By Drew Fox Jordan • December 9, 2021

    5 Barriers To Improving Your Grateful Patient Program

    5 barriers to grateful patient

    As a healthcare fundraiser, you know the potential value of a grateful patient program. After all, they can be excellent tools for discovering new donors and supporters for healthcare organizations. With a fresh memory of care received, these prospective donors have a built-in affinity for their health care providers. 

    Sounds great, in theory, of course. The downside? Personally appealing to this continually growing pool of potential grateful patients can simply make fundraiser outreach a challenge. 

    If you’re like many fundraisers working within healthcare organizations across the country, you’ve most likely experienced this reality, along with a handful of other challenges that make it difficult to execute effectively.

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    In fact, I’m willing to bet you’ve personally come across a number of our top barriers to improving your healthcare fundraising:

    Disorganized Programs and Processes

    When it comes to your grateful patience program, you want to be as efficient as possible. Even with the best of intentions, this can prove difficult if your systems and processes don’t allow for it. A finely tuned grateful patient program is critical to hospital and healthcare organizations, especially during times where elective surgeries are being canceled or postponed due to COVID surges overwhelming hospitals, and revenue is down. Without a defined system for managing touchpoints, many organizations find it difficult to maintain such a program.

    Insufficient Capacity 

    Any fundraiser will tell you that there’s a limit to the number of donors they can build relationships with and personally manage. When you compare the size of your fundraising team to the number of patients and prospects coming through the door, the ratio is almost baffling. Not to mention, knowing how to prioritize outreach or when to communicate (let alone the right message at the right time). The question is, how do you meet your team where it is right now to help them scale their efforts? Having the right system in place to expand their capacity is essential to maintaining and growing a meaningful grateful patient program.

    Misinterpreting The “Why”

    For those who question the ethical nature of grateful patient programs, I encourage you to adjust your perspective. While these situations can be sensitive and you should always approach solicitation with the utmost respect for the patients, remember also that your patience screening and data accuracy can help you avoid negative scenarios. On top of this, remember that these programs are impactful because they can extend the same quality of care to people who normally would not receive it otherwise. Grateful patient programs can be a means of paying it forward for those who experienced an emotional, life-changing event.

    Finite Timelines

    One of the things that is totally unique about fundraising for a grateful patient program is the finite timelines associated with them. The nature of the connection between the patient and the hospital is determined by the type of surgery they had, the type of procedure they underwent, and the timeline with which it occurred, which can lead to dramatically different patient scenarios.

    Compare this to fundraising in higher education, where an alumni’s connection to the university can grow over time. In healthcare, the reverse actually tends to be true, adding a unique component to the time between the patient's experience with your hospital and the outreach from a gift officer. The need to streamline screenings and move to action is that much more vital for healthcare fundraisers, whose success rate for charitable gifts will drop dramatically the more time that passes after the patient experience has ended.

    A Lack of Quality Data

    Without quality data, the likelihood that a fundraiser can effectively connect and solicit a gift is low. Being able to whittle down key components of patient information and quickly analyze and act are essential to the success of a grateful patient program. If the data isn’t as up-to-date or as reliable as possible, a fundraiser will struggle to build a relationship within the context of something a patient may be interested in. And without that, time and opportunity can be quickly lost.

    Of course, the barriers that are preventing your grateful patient program from reaching the next level won't go away without action. Download Gravyty's guide to better healthcare fundraising and start your journey towards a better way to philanthropy today:

    Gravyty Grateful Patient White Paper - UPMC Pinnacle COVER



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