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Guidance to hospital philanthropy teams regarding COVID-19

    In this difficult and uncertain time, all of us at the Philanthropy Leadership Council and Advisory Board are grateful for the work that you do to serve the health needs of your community.

    As a reminder, the link below will remain your one-stop-shop for the coming days and weeks:
    COVID-19 Resource Page

    I also want to share some initial recommendations specifically for philanthropy professionals. Below are five considerations for preparing your team, your donors, and your organization for the challenges ahead:

    1. Cancel or reschedule all near-term fundraising events and develop a contingency plan for events coming later in the year. The CDC is recommending that organizations cancel all in-person events with at least 50 people for the next eight weeks (early May 2020). However, government recommendations are changing fast, so it is in your best interest to develop back-up plans for all events through at least the summer months. Even one-on-one in-person visits may be worth postponing, or moved into a virtual environment, for the time being.


    2. Establish a COVID-19 relief fund for employees and vulnerable patients. Members of your care team, hospital staff, and patients may need extra financial support during this time.The economic impact of COVID-19 will not be fully understood for months to come, but it is clear that many will experience immediate challenges as the circumstances of their daily lives change dramatically. Do not be afraid to ask your donors for what you need most.


    3. Postpone non-essential requests of your clinical partners, but tune into their needs. Certain members of your care team will likely have exceedingly limited bandwidth for philanthropy activities in the coming weeks and months. Be mindful of your asks of their time, but also be mindful of their needs.New funding priorities may arise quickly as the crisis unfolds.


    4. Avoid analyzing every fluctuation in the stock market, but anticipate heightened economic anxiety among some donors. We don’t know where the markets will be in the coming weeks or months, so it’s too soon to make big predictions about the impact on giving this year or beyond.For now, recognize that some of your prospects and donors may be nervous about market volatility, and those nerves may influence their near-term decision-making about philanthropy. At the same time, do not discontinue communications based on the assumption that donors are going to hold back their giving. Some will be motivated to be philanthropic despite economic concerns due to the scale and gravity of their community’s need.


    5. Prepare answers to likely donor questions about coronavirus and your hospital’s preparedness. We recommend creating a FAQ for your donors on COVID-19, your hospital’s strategy for addressing the crisis, and directing them to resources like your local public health department and the Center for Disease Control.

    Most of all, please use this time to take care of yourself, your loves ones, and your colleagues.  

    If our team can be of service to you at this time, or if you are interested in sharing what your development office is doing to support your hospital, please be in touch with us at philanthropy@advisory.com We hope to provide more information and examples of good work being done across the coming weeks.

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