We are definitely living in interesting times. We are continually reminded about the pandemic and the social distress it’s causing. It’s challenging not to look towards the future with concern. There’s so much uncertainty that it’s almost impossible to imagine what a post-COVID-19 world will look like.

How do we continue the donation momentum? We’ve thought of a few tactics that can keep reminding your local community to give to your foundation.

Tactic #1: Educate your community on unrestricted funds

There has been an increased interest by the general public to help with COVID-19-related funds including funds for front-line works and local hospitals. While most of those funds are earmarked for COVID-19-related funding, it is important to use this opportunity to help your community stakeholders understand more about your mission and your foundation. The more they know about the important work that you do, the more they will likely respond to other appeals to fund your overall mission. It’s time to reinforce that community connection and the importance of your ongoing mission. 

Tactic #2: Educate your community on your mission and objectives continuously

We recently conducted a survey and learned that most people admitted to a hospital didn’t even know about the hospital foundation. While we understand that not all patients are targets, it’s still important to target as many prospective donors as possible because 90% of respondents felt that they would consider a gift of $500 or less to a hospital foundation. Even though this number might seem high, it does show the intent of most discharged patients to help their hospital. But they have to know about the foundation’s mission first to donate. By educating the community on your mission either via direct mail or email campaigns, you will definitely secure new donors that hadn’t been originally targeted.

Tactic #3: Use a multi-channel communications strategy to educate your community

Combining offline and online messages about your foundation strengthens your ability to connect with more people in your community. Younger and older audiences respond differently to outreach methods. We learned in our survey that 1/3 of respondents prefer email campaigns over any other communication channel. It’s a quick, easy to deploy and inexpensive method to educate and secure donations. Most hospital foundations were able to quickly update their websites to seek COVID-19 donations so keep that section going year-round. It’s better to capture 1,000 $100 donations than it is to hope that a $10,000 check comes by year’s end. Keep your local community informed via email about other causes that support the health of the community. People want to hear about all the great things that your foundation is doing to support them so send them a monthly or quarterly email with this information. While some patient records don’t have email addresses, we estimate that about 7% of your total patient census will have an interest in your cause and have an email address present.

As we stated above, the future is full of uncertainty but there are things that can be done to help keep the lights on for all the great work you are doing. People want to help now more than ever and we know that this want will continue in the post-COVID-19 era.