From city to city and across the country in most rural communities, many non-profit hospitals are finding that their operating margins are shrinking which equates to less access to funds available for capital expenditures. They must develop new solutions for meeting their capital needs. For a growing number of hospitals, particularly nonprofit community hospitals, one answer to their challenge has been found through philanthropy. Philanthropy was once considered simply “nice to have,” but discussions regarding the role and strategic imperative of philanthropy can now be heard regularly at both the administrative and board levels. As a result, the industry is seeing a shift in its thinking—more hospitals are incorporating explicit expectations of fundraising into their financial planning and consider it a “need to have” if they are to survive for generations to come.
On June 1, Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH), which is organized as a 501 (c)3 non-profit, opened its first Office of Philanthropy. Steve Hannah, MHA, CEO stated; “the purpose of the office is to increase the flow of individual, community, governmental, and foundation philanthropic gifts and grants in order to aid the hospital in its quest for excellence in patient care.” The Office of Philanthropy is directed by Jenni Sopsic whose focus will be raising funds specific to the capital needs at MMH. In the past, we were fortunate to work closely with the San Juan Healthcare Foundation (SJHF) who graciously assisted with capital campaigns and other fundraising events. Their mission of “improving the health and wellness of the community,” is broader than the mission of MMH’s new Office of Philanthropy which will focus specifically on the needs of the hospital in order to keep it strong and able to purchase the capital equipment necessary for meeting the community’s healthcare needs. The hospital will focus on its’ specific capital funding needs while maintaining a collaborative relationship with the San Juan Healthcare Foundation.
As has been demonstrated in education, the arts, and local non-profit focused foundations, donors are motivated by many factors, and each person has his or her own reason for becoming engaged with a certain organization. People also have differing capacities to give. For example, there is a belief that charitable bequests come only from the wealthy. Nothing is further from the truth. Through careful planning, anyone can provide a measure of support that they are comfortable giving.
Many non-profit hospitals have discovered that in addition to simply funding necessary improvements and operating expenses, dollars raised through philanthropy are an ideal way to fund quality focused and innovative programs and equipment.. Funding achieved through philanthropy is not viewed as “patient care dollars” received for basic inpatient or outpatient services rendered, instead these dollars are generously given to the hospital, out of a sense of giving for the common good of the community, to allow the institution to continue to provide the highest quality of care. In addition, although some philanthropic funds that are raised are earmarked for specific hospital initiatives, many dollars are relatively unencumbered and therefore, can be used to fuel innovative programs or purchase equipment which will allow MMH to provide new or better services for the community.
“We are excited about this new endeavor and look forward to what our future philanthropic gifts can do to enhance our excellent patient care,” said Hannah. If you have questions, or want more information, please call Jenni Sopsic at 252.2744.
Leann Tobin, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, MMH 240-7344