While there are many new things we’ve learned during the COVID-19 crisis, one that has stood out is that people want to help each other. Whether it’s ordering take-out at your favorite local restaurant to help keep the doors open or donating meals to front-line workers, people want to help others in their communities. Although hospital foundations may have seen a recent spike in donations, they probably haven’t all come from major gifts donors – they have come from community stakeholders who want to donate in smaller amounts. These interested community members have always been there but are often ignored because they aren’t flagged by wealth screening technology since their annual household income is less than $1 million.

In Brightway Data’s nationwide survey of patients who were recently admitted to a hospital, we found some interesting data points that go against what is traditionally done. We learned these untapped prospects with wealth less than $1 million are willing and able to donate to a good cause more frequently.

  1. 90% of respondents felt that they would consider a gift of $500 or less to a hospital foundation: Most hospital foundations go after the big whales or the major gifts donors. The problem is that all other non-profit organizations are doing the same. Screening consumers for wealth indicators is a big business and is the standard business process for most non-profits including other hospitals in your market. This means that you all are likely pitching the same folks across multiple charities. However, by going after donors who would donate in smaller amounts, you can get in a regular cadence of more frequent donations. The survey results don’t imply that you should not continue these efforts, but it only points out that there is a large market available to you that needs to be informed and included.
  2. 63% felt that they would be open to donating more than once a year: The survey respondents stated that they would donate either monthly or quarterly, but the opportunities are endless. Wouldn’t it be better to drive 1,000 $100 donations in the next couple months vs. hoping larger contributions will come in by December? There are active community members who want to donate and be included on a valuable mission. They just might not be your focus under your current business process. This is also an important strategy to improve affinity for your organization on a wider community-based scale.
  3. 1/3 felt that an email was their preferred contact method: While the majority still wish to receive direct mail, email is a quick go-to-market tactic and an inexpensive communication method. If you have their email, why not send an email out periodically to remind them of the good work your foundation is doing? Research suggests that the average person checks their email 15 times a day so there is opportunity for brand awareness. Be careful in managing your frequency so you don’t become a nuisance.
  4. Only 18% felt comfortable talking about the foundation with their doctor or nurse: This was the most surprising learning since this is one of the main strategies of Grateful Patient programs. There are many strategies for this type of engagement, but the average patient is not comfortable having this discussion with their care providers at time of service so be cognizant to the risks here.

What is the call the action? Approximately 25% of the average patient census will be patients with wealth estimates less than $1 million and an inclination to give. If we consider patients with emails present in their patient record, you can expand your prospect universe by approximately 8%. By incorporating these additional emails into your ongoing campaigns, you will have a manageable, actionable and cost-effective outreach strategy. 

The healthcare landscape is dynamic and ever-changing so it’s not surprising that hospital foundations need to adapt as quickly as health systems do. In our survey, we learned that there are two types of audiences:

  1. Consumers who respond to traditional outreach for major gifts and may donate
  2. Consumers who are ignored but might respond to email and/or direct mail campaigns asking for lesser amounts

Tapping into the second audience is what we think will result in a fruitful relationship for both the active community donor and the hospital foundation. We uncovered a ton of fascinating data in our survey. Download our white paper to learn more about the survey results we discovered.