By: Paul St Onge
In order to build a long-term pipeline of annual, mid, and major donors, hospital foundations should consider expanding their patient prospect pool and developing the grateful patient program to include the majority of the patient population. Email can be an efficient channel to build donor relationships that convert over the long term.
Most hospital foundations focus the majority of their budget and energy on their top tier of donors. And why wouldn’t you? Most of your revenue likely comes from a small percentage of your donor file.
Most hospitals spend time and money working with wealth screening platforms like G2G from Gobel Group or Target Analytics from Blackbaud. These platforms help you identify your best annual, mid and major prospects for your direct mail and gift officer outreach efforts.
As a result, most patients that visit the hospital are never contacted via mail or gift officer outreach. These patients might be the foundation for your future mid-level and major donors.
Email, as a channel, offers a cost-effective way to reach the majority of your hospital patients. We would still advocate focusing Direct Mail and Gift Officer outreach on the top tier, but email would give us the ability to reach just about everyone else in your hospital system after developing a suppression strategy.
We call this a Digital Grateful Patient Program. This strategy would allow you to nurture relationships with potential and mid-level donors that may not meet the wealth-scoring criteria today or were misclassified by your wealth screening tool.
The conversion that we can expect in the initial emails is quite low. These are cold emails to someone new, so we need to moderate our expectations. But with the right content, over the long term, you can build relationships that lead to conversions at key moments like Doctors’ Day, Giving Tuesday or End of Year.
There are a few reasons why this strategy is only adopted by a minority of hospitals today:
|Pricing Limitations – There may be pricing limitations in your current CRM, like Raiser’s Edge, that don’t make it feasible to import and email all of your patients.||This is solvable by considering a separate email platform from your CRM like Luminate Online or Emma.|
|Donor Communication – You may be worried about offending or being too aggressive towards someone that just visited the hospital.||This is solvable by not being as forward in your initial communication and having a more long-term approach to your conversion. For example, your initial communication may focus more on the community and impact versus asking for a donation.|
|Return on Investment (ROI) – This could be a concern, especially for a smaller foundation office with limited development time and resources. Because this is more of a long-term effort, it is hard to justify taking time away from prospecting constituents that may not convert today.||This is solvable by working with Doing Good Digital to outsource this initiative, so you are not taking time from your short-term prospecting.|
By launching a digital grateful patient program to the majority of your patient file, you can build a long-term sustainable pipeline for your hospital foundation. This is why you should expand the patient prospect pool as early as possible.
Please contact us today if you would like to discuss how you can set up your grateful patient program.