Converting grateful patients into financial supporters

December 2, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Hospital fundraisers have found that patients who are grateful for the care (or healing) they or their loved ones received can be very generous. The trick lies in channeling that generosity, and suffice it to say that a doctor using one hand to take a pulse and the other to take a donation is not the way to go.

During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Gail D. Rudolph of the Sequoia Hospital Foundation offered advice about making the most of patient gratitude, reminding the audience that thanks can be manifest in both donation and referrals. In addition, good feeling can actually help the patient during recovery.

Rudolph advised listening for the following expressions of thanks from patients or their families:

  • Is there any way we can thank you?
  • What can we do to show our appreciation?
  • I cannot tell you how we appreciate what you have done for our family.
  • How can we show how much this has meant to us?

With that in mind, Rudolph offered the following tips for maximizing patient gratitude:

  • Practice making referrals in department meetings.
  • Gain the aid of well-respected high performers.
  • Enable high performers to be champions.
  • Make referral cards and development staff easily accessible.
  • Tell success stories at every opportunity.
  • Make it personal and fun.