Past patients or patient families have a natural affinity for your hospital and are usually good prospects for fundraising. As you likely know, those who are solicited within 30-60 days of their hospital encounter are more likely to give than those who don’t receive a timely solicitation.

It’s this combination of affinity and results that lead many hospitals and hospital foundations to develop Grateful Patient Programs. 

At the most basic level, a Grateful Patient Program is a systematic approach to cultivating past patients to become hospital donors.  Programs usually take a data-driven approach; supplementing your patient records with greater insights into potential donors capacity to give, propensity to give and other lifestyle attributes.  Outreach might involve anything from direct mail or newsletters, to in-person meetings or direct solicitations.  Implemented correctly, a Grateful Patient Program can become a significant revenue stream with a strong return on investment.

While Grateful Patient Programs vary significantly in scope and size, depending on the hospital environment, there are several keys to keep in mind when developing or expanding such a program: 

  1. Get internal groups on board and involve them in planning and execution: ensuring that hospital administration, legal/compliance, IT and even physicians and nursing staff are both aware of and supportive of the program will help create a culture of philanthropy and make the program run more smoothly
  2. Determine your program objectives: Are you building your annual fund? Cultivating future major givers? Creating services for current donors? Knowing what you want to do will help you define the type of data you need and how often you need it.
  3. Develop an action plan for the data: Who should have access to your patient screening data and for what purpose. How to classify or segment these new prospects. What sort of outreach will you do and how frequently
  4. Define metrics for success: Whether you use number of gifts, dollar amount or frequency of giving, define reasonable metrics by which you can demonstrate success, recognizing that it is unlikely to happen overnight. 

You can hear more in depth discussions of these key points, along with other expert insight from industry veterans, in our recorded webinar Developing a Grateful Patient Program.

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