Hospitals have faced increased challenges due to the pandemic and the collective changes we’ve faced over the past couple of years. Many hospitals are finding themselves short on staff, resources, and supplies, which has greatly complicated day-to-day operations. As a result, fundraising continues to be of utmost importance for hospital foundations and other organizations providing programs or services to support patients. In this post, we’ll be covering strategies to engage hospital employees, drive awareness in your community, and get creative with hospital fundraising ideas that can be held in a variety of formats that don’t require a lot of time to execute.
How Do Hospitals Raise Funds?
Hospitals can fundraise in a variety of a ways for their own foundations or other causes that support their patients. Initiatives may include:
- Engaging employees
- Hosting events
- Cultivating major donors
- Working with community partners for sponsorships or matching gifts
- Planned giving
- Direct mail and personal solicitation
- Engaging board members
As with all fundraising, it’s important to keep your revenue sources diversified. If you don’t hit your fundraising goal in one area, you still have an opportunity to regroup and adjust goals in other areas for a comprehensive, year-round giving strategy that includes online donation forms.
Why is Hospital Fundraising Important?
The “why” behind a hospital’s fundraising efforts may vary slightly depending on the hospital’s focus—fundraising for their own foundation or other nonprofits. Let’s start by focusing on why fundraising would be needed for a hospital’s foundation. This will vary from hospital to hospital, but lately we’ve seen hospital foundations focus on raising dollars for COVID-19 support funds, reserve funds for future equipment needs, continuing staff education and training, emergency funds, pro-bono services, their own research efforts, and more.
On the other hand, hospitals may shift some of their fundraising efforts to support a charity of choice or even multiple charities. Why might a hospital consider raising funds for other organizations? If a hospital is well known for their cardiac department and expertise, for example, they may decide to support a nonprofit that specializes in research, programs and services, education, and support group facilitation for survivors of major cardiac events.
A benefit of supporting an outside organization, especially if it’s wrapped into a peer-to-peer event, gives hospital employees great team building experiences as they have fun raising funds! Also, they know that the funds raised will still help their patients in some way the hospital may not have the resources to support or manage. Hospitals, like small businesses or philanthropically minded large corporations, may find great value by aligning themselves publicly with well-loved charities, which could help them gain future support for their own foundations and increase the public’s trust in their brand.
Hospital Foundation Fundraising Ideas
Let’s shift attention to hospital fundraising ideas when it comes to supporting a hospital’s foundation. First and foremost, when it comes to raising funds for a hospital, it’s important to get out there and network with the goal of being viewed as a member of the community. Make strategic decisions about what groups you should contact and give presentations to in order to spread awareness about your foundation’s mission and why donor dollars are crucial to saving lives. Consider having mission-impacted speakers share their personal story to really connect with prospective donors. You may even consider becoming a member of some civic organizations in your community to get more visibility.
When it comes to engaging other community partners and major donors, think through how you’ll spread awareness for your hospital’s foundation to these businesses or individuals beyond networking events. Sometimes, those can be hit or miss depending on how much your community engages in them. Do your research on local business owners and members of the community who are influential and known to have deep pockets when it comes to philanthropy. Work to build relationships with these individuals that are more personal and deeper than a fleeting connection. This will take time, but if you’re in fundraising, you know how powerful these bonds can be when it comes to supporting your cause.
Once you have some prospective individuals or businesses, or even before this step, think through what would be an appealing incentive for their contributions. If you’re hosting an event to support your hospital’s foundation, you should always have a sponsorship packet (more on that later). Think through what donation amounts could equate to naming rights within the hospital for major gifts (The Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Mothers and Children, for example). For smaller donations, consider memorial benches, bricks in walkways, or other various monuments. Other strategies for gifts that aren’t tied to event sponsorship include planned giving, which is when you work with donors to set up a charitable gift at the time of their passing, or weaving in a direct mail campaign.
When it comes to raising money for a hospital foundation or for an external charity a hospital would like to support, work to get to know the best way employees can be engaged. Consider hosting an internal kickoff event to educate employees about the impact their donations will make, especially when it comes to supporting an external charity, and provide fundraising ideas that are quick and easy. Consider asking department heads to become team captains or even have a mission-impacted speaker come to share their story at the kickoff event. Note that you may need to wait for the right time when it comes to engaging hospital employees or making any kind of ask that will add more to their packed day-to-day roles since some hospitals are facing staffing challenges.
Once you’ve confirmed it’s a good time to add an employee fundraising campaign, consider hosting a peer-to-peer event. They’re excellent engagement tools with a fun event component, such as a 5k or fun run. Encourage hospital staff to get creative, competitive, and have fun with their fundraising ideas. In addition to encouraging some fun fundraisers among staff, make sure there are incentives that will really motivate teams and participants to outraise each other—such as an extra PTO day, a coveted parking spot, or even a department pizza party.
Also, consider encouraging administrative employees to move an eye-catching or even gaudy item in between offices or desks. It could be a plush mascot of some kind, or something goofy that will draw attention to the fun, that you can make a donation to send to someone that would have to make a donation to remove it.
Scrub in and Suit Up for a Black Tie Event
In addition to peer-to-peer events, think through what a more formal event could look like to which tickets could be sold to employees and external community members. Fun runs, 5ks, or walks may not be everyone’s cup of tea so be sure to diversify the style of events you decide to host. A more formal event, such as a gala with an auction, is definitely worth considering as a part of your fundraising strategy. Think through some basic promotional concepts and consider discounted tickets for hospital workers and their family members. When considering a theme for your event, make it something that will resonate with employees and consider a theme attendees can dress to, such as a roaring twenties theme. See what other organizations are hosting in your community and make sure you do something that will set your event apart.
Also, be sure to offer a way for community businesses or individuals to sponsor your event or donate auction items that will allow them to receive special perks for their contribution. Sponsorships and auction item sales are a great way to increase revenue for your event in addition to ticket sales. Another way to get more exposure for your formal event is by working with an honorary chair that will serve as the face of your event and mission. Take a moment to share their story during the program and also on social media leading up to your event!
In closing, there are many ways hospitals can fundraise—community engagement, major gifts, engaging employees, hosting events, and more. If you’re still on the hunt for additional ways you can raise money or develop your strategies, check out our free eBook, Fundraising Fundamentals. If you’re interested in how Qgiv can help you grow your mission with fundraising tools and more, we’d love for you to learn how you can be a part of the Qgiv family today!