This blog post originally appeared in npENGAGE.
Few industries have seen as much change in the past decade as healthcare. And because the forces shaping the industry are so varied—shifts in the regulatory environment, the evolution of technology, changing consumer needs and expectations—it can be hard to keep up, much less stay ahead.
Savvy healthcare nonprofits and foundations have identified a bright spot among these challenges, and that’s the ability to impact their institution’s bottom line by engaging past and current patients through healthcare philanthropy.
The most successful healthcare nonprofits and foundations are laser focused on this and have shifted from fundraising for “nice to haves” to focusing on day-to-day priorities. These organizations help their patients see the value of paying their bill and being a donor. In fact, among my savviest clients, there’s growing acknowledgement that a well-run grateful patient program is an essential component of their success. And, in my opinion, it is these healthcare nonprofits and foundations that will be most competitive, stable, and well positioned in their communities.
On the programmatic side, this short document is a good reference for the groundwork associated with grateful patient fundraising, and more and more successful programs are powered by healthcare analytics.
Here’s why healthcare nonprofits need analytics-driven fundraising:
Analytics provide focus:
My healthcare clients often tell me they count on working amid constant change, where they need to do more with less, and that efficiency and effectiveness are more important than ever. Increasingly, it’s a matter of doing a limited number of things really well—and my most successful clients have shared that healthcare analytics is the work horse behind their effort. For example:
- Capacity Building: Analytics can do the “heavy lifting” of finding significant capacity in your patient population, and it’s even more important for organizations without a researcher on staff. Development officers need to be equipped with information about how and where to spend their time—and free to focus on meaningful relationships with donors. A daily screening can identify patients with capacity so your gift officers can be in your facilities meeting new potential prospects regularly.
- Prospect Research: If you’re lucky enough to have prospect research expertise on staff, make the most of it with analytics. By utilizing a wealth screening tool, your researchers will spend less time hunting, pecking, and Google searching and can spend more time “moving the needle” meaningfully for your organization.
- Donor Acquisition: Healthcare foundations are focused on growing their base of supporters too. In this case, patients don’t necessarily need to be wealthy, but identifying prospects who are philanthropic and likely to convert to being donors goes a long way. Informing your acquisition efforts with analytics, particularly for more expensive but effective approaches like direct mail, creates the most opportunity in a resource-heavy process. And speaking of that…
Analytics inform the use of resources.
Analytics can help determine where you spend your time, staff, and money. Donors are motivated by good business practices and by the impact of their gift—and ROI is one indicator of success in both areas. Very simply, an understanding of where opportunity exists—and pursuing it with the right resources—is good for business for many reasons.
My clients have used analytics to answer questions like:
- Does the current organization staffing structure support our actual capacity to raise money? For example, a client started screening their inpatient population a year ago and uncovered untapped potential they hadn’t anticipated. They’ve secured some nice gifts working within their current staffing structure, and now that they are established and have demonstrated success, they will hire a second major gift officer to help cultivate significant gifts.
- What do we know about our patient population that can help drive increased engagement? Using analytics to uncover the behavioral aspects that motivate donors can help healthcare organizations communicate with potential prospects in the best way. It may help gift officers understand if a specific physician should be part of the solicitation process or perhaps if presenting the potential donor with a case study detailing cutting edge research would be meaningful. The possibilities are endless, and data can help make the right decisions.
- Can we anticipate operational needs for the organization based on long term potential? Once you begin identifying new prospects and engaging them—coupled with the influx of new patients every day—it’s a matter of managing a growing organization and the related budgetary and staffing needs. Analytics help get ahead of those steps.
With these types of insights, healthcare nonprofits and foundations make significant strides, not only raising more money, which is always fundamental, but doing it with fundraising staff who are more secure in their day-to-day practices and with thoughtful ideas about growth and adaptation organization-wide. That’s because…
Targeted use of healthcare analytics informs and can drive strategic planning.
Effective use of analytics can help your healthcare nonprofit or foundation make short-term, tactical decisions that affect long-term strategy–and ultimately the success of your fundraising efforts. Pacesetting grateful patient programs have the advantage of foresight, balanced by a culture of nimbleness and flexibility.
It’s a best-in-class understanding of why, when, and how they “do what they do” that differentiates them.