Giving to health care grows

Donations to U.S. nonprofit hospitals and health care systems grew 8.2 percent to $8.94 billion in fiscal 2011, while the cost of raising those dollars hovered near post-recession highs, a new report says.

The total raised in cash plus pledges was up 4 percent from $8.59 billion in fiscal 2008, the previous record-high set before the economy collapsed, and represented the second year of growth since fiscal 2009, went it fell to $7.64 billion, says the AHP Report on Giving from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

Cash accounted for 71.2 percent of the funds raised in fiscalĀ  2011, down from 75.1 percent in fiscal 2010, while pledges represented 28.8 percent, says the report, based on a web-based survey that generated 469 usable responses in April.

The number of donors grew over 2 percent in fiscal 2011, while the number of gifts grew 4 percent.

Institutions responding to the survey raised a median $3.24 for each dollar spent, up 19 cents from fiscal 2010, with academic institutions raising a median $7.58 per dollar spent, the highest of any subgroup.

The overall return on investment was down from $4.22 raised per dollar spent in fiscal 2004 and $4.17 in fiscal 2006.

Fundraising costs grew less than 3 percent in fiscal 2011, down slightly from an increase of 4 percent in fiscal 2010

The cost to raise a dollar fell to 31 cents, down 2 cents from fiscal 2010 but still above the pre-recession level of 29 cents in fiscal 2007.

Fundraising productivity higher at bigger organizations.

Organizations with seven or more full-time employees raised a median $4.33 for each dollar spent, compared to $2.60 for those with only one employee.

Organizations that were 10 to 15 years old raised a median $4.40 for each dollar spent, compared to $3.22 for programs older than 15 years old, and $1.77 for programs five years old or younger.

Philanthropic resources most often funded construction and renovations, equipment purchases and general operations.

Community benefit programs and charitable care received nearly 19 percent of all donated dollars, compared to 8 percent for research and teaching.

Todd Cohen

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