanthropy
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Cultivate peer relationships for greater success

By Steven W. Churchill, MNA
President & CEO

Information is easy to get in this digital age, and we can build our professional networks with the click of a button online. Sometimes what we need, however, is to talk to someone face-to-face who can relate.

This is especially true for those of us in leadership positions. Executive peer groups have grown in popularity in recent years as leaders look for candid feedback on how to successfully run their organizations.

The pace of change is picking up, and even the most experienced leaders find themselves facing problems that lie outside their expertise. Peer groups can bring together people with a diversity of talents—from mergers, to metrics, staffing, board development, technology—and there is usually someone who has been where you are going.

When I took the helm at AHP, I reached out to my counterparts at other professional fundraising associations in the Washington, DC, area. We meet several times a year to discuss best practice, benchmarks, and possible areas of collaboration.

We also talk about ways to present a united front for advocacy on Capitol Hill, as well as how to coordinate our messaging about the importance of philanthropy to the larger community. What I value most, however, is the ability to have open and candid conversations.

Let’s face it—you are not always going to hear what you need to hear from your staff and your board. Peer groups can provide an objective sounding board to discuss what’s working, what’s not working, your challenges, and your concerns—something that’s not easy when you are at the top of an organization.

Executive peer groups come in all shapes and sizes, from informal gatherings to structured meetings with a facilitator and guest speakers. I highly recommend exploring the options available in your area, or even forming a group of your own.

A great venue to make connections is AHP’s Leading Forward conference. The program features outstanding development leaders, as well as authors and thinkers on leadership. It’s attended by a wide variety of senior-level, experienced professionals in health care philanthropy.

If you are not already registered, take this opportunity to build your network, explore new ideas and perspectives, and take advantage of the cumulative experience and expertise our community provides.

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Tips of the Trade
Choosing the best channels for annual giving

The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented March 16, 2016, by Jessica Harrington, president of the Harrington Agency, and Michael J. Burton, associate vice president of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Office of Institutional Advancement.

The current array of digital outlets presents both opportunities and challenges for health care philanthropy.

At the very time we are witnessing significant changes in how and why donors give, new approaches are arriving on the scene to reach out, inform, engage, involve and solicit their largess.  From Facebook to Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and beyond, it can seem daunting to decide which channels to choose.

Jessica Harrington and Michael Burton offer a data-driven approach to selecting the most appropriate channels of communication to enhance annual giving.

All too often, they say, annual giving programs are stuck in the doldrums of routine practices (such as reliance on direct mail) that are inefficient and fail to foster a sense of community between donors and the institutions they support.

A new approach

Harrington and Burton suggest a new paradigm for philanthropy—modifying the standard giving pyramid and capping it with an inverted engagement pyramid to form an hourglass. The upper portion depicts the progression from initial awareness (e.g., of a hospital’s mission) through more involved stages of understanding and commitment.

Where the pyramids converge, the fully-engaged individual becomes a donor (the point of “conversion”) and is ready to embark through the levels of giving from “renewal” through planned giving.  Along the way “ambassadors” (donors who have become champions of the cause) help to spread the word and encourage others to join in.

Judicious use of new channels of communication can greatly advance this process and help potential donors connect with your institution. However, annual giving programs need adequate capacity to take advantage of these channels and achieve the best return on investment. Facebook, for example, may be a great way to increase awareness of your institution’s mission, but not for getting donations.

How to choose

Selecting the right channels for the right audiences for the right purposes can be a daunting task. Harrington and Burton recommend a 13-item “Channel Checklist” (listed below) to help decide whether taking on a particular digital outlet is worthwhile.

Essential criteria include: clearly defining goals, as well as metrics for deciding if the goals have been met; accurately identifying audiences and message content; confirming affordability in terms of staff, budget and technological capacity; and ensuring institutional buy in.

If fewer than six items on the list can be checked off, Burton and Harrington advise against entering the channel. With six to eight positive responses, they say to “begin exploring and be cautious.” They encourage a launch only when nine or more items can be checked on the list:

  • What is your goal for this channel? Leads? New Donors? Revenue? Retention?

  • What is your secondary goal for this channel?

  • What are your metrics for determining success or failure?

  • What audience are you reaching with this channel?

  • Does this audience fit within your institution’s overall strategic outreach plan?

  • Do you have content uniquely suited for this channel?

  • Do you have a process in place for launching this channel?

  • Do you have the proper technology for utilizing this channel?

  • Do you have the appropriate methods for capturing new leads/donors/gifts and sourcing them into your database of record?

  • Do you have the staff to manage this channel?

  • Do you have the budget to deploy this channel past one year?

  • Are you willing to abandon the channel if you don’t see success? How?

  • Is your institution willing to adopt this channel into all its other activities?

Rules for success

Finally, they say a successful multi-channel annual giving program needs to adhere to seven rules:

  • Scrub your database – Update the file quarterly to eliminate duplicates, bad addresses, changes of address, etc.

  • Optimize your forms – Take out unnecessary fields such as asking for age, how you heard about us, etc. They depress response rates. However, always add a “gift string” where you suggest an amount to donate.

  • Ensure that digital forms are mobile optimized – Your forms should be just as useful and useable on a mobile device as on a computer.

  • Drive online donors directly from search to your donation page – Don’t force a potential donor to hunt through a website.

  • Focus on email deliverability – An email may be “delivered,” but go into junk mail instead of the recipient’s inbox.

  • Write with emotion – Appeal to your donors’ hearts. Emotion leads to action.

  • Write your appeals about a single person – This is more effective than writing about your institution or a collective group.

If you would like to learn more about this webinar, a recording is available for purchase. Also, take a look at upcoming and archived AHP webinars.

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Educational Opportunities
AHP Madison Institute Opening speakers announced

This year, the AHP Madison Institute starts with a session by industry experts Kay Sprinkel Grace and Marnie Spears. They will share an update on the current philanthropic landscape in North America and the trends you should factor into your development strategies.

Be sure to join us for the only certificate program in health care development, July 16-21 in Madison, Wis. You will spend five days working intensively with expert faculty and colleagues in one of seven fundraising tracks—including our popular courses on major gifts and planned giving.

You will go back to your office with tools you can use immediately, a close professional network, 26 CFRE credits and a certificate of completion from AHP and the University of Wisconsin’s Graduate School of Business.

Learn more and register. Course tracks are starting to fill up, so secure your spot today!

Kay Sprinkel Grace, nonprofit consultant and speaker

Marnie Spears, president and CEO of KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) 

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New webinar Building capacity for transformational gifts

Learn about the findings of a comprehensive study of transformational gift development practices at 26 leading hospitals in the United States and Canada—which combined have generated more than $2.7 billion in transformational gifts.

At AHP's June 22 webinar, two study participants share their perspectives on how their institutions have successfully generated gifts of $50 million to $120 million. Regardless of your shop's size, the principles can translate to development of your own program.

Presenters: DeAnn Marshall, senior vice president, chief development and marketing officer, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Stephen Jennings, executive director, Rady Children's Hospital Foundation; David Gillig, FAHP, senior consultant & principal, Marts & Lundy

Register today. You and your team can participate live or learn on your own schedule with access to the webinar recording.

Register for all 9 webinars and save 50%
For AHP members, the price is less than $99
each for a savings of $900

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Professional Development
AHP Si Seymour Award Nominations due by June 27

Do you know an exceptional development professional whose contributions deserve to be recognized and celebrated? If so, we invite you to nominate a colleague for the AHP Harold J. (Si) Seymour Award, the highest honor in the field of health care development.

The AHP Si Seymour Award is presented each year to a member who has shown outstanding leadership in philanthropy. It will be presented this fall at the AHP Annual International Conference in Chicago.

Start preparing your nomination now

Please take some time now to gather the information necessary to submit a nomination. The deadline is coming up on June 27.

Review the award criteria and download the nomination form today.

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Got a great story to share? Submit a journal article

AHP is looking for insightful articles on all aspects of health care development for the spring 2017 issue of Healthcare Philanthropy.

If your article is published in the journal, not only will you have the opportunity to share what you've learned with colleagues, you'll also have a peer-reviewed article to cite on your list of professional accomplishments.

The deadline for spring 2017 article submissions is October 24. Learn more about the submission guidelines.

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Member Resources
New guide to planned giving for small hospital foundations

The following is an excerpt from an article that outlines four important steps to follow when launching a planned giving program. It's authored by Philip M. Purcell, J.D., senior consultant, legacy and charitable estate planning, at Heaton Smith Group. The full article is available on AHP’s website.

It is very important for all hospital foundations, regardless of size, to incorporate planned giving into their comprehensive fundraising activities. Even small hospital foundations can undertake simple steps to successfully build a planned giving program. The beginning point for staff and board leadership is to understand why planned giving should be prioritized for development.

Planned giving is popular. According to Giving USA 2015: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014, charitable bequests accounted for approximately $28.13 billion in donations in 2014. This amount represents an increase of 15.5 percent over the total value of bequests in 2013. Many donors and their professional advisers are familiar with at least the basic planned giving options of naming charity as beneficiary of a will, trust, life insurance or retirement plan account.

Planned giving is important. Nearly 77.3 million American children were born between 1946 and 1964 as part of the baby boomer generation. In the U.S., baby boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets and more than half of all consumer spending. In Canada, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce estimates that Canadian boomers are about to inherit approximately $750 billion from their aging relatives over the next decade. Now the baby boomer generation is entering retirement. A survey by U.S. Trust found that nearly a third of baby boomers would prefer to pass on their inheritance to charities rather than pass it down to their children.

Planned giving is possible. Many charitable organizations have successfully incorporated planned giving into their comprehensive fundraising program. Small hospital foundations that do not actively promote planned giving should start right away. This article provides four important steps for small foundations to follow when launching a planned giving program.

To read more, access the full article.

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The latest issue of Healthcare Philanthropy

The spring 2016 issue of Healthcare Philanthropy has mailed and includes the following articles:

  • The life of the party: A systematized approach for converting event guests to donors, by Jan Wood, CFRE

  • Overcoming barriers to physician engagement, by Michael Delzotti, CFRE, CSPG, and Joe K. Golding

  • What the aging population means for health care and philanthropy, by Steven A. Reed

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding in health care philanthropy, by Vanessa Granville, MBA

  • Launching a grateful grandparents fund, by Kathy Rubino

AHP members can view, print or download the e-book free of charge (member login required).

Be sure to check out the latest Forward Thinking article (PDF) on page 30. The Forward Thinking series covers timely topics that promote and advance the profession.

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Unleash the power of insight

How can the AHP Report on Giving and Performance Benchmarking Service help your organization?

Credibility with donors

“Our major gift donors are surprised when we pull out our graphs and explain where we are and where we want to go. Donors are impressed we can show the hard data and that we are looking at all the aspects. More and more donors are going to be expecting this type of data.”
– Jory Pritchard-Kerr, FAHP, CFRE, executive director, Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation

Credibility with hospital leaders

“Benchmarking broadens their understanding of the important measures in philanthropy and connects us to the other successes of the organization.”
– Randy A. Varju, MBA, FAHP, CFRE, chief development officer & foundation president, Advocate Health Care

Planning for sustainable growth

“The data that is derived from our participation in AHP’s Performance Benchmarking Service has formed the basis for better decision-making for fundraising efforts throughout Dignity Health, and has helped us intelligently plan for our future’s much-needed sustainable growth in philanthropy.”
– Tamra Von Schroeck, senior director of operations & finance for philanthropy, Dignity Health

Participate in this year’s Report on Giving Survey

All AHP members have received a survey link, so check your email inbox. Complete the survey and receive a free copy of the AHP Report on Giving and a discount on the searchable online database. Learn more at www.ahp.org/reportongiving.

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Member News
AHP recognizes High Performers

Please join us in congratulating the High Performing Health Foundations of 2015 for exemplary performance in raising funds for their local community's health care needs.

Each year, the AHP Report on Giving identifies high performers that represent the top 25 percent of all reporting organizations. In 2015, the median total production funds raised by these high performing entities was more than six times that of all responding institutions ($30.6 million vs. $4.6 million, respectively).

More information is available on the AHP website.

2015 High Performers: Want to share your achievement by displaying the High Performer logo on your website? Primary contacts at each qualifying organization will receive the logo via email next week.

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Welcome to new AHP members

Please join us in welcoming AHP’s most recent members. We encourage you to check the AHP website for the new member list and reach out to those in your area:

AHP’s newest individual, institutional and affiliate members

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Member discount on Giving USA

As an AHP member, you are now eligible for a 15 percent discount when you purchase the Giving USA report and other products. This annual report estimates giving to all charitable organizations across the United States.

Giving USA 2016 will be released on June 14, but you can pre-order now. Use the discount code ahp15 when you order to receive the 15 percent AHP member discount.

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And the winner is...

Congratulations to the latest winner of the AHP Resource Center samples drawing! Lisa Atkinson, MPA, CFRE, annual fund program director for Vidant Medical Center Foundation in Greenville, N.C., won a $50 Amazon gift card simply by contributing fundraising samples to the AHP Resource Center.

The next prize drawing is June 15

For your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, send us your letters, brochures, policies or any other fundraising samples you think may help your peers. Email your samples to resource@ahp.org by June 15.

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Foundation News
Scholarship update

Through your contributions to the 2015 Annual Fund campaign, the AHP Foundation was able to provide the following scholarships this year:

Meredith Finney
Senior Development Coordinator
Dell Children's Medical Center Foundation
Austin, Texas
Plans to attend the 2016 AHP Madison Institute

Rebekah Morris Wainwright
Foundation Associate
East Texas Medical Center Foundation
Tyler, Texas
Plans to attend the 2016 AHP Madison Institute

In addition, the Hospital Development & Education Fund (HDEF) of Canada provided scholarship assistance to three Canadian members:

Susanne Chaffey, BBA
Executive Director
Northern Lights Health Foundation
Fort McMurray, Alberta
Plans to attend the 2016 AHP Annual International Conference

Pat Craigmile
Foundation Board Vice Chair
St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation
St. Marys, Ontario
Attended 2016 AHP Convene Canada

Alissa Lee
Executive Director
Stan Cassidy Foundation
Frederiction, New Brunswick
Plans to attend the 2016 AHP Madison Institute

We need your continued support to ensure we can fund scholarships for 2017. Please make your gift today. Thank you!

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Career Center
Find or post health care development jobs

The AHP Career Center is your source for finding and posting health care development jobs:

  • Job Seekers – Use the advanced search tools, sign up for job alerts and post your resume.

  • Recruiters – Post jobs quickly and easily and search the resume bank. Get extra visibility by featuring your job in the AHP e-Connect or in AHP Today.

Whether you are looking for a new job in health care philanthropy or the perfect candidate to fill a position in your development office, visit the AHP Career Center today.

AHP e-Connect Featured Jobs

Associate Director, Donor Relations, Institutional Advancement
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Philadelphia, Pa.

Major Gifts Officer
Hunterdon Healthcare
Flemington, N.J.

Director of Development
Reading Health System
West Reading, Pa.

Complete list of job postings.

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