Key observations about initial COVID-19 response funds

Four takeaways—and four examples—from hospitals' early fundraising efforts

As the severity of the COVID-19 crisis increases in the United States, a number of hospitals and health systems are reaching out to their donor communities for urgently needed funding and supplies. The Philanthropy Leadership Council team has reviewed a number of early COVID-19 response funds on hospital and foundation webpages, and want to share with you some of our key takeaways and relevant examples:

  • Give your COVID-19 response fund top billing on your foundation webpage: This is likely the single-most urgent need your organization has right now, and that should be reflected in the prominence it receives on your foundation webpage.  Make the process of donating as intuitive as possible by linking directly to an online giving page.  Bridgeport Hospital Foundation provides a good example.

  • Specify what donor funding will pay for, but also acknowledge that those needs may evolve quickly: Donors won’t be surprised to know that your organization may be facing an unprecedented demand for health care services, and that your financial need will reflect that demand.  However, they’ll also want to have some sense for how their gift will be put to use. UCSF provides a good example.

  • Invite in-kind gifts of PPE and other needed supplies, but be specific about what you can accept and how to deliver it to your sites of care: Before asking for in-kind donations of medical supplies, including PPE, consult with your supply chain leadership to understand what the organization’s needs are, and where donors can be dropping off those supplies.  Provide details on your website about the type of supplies you need, the condition those supplies must be in for you to accept the gift, and times/locations for dropoff. If your hospital meets its need for any specific supplies, update your webpage so that potential donors are aware. Spectrum Health provides a good example.

  • Direct donors to relevant resources on COVID-19 at your hospital and your community: Your donors are concerned about your organization, their neighbors, their loved ones, and themselves.  Take the opportunity to provide them easy access to critical information about your hospital’s response to the crisis, as well as guidance from the CDC and other relevant public health departments.  Munson Healthcare provides a good example.

We hope this helps to affirm or guide your own efforts, and we will continue to look for opportunities to provide support to you and your teams in the coming weeks.

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Guidance to hospital philanthropy teams regarding COVID-19

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