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Grateful Patient Programs: An Intelligent Fundraising Guide

Learn more about how DonorSearch’s AI capabilities can help your grateful patient program.

Grateful patient fundraising programs, sometimes called “Grateful Giving” programs, are an essential component of funding healthcare institutions so that they can give the best care possible to their patients. These programs not only help hospitals and other healthcare providers, but they also give patients a chance to express their gratitude to the healthcare providers that made a difference in their lives or the lives of their loved ones. 

However, while providing a philanthropic way for patients and healthcare providers to connect, this type of fundraising comes with challenges. In particular, many healthcare fundraises face the challenge of balancing solicitations with the sensitive nature of patient/doctor relationships and preserving patient privacy. 

To help you navigate these challenges, we’ve created this guide to help you run a grateful patient program that utilizes artificial intelligence for maximum success. In the guide, we’ll cover. 

  1. What is Grateful Patient Fundraising?
  2. How to Start an Intelligent Grateful Patient Program
  3. 5 Grateful Patient Best Practices

By utilizing a superior solution with AI capabilities, your team can create an excellent grateful patient program and philanthropy experience for the patients at your healthcare institution. If you’re ready to see how AI and grateful giving go hand in hand, let’s dive right in. 

Get all of your essential questions about grateful patient programs answered.

What is Grateful Patient Fundraising?

Grateful giving programs foster a culture of philanthropy in order to raise money to support the hospital’s work and future growth. 

The goal of grateful patient fundraising programs is to create opportunities for healthcare organizations, usually hospitals, to connect with their patients through philanthropy. Through grateful patient programs, hospitals identify prospects who had a positive experience and have the affinity and capacity to give to their organization. These relationships are then further developed to give patients the opportunity to engage philanthropically with that healthcare institution.

Why do hospitals need grateful patient fundraising programs?

Hospitals use grateful patient programs to help raise capital for new technology and equipment, staffing, and facility improvements while giving patients and their families the opportunity to give back to the hospital that helped them or their loved ones. Patients also make use of grateful patient programs to honor individual staff members or departments that played meaningful roles in their healthcare.

Beyond increasing funds for the hospital, grateful patient programs are also an opportunity to help improve the reputation of an organization. Hospitals serve a role in the community, they are also brands with reputations. A thriving grateful patient program is a surefire way to build a reputation as a reliable, caring, and successful hospital.

What makes a grateful patient program successful?

While a grateful patient program’s primary goal is to bring in donations, that is not the only important criteria for evaluating a grateful patient program’s success, This is especially true for new programs. A good grateful giving program also prioritizes building a genuine base of dedicated donors.

Developing authentic and deep relationships with grateful patients boosts your program’s authority and helps build your reputation — dedicated donors and advocates will be more than happy to speak well of your program and your hospital. Forming these relationships is a crucial part of ensuring success for your grateful patient program.

Beyond this more qualitative measure of success, your organization should look at: 

  • The return on investment (ROI) 
  • Average gift size
  • How long it takes to convert a prospect into a donor
  • Response rates to different communications.
  • Number of prospects identified vs. donors acquired
  • Number of patient visits to the hospital vs. total money donated
  • Number of major gifts secured 

Combining these crucial KPIs with the qualitative feedback you receive from donors will help you measure the success of your program and improve as you go. 

These steps will help you use AI to start (or improve) your own grateful patient program.

How to Start an Intelligent Grateful Patient Program

When building a grateful patient program from the ground up, creating a thorough implementation strategy will set your program up for success right from the start. However, even if your program isn’t brand new, it’s worth ensuring that you have these key steps completed. If your program has been around for a while, some of these may need revisiting to give your program some new life. 

  1. Get your key clinical partners involved. Securing grateful giving donations requires the work of a whole team, including physicians, nurses, and other staff. While you want to give them active roles, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not responsible for soliciting donations – that’s the fundraiser’s job.
  2. Identify what staffing and budget resources you need. To get started, you need to be clear on who is involved, whether you need to hire major gift officers (and how many), and if there are any other resources that will require investment.
  3. Research privacy laws and your institution’s own privacy regulations. It’s essential to be up to date with patient privacy rules and regulations that will apply to you and your staff and ensure that all systems comply with these regulations. 
  4. Make sure you have the tools to intelligently manage data. When it comes to the sensitive data involved in healthcare fundraising, you need more than your run-of-the-mill data solution. Explore intelligent data solutions like DonorSearch to make sure your data is not only secure but used effectively to aid the success of your program. 
  5. Get the support of hospital leadership. Even though they likely won’t be involved in the day-to-day operations of your program, you will need hospital leadership on board to ensure that your program runs smoothly. Leadership support can reduce the amount of red tape you face in the future.
  6. Implement a plan for rolling out the program. Once you’ve gotten your key players on board, have identified what resources you need, and have created a budget, it’s time to plan your program rollout. Create a detailed plan that identifies everyone’s roles and responsibilities and a timeline for the various stages of rolling out the program.
  7. Begin screening prospects with DonorSearch Ai. Once you’re up and running, you’ll need to start screening prospects. DonorSearch’s AI can make this process more effective and more efficient with detailed predictions to help your gift officers make more successful solicitations. 

These steps, whether you’re starting a program or reviewing your existing program for foundational gaps, will get you into good shape to move forward. Once you’ve set yourself up with these steps, make sure you and your staff are on the same page about best practices to maintain the quality of your program. 

Follow these grateful patient program best practices to ensure success.

5 Grateful Patient Best Practices

1. Keep data secure and organized

Because there are so many rules and regulations when it comes to patient data, it’s crucial that you have a secure system in place for managing donor data. The last thing you want to do is violate a patient’s privacy. Make sure you use HIPAA-compliant software and invite your compliance officer to weigh in right from the start. 

At DonorSearch, all of our employees undergo thorough HIPAA training in addition to following our strict data security and file processing methods. We designed these methods with data security in mind and are a leading factor in why DonorSearch is one of the most reliable partners in healthcare fundraising. When it comes to data, DonorSearch is an expert. 

2. Utilize AI for robust prospect profiles and predictions

In addition to managing your donor data in a secure way, you want to use that data to create robust profiles and identify your top prospects for stewardship. While it’s certainly possible to do prospect research manually, the modern fundraiser knows there’s a better way. DonorSearch has the next generation of fundraising tools that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to not only more efficiently identify prospects, but do it more accurately than ever before. 

DonorSearch’s advanced AI and machine learning technology has incredibly accurate prospect prediction capabilities that can revolutionize your donor stewardship. Some of the predictions include:

  • Who’s going to donate in the next 30 days
  • Non-donors most likely to make their first gift
  • Donors most likely to donate again
  • Donors most likely to give over $250
  • Donors most likely to respond (engagement score)
  • Best way to reach out to a donor

While artificial intelligence is great for identifying and prioritizing your prospects, the added benefit of machine learning means that the longer you use DonorSearch’s products, the better the algorithm will become at making predictions for your unique base of donors and prospects. 

These five best practices will help your grateful patient program succeed.

3. Create a strong solicitation plan

Once you have your predictions, your team members can begin building relationships and soliciting donations from prospects. Thanks to AI, these predictions are more accurate than ever, making your job even easier. However, that doesn’t mean your team shouldn’t still approach prospects with care. 

These relationships are still more sensitive than most because of the healthcare context. Your team needs to be extra wary of making these solicitations feel transactional. As with all fundraising, donors need to not only have a capacity to give, but also a strong affinity and propensity to give before you approach them.

4. Provide robust training for hospital staff

Because you are collaborating with individuals, such as physicians, who are not trained in philanthropic work, you may need to provide additional training. Providing this training can help hospital staff navigate patient relationships in this new context. While healthcare professionals are more versed in the sensitive nature of patient relationships, they are less likely to know how to encourage patients to become donors without risking those trusted relationships.

Creating a stronger relationship between physicians and fundraisers is crucial because it ultimately increases the success of your program. Make sure you approach your grateful patient program as a collaborative program, not just philanthropic experts coming in to solicit donations from patients. 

5. Track your grateful patient program’s progress

If you are just starting out with grateful patient fundraising, resist the urge to track everything. We recommend starting with the list outlined above and identifying only 3-5 key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you measure early success. 

It’s important to actively track your program’s progress so that you can address problem spots early on and make improvements. Not only will your team benefit from your proactive problem-solving efforts, but your donors will appreciate getting to participate in a program that is well organized. Additionally, keeping a record of donor contributions and the impact they’ve made allows you to communicate potential impact to new prospects during solicitations. 

If you and your team make proper use of intelligent data management and predictions while following best practices, you’ll be in great shape to ensure the success of your program. 

Additional Resources

DonorSearch’s AI can take your grateful patient program to the next level.

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