The Ultimate Checklist for Rethinking Your Healthcare Fundraising Strategy

Raise your hand if your healthcare organization was forced to make changes to your fundraising strategy in 2020. Now, keep your hand raised if those changes worked surprisingly well or were long overdue.

There are a lot of hands in the air!

That’s because change is opportunity. Healthcare organizations had the opportunity to be in the spotlight. To show real value to their hospital or health system. To welcome new “COVID donors.”

Instead of going back to your stale fundraising strategies, use this checklist to evaluate your fundraising and take the opportunity to rethink how your organization moves forward.

Get more fundraising strategy ideas in the free eBook: Change Your Outlook: A Guide to Reinvigorate Your Fundraising.

The Ultimate Healthcare Fundraising Checklist


  Evaluate all fundraising activities to understand which are profitable or outdated.

  • Ensure tracking and reporting are consistent across your organization. You need to understand what works—and what doesn’t before you start reinventing.
  • Identify tactics that are not profitable and move away from them.
  • Compare your virtual event stats from 2020 with previous in-person event stats to identify areas of improvement in your new virtual event strategy.

  Look for untapped potential in your database.

  • Use predictive models to rank, score, and segment prospects so you can minimize your investment in unprofitable segments, leaving your limited resources to focus staff time more strategically.
  • Re-evaluate long-time donors who might have upgrade potential or likelihood to give in a new and different way.
  • Use publicly-available philanthropic giving information to identify prospects who may be interested in supporting community health initiatives. Search using key words or organization names to identify donor interests.

  Set gift officers up for success by creating a data-driven process for them to follow.

  • Evaluate gift officer portfolios with three secrets in mind: less than 120 prospects, majority of those prospects who are high capacity + high inclination, and schedule visits with the high capacity + high inclination.
  • Establish your organization’s definition of a virtual visit, considering content of conversation and outcome. Track virtual visits separate from in-person visits for tracking purposes.

  Use your pipeline as a revenue forecast and plan.

  • Determine the fundraising questions you have—especially those questions that are hardest for existing staff to answer easily and quickly—and consider analytics to help answer those questions. You might have different needs now than in prior years.
  • Use proposals as a planning tool. If gift officers are updating expectancies in real-time, then leaders have a reasonably accurate projection of where an organization stands in terms of progress-to-goal.

  Turn “COVID donors” into long-term supporters.

  • Use specialized predictive models to determine the first-time donors most likely to make a second gift, along with a target gift range to understand the donor’s estimated financial capacity.
  • Identify existing donors who may have been making modest donations or gave sporadically, but stepped up during 2020.
  • Step up solicitation and cultivation of these crisis donors using automated emails and strategic calls-to-action.

  Identify areas to grow online fundraising.

  • Use direct marketing personas to tailor online marketing campaigns by grouping donors by similar characteristics, philanthropic motivation, preferred methods of giving, modes of communication, and more.
  • Set your online donation page to default to a monthly giving option to encourage donors to upgrade. Instead of going from $1,000 to $1,500, donors can commit to $125/month.

 Maximize your capacity for events.

  • Implement a hybrid approach to event fundraising with both compelling virtual and safe in-person options. Trade a single large-scale event for a smaller event with larger fundraising minimums, or a series of smaller events over a longer period of time.
  • Communicate your event plans early and often. A lack of information will be interpreted as instability and uncertainty and will not inspire action by participants.

  Evolve your grateful patient fundraising.

  • Include telehealth visits in your grateful patient/family strategy. Consider including a grateful patient story at the beginning of every telemedicine visit or at the end of the visit, ask patients to share feedback.
  • Expand your patient fundraising strategy beyond major gifts by adding patient prospects to your annual or mid-level giving workflow. Use low-cost digital communication strategies – like email – to engage patients with a specific appeal process to build affinity.

By tapping into these ideas, you can jump start your fundraising for 2021. Take this opportunity to rethink change and expand your fundraising strategy to stay relevant, productive, and sustainable. And download our free eBook, Change Your Outlook: A Guide to Reinvigorate Your Fundraising, for more insights on how to successfully implement this checklist in your organization.