6 Ways Hospital CEOs Can Boost Donations to Their Institutions

William C. McGinly, president and CEO of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, lists six ways hospital and health system CEOs can boost donations to their institutions.  

1. Make philanthropy part of your job description. Your evaluation will then be partly based on your fundraising role. In the most recent AHP survey on this issue almost a year ago, 36 percent of all hospitals made philanthropy part of the CEO's job description. AHP wants to raise that level to 50 percent.

2. Participate in "asks" for major gifts. This can mean anything from being in on a phone call to a major donor or signing fundraising letters. "Some CEOs really embrace this," Mr. McGinly says. While administrative duties will always come first, he hopes hospital CEOs will become a bit more like university presidents, who donate a significant amount of their time to soliciting donations.

3. Present to donor groups.
Occasionally donors are given tours of the hospital and the CEO meets and greets them. This is a relief for CEOs who do not like to ask for money because "it involves educating rather than asking for money," Mr. McGinly says.

4. Go to fundraising events.
The CEO can help boost donations simply by attending galas, dinners, sporting events and highly popular "signature" events held on behalf of hospitals and systems.

5. Make a gift to the hospital. CEOs who have already given to their own institutions are more convincing when asking others for gifts. "When you are asking somebody else to give money, it means something that you have given, too," Mr. McGinly says. Other executives in the C-suite should also be donating to the hospital, he says.

6. Meet with major donors.
The CEO who meets with a major donor something like six to eight times a year can find out what his or her interests are and help line up a big gift. The donors who give eye-popping amounts usually build up from smaller gifts. The CEO of Sioux Valley Health System in South Dakota, for instance, had been meeting regularly with businessman Denny Sanford when Mr. Sanford decided to give $400 million in 2007 and the system changed its name to Sanford Health.

Learn more about the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

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