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About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, North Carolina, is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. Mission Health was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems from 2012-2015 by Truven Health Analytics, formerly Thomson Reuters, becoming the only health system in North Carolina to achieve this recognition.



Mission Health has the core objective to improve the health of the people of western North Carolina by helping each person to be well, get well, and stay well.

The Department of Philanthropy serves the philanthropic efforts across six regional hospital foundations. As the last independently owned hospital system in western North Carolina, Mission Health’s Department of Philanthropy connects the generosity of the community with strategically formulated programs that provide the structure for a sustainable healthcare model for the 879,000 people they serve. Mission Health System’s greater aim is to ensure access to the highest quality healthcare across the region.

The Challenge
Like many others in the healthcare industry, Mission Health relies heavily on its ability to raise money. The department boasts 12 employees who are solely devoted to fundraising to support its cause and operating budget. With these challenges in place, understanding more about its potential prospects’ wealth and propensity to give is extremely important for Mission Health to help better target its philanthropic efforts.

Heather Parkinson, Mission Health’s Manager of Development Research & Data Analysis, understood these challenges when she joined the philanthropy department in 2014. Her primary initiative was to figure out how to take the existing stale data and make it actionable. “I wanted to be able to make decisions based on our database,” says Parkinson. However, she realized that doing so would require some additional work and a change in mindset around the use of data within the organization.

The Solution
Since Parkinson came into her role, Mission Health’s philanthropy group has become increasingly data-driven. The group had previously screened its database of prospects through one of WealthEngine’s competitors, but found a number of donors in the system with very inaccurate data. They decided to run a test with WealthEngine and found a massive increase in the quality of the wealth information. “I think the most valuable part of using WealthEngine for me has been the accuracy of the data,” says Parkinson.

Mission Health introduced WealthEngine into their process by integrating it into their Grateful Patient Program, eventually expanding the relationship to also include screening and search capabilities. They have found that they get the most benefit using the P2G (Propensity to Give) Score, Giving Capacity, and Net Worth values for smarter segmentation and identification of high-value prospects.

Through the inclusion of WealthEngine’s comprehensive and accurate data set, Mission Health refocused their efforts to spend more time on those that were most likely to give to the cause and less on the ones unlikely to convert.

Mission Health has seen outstanding results, which Parkinson says is due to their data-driven culture shift. “I’m proud of the progress of our Grateful Patient Program and where it has taken us. We’re now focusing on the right individuals and engaging them effectively as they come into the system.” She has also seen this spread to other components of their efforts. “We no longer have a meeting to discuss donors, portfolios, or engagements without having the screening data behind it.”

There is no doubt that this shift has led to amazing results. Some of the most significant ones include:

  • $16.2 million in fundraising dollars raised over the last full fiscal year
  • Increased event-driven donations, including a 140% increase from an event in 2014 to 2016
  • Successfully executed Purposeful Engagement events that have generated over 67% participation and a 6x return on investment

Next Steps
Mission Health added a layer of insight to their fundraising efforts and saw amazing results. They are currently working to further expand the program. Parkinson wants to use WealthEngine data to support direct mail initiatives. She plans to identify and focus on potential donors that might show a smaller gift capacity as an initial test for a direct mail campaign.

Parkinson adds, “I want to find the sweet spot for various capacity levels and build out programs for each of them with WealthEngine’s accurate P2G score as a base.” As Mission Health continues to grow its fundraising efforts in the future and expand into other philanthropic channels, WealthEngine will remain a trusted partner.

To learn more about Mission Health or to donate to their organization, please visit their Department of Philanthropy website.