Leveraging Content Marketing to Connect with Healthcare Donors

by | Nov 14, 2018 | Content Strategy

Our recent presentation at the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Annual International Conference focused on the value of content to support the acquisition of donors and growth strategies— here are three takeaways healthcare fundraisers need to know. 

More than 80 per­cent of health­care orga­ni­za­tions used con­tent mar­ket­ing last year, and hos­pi­tal and health sys­tem foun­da­tions are among the lead­ing adopters of con­tent as a way to lead audi­ences toward action. This makes per­fect sense con­sid­er­ing the goal of con­tent mar­ket­ing is to deliv­er val­ue to a unique audience—a guid­ing pur­pose that aligns per­fect­ly with the pri­ma­ry rea­sons that peo­ple give to charity.

Most peo­ple are over­whelmed with oppor­tu­ni­ties to donate time and mon­ey. From the tug-at-your-heart­strings solic­i­ta­tions to help chil­dren, home­less, and mil­i­tary vet­er­ans in need to impas­sioned pleas to save water­ways, pro­tect green spaces, and even help restore old build­ings, there’s no short­age of noble caus­es to sup­port. This vol­ume and vari­ety of wor­thy options requires an inti­mate under­stand­ing of your audi­ence and their spe­cif­ic inter­ests to set your phil­an­thropic mes­sage apart.

Hav­ing a firm grip on the rea­sons for giv­ing is the first step to ensur­ing your con­tent match­es those cat­a­lysts. The good news is that while there are myr­i­ad caus­es to sup­port, stud­ies of the fac­tors that dri­ve char­i­ta­ble giv­ing have dis­cov­ered com­mon threads through­out the data.

Based on the 2016 U.S.Trust®  Study of High Net Worth Phil­an­thropy and sim­i­lar research, we have com­piled the top three pri­ma­ry rea­sons for giving—along with proven meth­ods for ensur­ing your mes­sage res­onates with all types of health­care donors.

Why People Give: Believing in the Mission

How to con­nect with these health­care donors: With so many com­pet­ing and altru­is­tic alter­na­tives, your mis­sion has to be crys­tal clear and pre­sent­ed in a com­pelling way. This is where a well-craft­ed and authen­tic founder’s sto­ry (like one of my favorites from charity:water) and oth­er team-gen­er­at­ed con­tent can human­ize your health­care brand and put a per­son­al­i­ty behind the phil­an­thropic effort. For health­care foun­da­tions, we rec­om­mend putting your med­ical staff, admin­is­tra­tors and sup­port per­son­nel, and vol­un­teers in the spot­light through pro­files, Q&A pieces, and “day-in-the-life” blog and social posts writ­ten from their perspectives. 

When the organization’s mis­sion is “lived out” through real peo­ple who are ded­i­cat­ing their lives to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence every day, your donors are more like­ly to feel a con­nec­tion and be inspired to open their hearts and wal­lets to advance the cause. 

Why People Give: Believing Their Gift Will Make a Difference

How to con­nect with these health­care donors: Donors need to have con­fi­dence that their gifts will make an impact, and con­tent is instru­men­tal in demon­strat­ing the val­ue of every dol­lar con­tributed to your orga­ni­za­tion. By spec­i­fy­ing how the donat­ed funds are used, your orga­ni­za­tion can engage those seek­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to see their invest­ments at work with­in the com­mu­ni­ty. Focus your foun­da­tion con­tent on the advanced train­ing and life-sav­ing technology—acquired through the gen­eros­i­ty of donors—that is giv­ing their friends and neigh­bors a sec­ond chance. 

This approach inspired a recent donor to Johns Hop­kins All Children’s Hos­pi­tal, who was moved to send a gift of $5,000 after read­ing a fea­ture arti­cle in the hospital’s com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tion. The first-time donor said he loved read­ing about the dif­fer­ence that gifts make every day at Johns Hop­kins All Children’s Hos­pi­tal, and want­ed to be part of the donor community.

Why People Give: Personal Experience with the Organization and/or Cause

How to con­nect with these health­care donors: Near­ly every­one has a cause that is near and dear to their hearts, either based on a direct or indi­rect rela­tion­ship with some­one whose life was impact­ed. Whether sup­port­ing can­cer research or par­tic­i­pat­ing in a walk for Alzheimer’s in mem­o­ry of a loved one, a rela­tion­ship based on fam­i­ly ties, friend­ship, or sim­ply famil­iar­i­ty with the indi­vid­u­al’s sto­ry is one of the strongest moti­va­tions for sac­ri­fic­ing time and resources. 

You can cre­ate an emo­tion­al con­nec­tion with these donors through patient sto­ries (like these from Spec­trum Health) illus­trat­ing the peo­ple whose lives are direct­ly affect­ed by con­tri­bu­tions. And as in real life, these sto­ries don’t always have a hap­py end­ing. It might seem coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but being trans­par­ent about sit­u­a­tions where your hos­pi­tal exhaust­ed all pos­si­ble resources can paint a real­is­tic pic­ture that res­onates with donors.

Of course, these rea­sons aren’t mutu­al­ly exclu­sive and there are cer­tain­ly others—including align­ment with per­son­al val­ues, affil­i­a­tion with reli­gious insti­tu­tions, and of course, more ego­cen­tric moti­va­tions addressed through nam­ing of hos­pi­tal wings and pages of lists in your annu­al report. How­ev­er, focus­ing on these three pri­ma­ry dri­vers can help you pri­or­i­tize your efforts, plan your edi­to­r­i­al cal­en­dar and enhance your fundrais­ing performance.

Like with any con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, the key is get­ting as close to your audi­ence as pos­si­ble and speak­ing their lan­guage in a mean­ing­ful way.

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