In June, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy released its annual Report on Giving which held seemingly great news for healthcare fundraisers. According to the survey of AHP members, giving to hospitals and healthcare systems increased by 8 percent in 2010 and totaled over $8 billion!
A few days later, one of JGA’s clients, Wishard Hospital Foundation, announced a transformative gift of $40 million from Sydney and Lois Eskenazi that was the largest in the hospital’s history.
So, is it time to pop the champagne and celebrate a renaissance in giving to health organizations? Not exactly.
AHP is the premier professional organization for healthcare fundraisers in the country. So a survey of their members tells us that things are improving at a good pace for organization’s committed to fundraising best practices.
This is an important insight, but it doesn’t mean all health organizations should count on 8 percent growth next year.
In contrast, Giving USA estimates that giving to all healthcare organizations in 2010, including non-AHP members, grew a more modest 1.3 percent. This estimate lines up with what have been historically slow growth rates for healthcare philanthropy following previous recessions.
Also, though the gift to Wishard is among the largest ever given to a public hospital, it is joins a smaller number of extremely generous gifts given to health organizations across the country during and since the Great Recession.
In 2010 there were 11 announced gifts of over $10 million to health organizations, only a slight change from 9 such gifts announced in 2009 and down from the 22 gifts of that type announced in 2008.
AHP’s findings are encouraging and support the idea that in challenging economic times, as in any economic environment, institutions that commit to a high standard of professional fundraising are likely to fare better than those that don’t.