How to Start A Grateful Patient Program at Your Healthcare Organization

Your daily fundraising activities are vital to your healthcare organization—the money you raise helps provide superior patient care and ground breaking research. Healthcare fundraisers find success by engaging with the people who walk through their doors every day.  Inpatients, outpatients, friends, physicians, and visitors are all potential supporters.

But how do you even begin prospecting, much less fundraising, from the people around you?

Increasingly, organizations of all types and sizes are seeing success with setting up Grateful Patient Fundraising Programs. The main goal of these programs is to raise awareness of your institution and communicate the heartfelt stories of your patients. Through these stories, you can also increase financial support through your grateful patients and others around you to further you patient care and research.

While these programs can be very successful, you do have to complete some advanced planning to get started. Whether you have 3 staff members or 30, focus on outpatients or long-term inpatients, or have multiple locations across a community—with some preparation you, too, can create a grateful patient program for your organization.

Follow these steps to get started:

1. Define Goals & Resources

To get started, first you need to figure out where you want to go. Do you have a general fundraising goal next year? Do you want to reach more patients? Who on your team would be best to be in charge of rounding visits? Figuring out where you want to end up helps you with creating the beginning setup.

2. Plan for Data

A big hurdle for all organizations large and small is tracking and protecting patient data and privacy. You need to provide access for your staff to review relevant patient history, but you also need to be mindful of HIPAA compliance and the systems you have in place to record fundraising efforts.

There are a variety of data points you can freely track for patients – demographics, service dates, physician, department of treatment – and there are a variety of items you need written patient consent to track – diagnosis, nature of treatments and services – determined by HIPAA laws.

You also have to consider what type of database(es) would be used to track funds raised, solicitation and contact history, and patient data. Your systems need to be able to house your patient data securely, be able to segment groups for further communication, and be able to return all relevant history to your staff easily and quickly. With the right systems and the right data assets, you can quickly output visit files for rounding, direct response sonication lists, and track patient giving history and propensity.

3. Tell Your Stories

Considering the main goal of a grateful patient program is to advance your message and value case, you need to plan on how you are going to tell your stories. First stop should be your internal stakeholders and gatekeepers – your nurses, doctors, and volunteers. Share with them your strategies, your goals, and your patient stories. These individuals need to become your ambassadors to drive the patient engagement and access. Chances are they have their own stories they can share and use in your messaging.

Talk with your patients when you can. For initial meetings make sure you keep it brief and high level such as, “Hi, my name is [John] and I want to welcome you, please let me know if you need anything during your stay here.” Once you have a relationship with you patient ask them about their experience and invite them to become a part of your hospital through exclusive event and leadership opportunities.

When asking for support, be as clear as possible with why you are raising money and how the money will be used. Asking for “$100” may be easy, but asking for “$100 to provide blankets to new mothers” really connects the mission and the ask. Keep the stories relevant and personal as much as possible to resonate with your target audiences.

Finally, make sure you thank all donors and provide updates – externally and internally – of your fundraising efforts and what you are able to provide with the new funding received.

With a little planning and considerations, just about any organization can maximize the engagement from your Grateful Patients.

To read a bit more on how to start, download our whitepaper – A Quick-Start Guide to Successful Grateful Patient Fundraising, which will take you through the steps and questions to consider when starting out.

Remember A Few Key Steps:

  • Set Goals & Objectives
  • Assign Resources & Processes
  • Maintain HIPAA Compliance
  • Communicate the Program Internally
  • Screen Key Prospects
  • Engage With Patients
  • Tell Your Stories
  • Measure & Report

Learn More

Check out our tips for building a Grateful Patient Program, what it takes to identify major donors, and how to measure success for your healthcare institution.