Healthcare Philanthropy: It's Your Job

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , October 1, 2010

Let me start by stipulating that I know you have people on your staff who work on increasing philanthropy for your organization. Heck, even if you're the CEO, you might not even have direct managerial control over them, for example, if your institution's foundation is a separate operating entity from your hospital or health system. You should know that their jobs are tough right now. But do you know how tough?

The statistics are sobering, and the recession has much to do with it... Charitable giving for nonprofit healthcare institutions dropped 11% in 2009, the latest period for which figures are available, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. That compares to an overall charitable giving decrease in the U.S. in 2009 of only 3.6%, according to Giving USA, a report compiled annually by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel.

What does this mean?

AHP, as I mentioned, largely blames the recession for the steep drop, but that doesn't account for the 7.4 more percentage points that healthcare giving dropped compared to general giving in 2009.

I speculate that there are other reasons people are less willing to give to healthcare organizations these days. Perhaps one is that many healthcare donations are of the epic variety. By that I mean several million dollars given at one time to an organization to build a new building named after somebody—in other words, big donations for big projects. That makes charitable giving for healthcare a little more volatile.

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1 comments on "Healthcare Philanthropy: It's Your Job"

Bogey (10/4/2010 at 9:48 AM)
Sadly, Mr. Betpeze missed an important point about why some choose not to donate to healthcare institutions, such as hospitals. While health insurers average a mere 3% profit (PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2008 study), some hospitals and their affiliated organizations continue to expand with elaborate ornate facilities, raising consumers' eyebrows. For the lay consumer watching what appears to them to be this extravagance in the middle of a healthcare debate calling for lowering cost, it shouldn't be surprising that they close their wallets when these same institutions come hat in hand asking for money. No, the institutions should start by cutting their cost, negotiating lower rates with insurers, and expanding more modestly with at least the appearance of frugality. Only then will many lay folks consider helping them out financially.




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