Hire More Fundraising Rain-Makers During Recession, New AHP Study Concludes

    Major Gifts & Planned Giving Held Their Own as Downturn Took Hold

    WASHINGTON, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the recession's grip
tightened on nonprofit hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. and
Canada, high performing philanthropic fundraisers in charge of major gifts and
planned giving programs were often their most effective and efficient
rain-makers, according to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP).

    These and other important findings come from the latest series of reports
from the AHP Performance Benchmarking Service for fiscal year 2007, which
takes in the early months of the current recession. The AHP's annual surveys
examine the performance of organizations, such as hospital-affiliated
foundations, that raise funds for nonprofit health care facilities.

    "Health care executives and boards should think twice before downsizing
their fundraising staff and mix of fundraising activities to cope with the
recession," said AHP President and CEO William McGinly. "The data confirm that
such cost-cutting would be penny-wise but dollar-foolish, because hospital
services and daily operations need philanthropic support. Rising joblessness
is challenging nonprofit hospitals and health care systems to find the
wherewithal to deal with growing numbers of uninsured patients while they cope
with inadequate reimbursements and accelerating expenses."

    One bright spot came from major gifts given by individual contributors,
which averaged $55,000 per gift. The highest performing fundraising
organizations put stronger, longer-term emphasis on cultivating major gifts,
investing on average three times more than other surveyed organizations but
earning five times more in high-dollar gifts.

    "Developing major gifts and planned giving is the type of fundraising
that calls upon the skills of the most seasoned professionals," said AHP Board
Chair Lisa Hillman, senior vice president and chief development officer for
the Anne Arundel Health System based in Annapolis, Md. "It takes experienced
and talented major gift and planned giving officers to build crucial
relationships with donors that result in significant support for the
institutions they represent."

    The National Bureau of Economic Research has deduced that the recession
began in December of 2007. That year's AHP Performance Benchmarking Service
data confirm that a difficult transition was underway. Compared to earlier
years, fewer donated dollars were coming from government, businesses and
foundations, while the cost-to-raise-a-dollar was rising and
return-on-investment was drifting downward for annual giving and special

    Despite this trend, the benchmarking survey clearly showed that highest
returns from annual gifts and special events were earned by fundraisers who
invested the most in staff and resources devoted to these programs. "Annual
giving and special events remain worthwhile sources of contributions from new
and repeat donors," McGinly said. "While not achieving the highest ROI, they
provide the base in order to succeed with major gift and planned giving

    Members of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy include
fundraising professionals, development staff, public relations professionals,
trustees, marketing professionals, administrators, and executives interested
in health care fundraising. They represent more than 2,200 health care
facilities in the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, AHP launched its Performance
Benchmarking Service, which establishes standard metrics and industry best
practices for fundraising success. Forty-six U.S. and Canadian nonprofit
hospitals and multi-facility health care systems took part in the 2007
benchmarking program.


For further information:

For further information: Kathy Renzetti of the Association for
Healthcare Philanthropy, +1-703-532-6243, kathy@ahp.org Web Site:

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