8 healthcare fundraising myths

Apollo riding across the sky in his golden chariot. Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill. There’s a man on the moon.

Those are all myths, and all having an enduring appeal for one reason or another.

Just as myths exist in life, so do they exist in the nonprofit sector. During the 2014 Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) International Conference, Ryan Garnett and Christy Holtby, of Harvey McKinnon Associates and University Hospital Foundation, respectively, said that eight myths exist in the world of healthcare fundraising, and believing them can be dangerous to the health of healthcare fundraising.

Those myths, and the truth, are as follows:

  • Direct mail is dead. It is still a main driver of revenue for many nonprofits.
  • Our donors told us in a survey they don’t need to be thanked. Send a thank-you every time.
  • Premium sourced donors have a lower lifetime value. Even though fundraisers might not like a premium, donors do. They’re valuable.
  • Our major donors don’t want to receive mail. Treat them differently. Make them feel like insiders. Personalize even more.
  • Social media is the best way to reach young donors. It’s a way to find activists, not donors. Check feeds regularly.
  • Online donors won’t give offline. Some 33 percent of online donors will become offline donors — but they have to be asked.
  • Our donors are too old to give online. They will give online, but it must be made easy for them.
  • It will be more cost effective to send e-newsletters instead. Switching to an e-newsletter is not likely to be a cost-effective move.