Ethical Philanthropy for the Healthcare Sector – Strategic Tips by Jonah Engler

Updated on November 7, 2020

From raising awareness on breast cancer to fighting AIDS and a whole range of deadly afflictions in between, almost everyone identifies with the healthcare industry and is predisposed well to healthcare philanthropy. For the fundraising team of a hospital or an NGO, it is these sentimental connections that provide the basis of appeals for funds needed to treat more people. The real challenge that fundraisers face is to earn the support of donors without putting themselves in uncomfortable positions or coming across as insensitive. Some practical tips for organizing ethical philanthropy for the healthcare sector

Jonah Engler Tip No.1 – Determine the Strategy for Development of Healthcare Philanthropy 

You need to develop a strategy for your fundraising campaigns so that before approaching target donors for funds, you are clear about where the funds need to be applied in order of priority. You need to establish the objectives of the fundraising so that you can develop all your tactics around it. Developing a case for support will help to demonstrate how the fundraising campaign will fit into your healthcare facility’s goals and objectives. Even though each case for support will be customized keeping in mind the fundraising plans, it will invariably include the mission and vision of your healthcare facility, its origins, and the impact made so far, the need for the current funds sought to be raised as well as the envisaged challenges and solutions. It should also specify the budget and the long-term advantages of the project.

Jonah Engler Tip No.2 – Find Out Who Your Fundraising Prospects Are 

Fundraising for healthcare has widespread appeal to a large cross-section of people, all of whom can support healthcare philanthropy in unique ways. You need to cast as wide a net as possible when researching your prospective donors. Typically, your best bets will be those who have some sort of a relationship, personal or professional, with your healthcare facility. These will generally be physicians, grateful patients, hospital employees, suppliers and vendors, community members, foundations, and corporations. By performing research on the prospects, you will be able to identify and focus your energies on cultivating the donors with the most promise. Pervious donation activity is a good indicator of the likelihood of prospects contributing to your project. According to, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged to donate $100 million to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Jonah Engler Tip No.3 – Involve the Entire Hospital in the Fundraising Drive

Raising funds and advocating for the hospital is not the task of solely the fundraising team. It is necessary for both the development officers and the hospital administration to work together for optimal fundraising, recommends Jonah Engler. The team should ideally comprise a fundraising development committee to coordinate campaigns, soliciting corporate sponsorship and gifts; major gift officers who are tasked with identifying prospects, cultivating donor relationships, and promoting opportunities for fundraising, the hospital administration, and doctors, nurses, and all other employees.

Jonah Engler Tip No.4 – Segment Your Donor Data

As can be appreciated, fundraising for healthcare initiatives can accrue in various kinds and from diverse sources. This makes it important to be certain that the right donor audience is being addressed with the most valuable information. This calls for proper segmentation of donors preferably with the help of CRM software. The efforts will be to analyze each donor in terms of donor type, donor status, and preferred method of giving, past donation or healthcare advocacy profile, and even the type of connection with specific health issues. By using this information, you will be better placed to send customized communications that will encourage their interest in different ways of associating themselves with the donation campaign. While you can talk to prospects better using segmentation data, it is important that you also devote enough time to clean and refine donor data by updating information, deleting duplicate or inactive records. The better and more refined your data is, the better your chances of being able to develop personalized strategies for fundraising and winning support.

Jonah Engler Tip No.5 – Arrange Effective Donor Stewardship

It is no secret that healthcare fundraising is usually driven by those who have been personally impacted. This makes it important to implement a robust donor stewardship strategy to retain loyal supporters. This strategy will ensure that you can recognize and thank the donors for their support soon after their charitable acts. Effective actions include sending out the receipts and processing the gifts to acknowledge that you have received their donations, informing them how exactly their contribution has been put to use and how it has helped the community or a particular recipient, setting up giving societies for donors to join and interact with other donors and receive fundraising merchandise, hosting events to thank donors for their contributions and more. Each donor must receive a personalized thank-you note acknowledging their thoughtful contribution.

Jonah Engler Tip No.6 – Reinforce the Healthcare Philanthropy Annual Fund 

Even though donors are far more likely to respond to calls for support on specific issues with a distinct healthcare goal, a robust annual fund is of immense utility in achieving success for larger fundraising endeavors. While there are multiple ways of strengthening your annual fund, it may help to encourage donors, especially grateful patients and physicians, to donate planned gifts like life insurance policies, designing and marketing a branded online form for requesting donations, applying deductions to the payroll of employees, coordinating outreach with prospective donors using segmented data, organizing fundraising events, etc. Having an annual fund with a healthy balance can be very helpful for distributing aid to those in distress, upgrading equipment, paying for staff salaries, renovating the facility, all around the year as well as a fallback when there is a shortfall in any fundraising campaign.


Medical facilities conventionally have a very strong appetite for funds, required as they are to take the lead in many community healthcare activities as well as bearing the cost of treatment for patients who are unable to meet their expenses. Having a funding program that is professionally envisaged, established, and managed can help to connect well with prospective donors for event-specific or annual fund donations. Putting in a well-planned strategy will ensure that approaching well-wishers can be a year-round affair instead of a one-time contribution.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.