To support smaller projects, Cleveland Clinic launches crowdfunding campaign

Cleveland Clinic in June quietly launched a new fundraising program that uses crowdfunding to meet smaller financial targets, Lydia Coutre reports for Modern Healthcare.

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Program details

The Power of Every One program aims to facilitate funding for caregiver proposals and supports projects ranging from basic research to public health initiatives. The funding goals for the projects top out at $10,000.

According to Coutre, caregivers spearhead the funding raising proposals, reaching out to their networks and sharing updates about the projects on social media. The Clinic further spreads the word by posting updates in its intranet, while physicians with the health system share news by word-of-mouth and their own social media updates.

Bridge Andrews, senior director of development operations at the Clinic, said, "We really thought that [The Power of Every One campaign] was an opportunity for us to engage members of the community who were interested in making smaller gifts to the organization, but collectively, they can have a larger impact on a project."

Proposed projects

The first round of Power of Every One proposals consists of three projects, which together have raised over $17,000 from about 100 donors. Two of the three projects have already met their goals.

According to Coutre, one such project is the Vision First Program, which provides eyeglasses and follow-up exams to young children in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The program met its $10,000 goal and received a matching grant, Coutre reports. Another project that sponsors health food initiatives for Cleveland's Spanish-speaking community is also fully funded, at $2,070.

The third project—which seeks to provide wigs, bandanas, and other accessories to cancer patients—is on its way to meeting its $10,000 goal, according to Sharrie Coburn, who heads the project.

Andrews said the Clinic's Philanthropy Institute is setting up new project proposals for the fall, with the overarching plan to have between three and five 30- to 60-day campaigns each quarter.

Comments

Andrews explained that while crowdfunding itself has been around for a while, it's "still a fairly new concept" for hospitals. According to Andrews, "many hospitals are now looking into more creative ways to engage the younger demographic, the Generation Y and Generation Xers who are more comfortable giving online and who want to see a direct impact of their gift immediately."

Further, Andrews pointed out that crowdfunding can serve as a marketing tool, raising awareness around the projects seeking funding. "While many of these projects are important and could be funded through various sources, one of the benefits to the crowdfunding platform is that it does raise the visibility for various projects that the community may not know exist," she said (Coutre, Crain's Cleveland Business/Modern Healthcare, 8/15).

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