Integrating Philanthropy into Health System Business Planning

Best Practices for Elevating Philanthropy’s Strategic Value

This study offers best practices for integrating philanthropy into business planning, as well as strategies to help you use the resulting intelligence to participate in capital allocation and strengthen the donor-facing case for support.

Executive Summary

Integration with a hospital’s business planning process allows philanthropy leaders to identify and commit to fundable projects that also support the institution’s highest strategic priorities. This study offers best practices for integrating philanthropy into business planning, as well as strategies to help you use the resulting intelligence to participate in capital allocation and strengthen the donor-facing case for support.



Business planning supports strategic alignment

As hospitals and health systems continue to face unprecedented revenue pressure and increasing accountability for care quality and outcomes, health care leaders are turning to philanthropy to compensate for margin shortfalls. To meet these changing expectations, philanthropy leaders need to align fundraising and health system strategies.

Doing so requires a focus on the hospital’s business—rather than strategic—planning process. Integration with business planning offers the project-specific information that philanthropy leaders need to assess the philanthropic viability of priorities and make a more compelling case to donors.

Capital allocation process presents challenges for philanthropy

Despite these benefits, some CDOs opt out of capital allocation meetings. A survey of 28 member CDOs revealed that 68% are either not attending capital allocation meetings or not actively committing to funding projects during the meeting. These CDOs have principled reasons for opting out: project timelines are often too short to commit, and priorities can change throughout the process.

Best practices to integrate philanthropy into business planning

To overcome these challenges, philanthropy leaders need to get involved earlier in the business planning process and use the information to prepare to commit to funding strategic priorities at capital allocation meetings.

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