Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 64

Fundraising Through Crisis

Communication is the lifeblood of the nonprofit world, and the
way we do it has changed significantly this year.
community of supporters, health care professionals,
corporate leaders, community donors and volunteers
working to make an impact in communities throughout
the region-we created our Incident Command Center
Model from this example. We met every other day for
updates and to stay in touch with each other. Externally,
we increased our volume of messages through direct
mail, email and our social media platforms. This allowed
our team to communicate quickly and openly with our
board members and stakeholders in the early phases of
COVID-19. This was critical in helping us understand
and address the emerging needs of the communities we
serve. We launched an Urgent Response Fund to meet
these needs. Our community overwhelmed us with their
response to our appeals. It was humbling to have almost
1,000 brand new benefactors donate to this fund.
Technology plays a vital role. This year has brought
even more focus on technology as a part of our daily
lives-including the way benefactors, caregivers, and
patients approach and access your organization. For
SSM Health Foundation-St. Louis, that focus has
presented both a need to adapt to new technology
internally to stay connected with stakeholders
(and each other), and an effort toward funding the
technology for telehealth. At SSM Health Foundation-
St. Louis, this need became the impetus for a fundraising
effort to purchase iPads for our local hospitals. If
innovation is the key trait that health care nonprofits
need to exercise right now, then technology is the key
tool we should be using to achieve it.
The changing nature of relationships means
stewardship has changed, too. Thanks to social
distancing guidelines, the way we nurture both familiar
and new relationships has changed significantly. It's
no longer an option to hold an in-person fundraising
event or take a potential benefactor out for coffee.
As with every other aspect of your philanthropic
strategy, innovation will be key to finding ways to make
meaningful and impactful cases that will continue
to steward existing donors and cultivate new ones.

64	

Advancing Philanthropy	

As mentioned earlier, we've seen donations increase
during the pandemic. The key is to make sure that
people understand how their support translates directly
into meaningful efforts in the community. The truth is,
people want to be philanthropic in times of challenge-
it's our job to make sure they know the impact they can
make, and how to do so. In a socially-distanced world,
we must look at things a little differently by meeting
donors and stakeholders at the place (and the mindset)
they are in-virtually.
Historically, giving in the U.S. is seen in three major
areas: faith-based causes, health care and education.
When there are significantly trying times or tragedies,
we often find that people begin to focus on the important
things in life. The health pandemic and the social justice
challenges our world is facing have sparked significant
dialogue in these three areas, making organizations
based in faith, health care and education well-positioned
to help where it is needed most. We can't predict where
the pandemic will lead us next, or what new challenges
may follow, but we can carry the lessons we've learned
with us into the future of health care philanthropy. By
doing so, we won't just be better prepared the next time
a crisis hits-we'll be more effective forces for good in
our communities.

Paul R. Ross is the president of
SSM Health Foundation-St.
Louis. An experienced leader and
a philanthropy professional, Paul's
passion is in purpose and mission.
As a servant leader, he has humbly
led multi-faceted fundraising teams
throughout the health care and higher
education sectors. Paul has successfully provided leadership
to $1 billion campaigns for several organizations around the
country, resulting in significant impact to organizations and
the communities they serve.

October 2020 / www.afpglobal.org


http://www.afpglobal.org

Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advancing Philanthropy October 2020

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Advancing Philanthropy October 2020 - 1
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