Development: Planned Giving Programs

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to launching Planned Giving Programs?

The biggest barrier to launching a planned giving program is making the choice to invest in a program that will not show an immediate return on investment.  Planned giving takes a significant amount of time and relationship building up front.  Planned gifts are often a result of years of donor cultivation.  As with any development program, planned giving requires a clear and compelling case and plan for the future of the organization.  It takes committed development staff trained in the complexities of the field, significant board and leader support and clear understanding of the program, plans to continuously cultivate planned giving donors, marketing, and strict management oversight, policies, and procedures.  As you can see, launching a comprehensive planned giving program can be a lofty goal!

What is the case for building a Planned Giving Program anyway?

Planned giving should be a win-win for the organization and donor.  Development staff should really be focused on making sure that the donor’s motivation for giving matches the organization’s mission and that the gift they are giving meets their personal long term financial goals.  Of course, their legal and financial advisors should always be involved.  There is an “80/20 rule” we learn in philanthropy studies that basically states that 80% of nonprofit contributions received comes from about 20% of your donors and often by way of planned giving.  Planned giving tends to produce large gifts and allows donors to make gifts to the nonprofit other than cash, such as real estate, stocks, and bonds.  Donors can often increase their income and take advantage of tax savings.

How can you help?

  1. Build strong relationships with the organization’s patients, partners, and vendors.
  2. Make a point to publicly share the organization’s mission.
  3. Make the choice to learn more about your organization’s planned giving opportunities.

How do you develop relationships with donors?  Share your experiences.

Development: Major Gifts

What are the barriers to receiving Major Gifts?

Organizations have to decide and outline what constitutes a major gift to them. This requires research, thoughtful planning, and leader and board input and approval. Major gifts take a long time to develop. As mentioned multiple times in this series, it’s all about building relationships.  It takes identifying, cultivating, and ensuring that the donor and the organization’s goals line up with one another.  What this means is that development staff really need to know their donors and understand their reasons for giving, the causes for which they are most passionate, and the personal goals the donors have for giving back.  This allows staff to really match up community needs and projects with the right donors.

What is the case for building a major gifts program anyway?

Matching up the right community cause with the right donor, whose specific needs are to address such causes, creates an environment where both the organization and the donor win.  A donor should be able to fulfill a personal philanthropic objective and the organization should be able to make a lasting community change. Major gifts provide an organization and a donor with an outlet to accomplish something meaningful and important to them.  Major gifts show a real collaboration between the organization, donor, and community.  Major gifts often lead to planned giving (next week’s topic), which is an important resource to development foundations.

How can you help?

  1. Listen to your donors.  You really get to know someone when you stop talking and start listening.
  2. Create custom strategies and plans for your donors.  Every donor is different.  Donors have different goals and objectives, different motivation for giving, and have different expectations of their relationship with your organization.
  3. Always continue to cultivate and thank your donors.  This really needs no explanation; however, please remember that your donor has given to your organization because of the two way relationship they have established.  Continue to thank them and show them the difference they are making in your community.

Have you ever asked for a major gift?  Share your experience.

Development: The Capital Campaign

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to a successful capital campaign?

Simply put, a capital campaign consists of activities to raise funds for specific cause.  The capital campaign typically has a large scale financial goal with a timeline for reaching that goal.  In a small community, lofty fundraising goals can seem impossible to reach.  Capital campaigns require a compelling case to improve the community, a carefully thought out plan, strong board support and participation, and organizational support from the top down, all of which are significant investments.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Capital campaigns can really bring people together to work toward a common goal that provides the community with something more – something needed.  It really is amazing to see what communities can come together and achieve.  SOMC was able to build an inpatient Hospice Center through a capital campaign. The center provides extraordinary care in a comforting setting that the entire community can take pride in for having played a role.  Capital campaigns also create a lot of momentum for a development foundation and have shown to increase fundraising dollars over time, allowing the nonprofit to provide even more support to the community.  When there is a truly compelling case that impacts the community, strong board and leader support, and a solid plan has been developed, there is no reason not to start!

How can you help?

  1. Ask questions.  The more you ask about the capital campaign, the more you know and are able to communicate to others.
  2. Spread the word.  By sharing what the organization is trying to accomplish and bring to the community through the capital campaign, you may spark interest in a donor to give back or support the cause.
  3. Make connections.  In all that you do, strive to make lasting connections. Organizations are built by their employees, so the connections you make will show your community a glimpse of how much your organization truly cares.  And this will go a long way during a capital campaign.

Have you ever taken part in a capital campaign? Share your experience and ideas.

 

Development: The Annual Fund Program

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Development requires constant learning and ongoing education, and one of the first things you will learn about at Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy’s Principles and Techniques of Fundraising course is the Four Legged Stool (seen pictured below). It basically conveys the importance of building the 4 pillars of a successful development program: Annual Fund, Capital Campaign, Major Gifts, and Planned Giving Programs.  A strong development foundation is built by having all four programs, but the base of all giving starts with an Annual Fund Program, which is why we will discuss its importance first.

Four Legged Stool

What are the barriers to an Annual Fund Program?

An annual fund program requires a lot of management and oversight.  This can be challenging in small shops with limited staffing.  If the purpose of the annual fund and the case for fundraising isn’t communicated well on a regular basis, donors won’t support the fund.  Ongoing evaluation is required to ensure that modifications are made every year to improve the annual fund program.  This requires planning, a focus on results and goal setting, and board members and employees alike to be committed to the success of this leg of fundraising.  It all starts here, and if the annual fund program isn’t successful, the organization may see similar results in the other legs of the stool.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The annual fund program helps the development team to begin building relationships with donors who are new to the institution or donors who have recently made a connection with your institution. The development staff often works to build upon those connections and these donors continue to support the organization for years to come.  They become brand advocates, and for our marketing folks out there, we know how important it is to have folks outside of the organization who consistently support your organization and share information and stories.  The annual fund program also helps to build financial support for the areas of greatest need in the organization. Undesignated funds are the backbone of an annual fund program, allowing the organization to allocate the funds when and where they will have the greatest impact, responding to challenges and new opportunities as they arise.  Another important reason for the annual fund program is the ability to deliver a consistent message to our donors, sharing information about the organization’s needs, growth, and accomplishments.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to learn more about your development foundation’s annual fund program goals.
  2. Share with coworkers and community members what you learn.
  3. Give back to the areas or programs for which you are passionate.  When you talk about fundraising and development, your credibility is strengthened when you are a donor as well.  And remember, donors should always give the amount that makes sense for them. There is no minimum amount to give and there are no expectations.

Do you have any ideas or advice for building a strong Annual Fund Program?

Development: Building a Strong Board

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What do board members do and what are the barriers to building a strong board?

There are several barriers to building a strong board, and the first is that board members need to offer time, talent, or treasure to the nonprofit.  Board members need to support the mission and be engaged in the programs, services, and success of the organization.  Board members are fiscally responsible and are actively engaged in planning for the future of the nonprofit organization. Board members also serve as advocates and extensions of the organization in the community, so they often hear positive feedback and some negative.  Board members are responsible for raising awareness and assisting in fundraising processes.  Being a board member is hard work and it takes a lot of responsibility.  The kicker is that all of this governance, responsibility, and work for the nonprofit organization is given in a volunteer capacity.  Board members are not paid to serve in their role.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

It should be clear after reading the barriers and some of the requirements of a board member why building a strong board is so important, but here are a few more reasons.  Board members can offer excellent feedback from your community and can provide perceptions from an outside perspective.  Programs and services can often be improved based on this feedback.  Strong boards can help the development staff reach their fundraising goals by playing an active role.  Without their connections and introductions, meeting goals can be difficult.  The development staff is often small, so having volunteers so willing to assist with meetings goals, event planning, tasks, and planning for the future makes a huge difference.  The development team can do and achieve so much more for the community when they have a group of people who are focused on results and making a positive difference.

How can you help?

  1. Recommend board members who you think represent your community well and have time, talent, or treasure to give to your nonprofit organization.  It is extremely valuable when board members can offer additional talent and insight to the nonprofit staff.
  2. Let board members know what is going on in your area of the organization.  The more informed board members are the better advocates they are for the organization.
  3. Thank board members for all of their time, efforts, and hard work supporting and strengthening the mission of your nonprofit organization, all in a volunteer capacity.   

Do you have any advice for building a strong nonprofit board of directors?

Development: Successful Fundraising Events

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Even though most foundations really focus on the cost effectiveness of their events and the cost to raise a dollar, it is nearly impossible to avoid expenses altogether when hosting events.  There are usually expenses associated with events, such as invitations, food, and entertainment, but there is also a large amount of time given by the people involved in planning and executing the events.  Many foundations even rely on volunteers and board members to really step up and assist with the execution of events, but these folks usually have other full time jobs too.  Events take a lot of planning meetings, time, and focus to execute them successfully.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Events create awareness for your foundation and your purpose. While events can be entertaining and lots of fun, there is usually a moment during the event where attendees can learn about the foundation.  We often share a brief overview of the development foundation and show a video highlighting the purpose for the fundraising event.  The event and the education on the foundation you provide can give attendees a glimpse of your organizational culture and show what you’re all about.  The best thing about events is that they often bring like-minded people together supporting an initiative to improve the community.

How can you help?

  1. Purchase a ticket to the next event and attend. You’ll learn more about the development foundation and have fun.
  2. Volunteer your time to the foundation or a particular event committee.  There is nothing more valuable than your time and assistance with tasks.
  3. Thank the event committee who works so hard to host a fun and successful fundraising event.  It really is hard work.

Do you have any questions about fundraising events?

Development: Identifying Priority Projects

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

There are so many needs in healthcare, which can make it difficult to prioritize which projects may be funded by the development foundation. Some leaders still don’t realize that the development foundation may be able to support their next project or initiative, so they will not request assistance. The development foundation board of directors may not be able to fund some requests, but the mission of the development foundation is always guiding the decision making.  It is imperative for many nonprofit organizations to find ways to identify priority projects.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

We identify priority projects based on the Community Health Needs Assessment performed for our service area.  We also utilize feedback from our patients and community members regarding health care needs and health and wellness needs.  Our development foundation board of directors is comprised of community members who share valuable feedback with the development team regularly.  These tools give the development foundation team a framework to begin prioritizing project requests.

It is also important to note that there isn’t just one way to fund a project or need.  There are many ways to fund a project, some of which we will be discussing in more detail in later weeks.  It usually isn’t a “one size fits all” approach.  We often utilize several of the options listed below to help fund projects, and these are just a few of the tools we have at our fingertips:

  • Specific donor with a specific interest
  • Existing fund created to support a particular area
  • Grant proposals
  • Capital Campaign
  • Major Gifts
  • Planned Giving
  • And More!

How can you help?

  1. Let the development team know when there is an important need in your area.  We may be able to assist in funding that need. It isn’t a guarantee, but like I mentioned earlier, there are several different methods to seek funding for an important initiative or project.
  2. If you know someone who is interested in giving to a particular project or service line, help connect them with the development team.  Once you make an introduction, the development team can help the donor fulfill their wish to support a project.
  3. Understand that the development foundation cannot fund or support every initiative and project request. Our primary goal is to ensure that there is quality health care and health and wellness opportunities in our community for many years to come, so we must prioritize and select the projects and programs that further that goal.

Do you have any questions about identifying priority projects?

Development: Foundations & Employee Giving Campaigns

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

You know you have heard some of these statements before if you have ever encountered an annual employee giving campaign at a nonprofit organization.

  • They pay me. Why should I give it back to them?
  • I can’t give enough to make a difference. Why should I even bother?
  • Why have an employee giving campaign? Why don’t I just give on my own if I want to?
  • My donation may not benefit my department or unit. What’s in it for me?

These barriers are all understandable, and the development team can relate to each of these perspectives.  We also have a response to each of them as well.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

  • If you feel compelled to give to an organization, it is usually because you support the mission and what they’re all about.  Giving to the SOMC Development Foundation helps to further the mission of SOMC – to make a difference – by finding ways to improve the health and wellness of our community.  Employees, more than anyone, know and support the mission of their organizations every day.  They are a vital part of it.  Employees know the difference that their organization is making in their communities.  It makes sense that employees are the biggest advocates for organizations.
  • Every dollar counts. We can’t say that enough. We have seen firsthand how the smallest donations add up to the largest amounts, and ultimately make the biggest difference in the community.  
  • We want to show you what you can do as a collective group. It speaks to the point made earlier.  One person may only be able to do so much, but together, we can do more than we ever dreamed. That’s why an annual employee giving campaign is so important.
  • Giving back can be an extremely fulfilling and personal act. When you are giving back to a nonprofit organization, you are supporting their mission. For SOMC specifically, you are supporting the health and wellness of the community and creating a sustainable healthcare environment for future generations. If that isn’t enough, there may be tax benefits available to you for making charitable donations.

How can you help?

  1. Be objective.  When thoughts like the barriers mentioned above enter your mind, remember and re-evaluate why you are choosing to give to the organization.
  2. Speak up.  If you hear someone else making these statements, share what you know. Share what the organization did last year with the employee giving donations. SOMC was able to provide the newborn nursery with new equipment thanks, in part, to our amazing employees who contributed to the campaign.
  3. Ask questions. If you have questions about the employee giving campaign or the mission, please ask. It is better to ask questions than to make assumptions.

Do you have any questions about employee giving?

Development: Connecting with Grateful Patients

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Last week, we talked about making connections with our patients. No matter what industry you are in, you can apply the making connections strategy.  Making connections and providing excellent customer service goes a long way. Customer retention, positive word of mouth, and a better bottom line are just a few of the benefits of making positive connections with patients.  When we make connections with our patients, we want to make that a lasting connection by sharing information and hospital plans with them and by thanking them for choosing our healthcare system. At SOMC, our Grateful Patient Program is called Connections with Caregivers. The program gives our patients the option to recognize a member of their care team who made a difference in their patient experience, share their story with us, or give a donation in honor of the caregiver to the service line for which they are most passionate. They can also choose to do all three and many often do.

What are the barriers to doing this?

Successful grateful patient programs require buy in from every person who plays a role in patient interaction. So yes, that means everyone needs to be engaged: frontline staff members, nurses, managers, directors, providers, and volunteers. It can be difficult for folks outside of the development office to begin the conversation with patients about Connections with Caregivers. Since starting our program, we have received great feedback, such as folks saying they don’t feel comfortable asking for money, they don’t know how start the conversation, or they don’t have time. You also want to deliver a clear and consistent message to your patients without being too prescriptive. This conversation is best when it’s natural, so this can also be a barrier.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

There are so many great reasons to get involved in the grateful patient program.  Patients often ask if there is a way to recognize a member of their care team. It happens every day. The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy’s Report on Giving in 2011 states that 85 percent of donations were made by individuals, with 21 percent given by grateful patients and families. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, many patients want and choose to give for various reasons. It’s unbelievably fulfilling to know that you have made such a difference in someone’s care that they are willing to recognize you, share their story, or provide a donation. And that donation will help you to provide an excellent experience to another patient in the future.

Another important point to make is that this conversation doesn’t have to be difficult and shouldn’t take any more time than you are already spending with your patient. If you are connecting with your patient and helping to create a positive experience for them, this conversation can happen naturally. An example of a simple time for it to happen is when the patient is expressing gratitude. You can then tell the patient how they can share their story or recognize a team member for going above and beyond. It’s not about asking for money. It’s about taking a moment to ask the patient about their experience and start a brief conversation.  The stories our patients share with us are always more valuable than any monetary donation and real stories resonate with potential patients and donors really well too.

How can you help build the grateful patient program?

  1. Learn about your grateful patient program and ask questions about it. You will feel more confident in sharing the program when you are most knowledgeable. You may have cool ideas to share and it’s awesome to hear other perspectives.
  2. Begin the conversation or ask a member of your development team to help you with it. Once you start having these conversations, they will come more naturally to you.
  3. Again… Focus on customer service. We want our customers to have an excellent experience with us and we know it goes a long way when they do.

What have you done to go above and beyond for a patient or customer?

Development: Building a Culture of Philanthropy in Healthcare

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing hospital philanthropy and the importance of building stakeholder engagement in the health system’s development program.  Development often gets a bad reputation as folks think development employees’ only purpose is to ask for money, but it is so much more.  Development is all about building meaningful, long lasting relationships between the healthcare system and the staff, providers, leadership teams, patients, and community members.  Development at SOMC focuses on providing the community with programs and services needed, while working with stakeholders to improve the health and wellness of the community now, and in the future.  It’s going to be a fun series focusing on development strategies, so here we go!

What are the barriers to doing this?

It can be difficult to understand the need for building a culture of philanthropy in healthcare. Why would patients or others give to hospitals? With the hospital’s focus on providing patients with perfect care, how do I have time to focus on learning anything else?  Even if I do understand the organization’s development program, how am I to possibly explain it to patients and other community members?

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The most compelling reason to give to a healthcare organization is having a positive experience there.  It can be an important part of the healing process, it can be a way to thank a member of the healthcare team for providing great care, it can be the belief in the value the organization offers, or it can be a way to make positive change happen. Devoting a little time to learning about your organization’s development program can ensure your ability to communicate effectively to others and help eliminate misconceptions.  But the most important role that you can play as a healthcare team member or leader is to provide patients with the best experience possible, while the development team can focus on explaining the health system’s development program to stakeholders.

How can you help?

  1. Seek to understand and learn more about your organization’s development program.  Ask questions.  The more you know, the more you can share with interested stakeholders and the better equipped you are to identify programs and services in need of funding.
  2. Build relationships and make connections with your patients or customers.  Be a patient experience superstar! Patients often give back when they have shared an incredible experience with a member of their healthcare team.
  3. Refer patients or other folks interested in giving back to your organization to the development office. While providing funding for programs and services today is very important, the development team is skilled in sharing how donations can impact the future of the healthcare system.

How do you help build a culture of philanthropy at your non-profit organization?