Fundraising flat at hospitals, health systems

Nonprofit hospitals and health care systems in the U.S. raised over $8.9 billion in fiscal 2012, unchanged from a year earlier and 7 percent more than in fiscal 2010, a new report says.

The biggest sources of philanthropy in fiscal 2012 for those institutions were major gifts, grants from corporations and foundations, and annual giving, with each of those strategies generating about 20 percent of donated dollars, says the 2012 AHP Report on Giving from the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

Special events accounted for 14.9 percent of donations, and planned giving accounted for 9.5 percent.

Four of five organizations with fundraising expenses of at least $2 million, and organizations that employed seven or more full-time direct fundraising staff, were in the top 25 percent of health care organizations based on total fundraising “production,” says the report, which was based on a survey of nearly 1,700 institutions.

Among the most successful development programs, it says, major gifts accounted for nearly a third of all donations, annual giving accounted for less than a fifth of all donations, and contributions from corporations and foundations accounted for 24.1 percent.

For every dollar spent on fundraising programs, the median return on investment was $3.22 in fiscal 2012, down 2 cents from fiscal 2011.

The cost to raise a dollar was flat at a median of 31 cents.

Among all institutions surveyed, roughly 25 percent of funds contributed were used to pay for construction and renovation projects, compared to 21 percent for patient care programs, 12.9 percent for capital equipment purchases, and 10.8 percent for  general operations.

At teaching and academic hospitals and children’s hospitals, 16 cents for every dollar raised went toward medical research, compared to less than 6 cents per dollar among all institutions surveyed.

Among all institutions, 4.2 percent of donations, on average, were spent on charitable care, compared to 10.3 percent at children’s hospitals, 5.5 percent at tertiary hospitals, and 4.4 percent at community hospitals.

Todd Cohen

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