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Healthcare Fundraising in the Digital Age

Non-profit hospitals are increasingly dependent on grassroots based fundraising to help meet their research and patient care goals. Digital fundraising is essential to a successful overall fundraising strategy in 2019. But the touchpoints of a digital fundraising strategy are very different from typical donor relations.

As a non-profit healthcare organization, it is essential for development teams to tie together the patient story and outcome goal of their fundraising objectives, and to do so in a strategically digital capacity.

Below are the 3 key elements of a successful digital strategy in healthcare fundraising:

Tell the story of patients past and future that will benefit from even the smallest donation – in an engaging and interactive manner

Interactive story telling can take on a whole new meaning when working within the digital space. Between social media, hashtags, visuals, page loads, there are an infinite number of ways to ensure the story your organization is trying to relay is engaging to the user.

The content of the patient story is key. Even more important is how your organization plans to engage the user through a digital medium. Are you planning to use a blog? An Instagram feed? Or a special section of your site dedicated to patient stories?

Each medium requires a unique set of requirements to ensure the key message is relayed.

  • If using social media, such as Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, a hashtag, concise caption, and a shortened vanity URL are key to converting your users.
  • Using a blog, tags, relevant stories, and direct calls-to-action are integral to building the narrative aimed at asking your user base for a donation.
  • If using a dedicated “Patient Story” section of your site, integrating your brand strategy and interactive website components is key to making your donation ask as native as possible.

Use list-building tactics to build a strong email database to develop a relationship with your donors over time

Key to ensuring successful fundraising campaigns is developing strong relationships with recurring donors or potential donors. Asking users to sign up for a newsletter or submit their email to stay updated on the latest from your healthcare organization, gives you the opportunity to provide refreshed content to users who have opted-in to regular updates.

While sharing updates on latest research developments, new infrastructure plans, or stories of impact, there is an opportunity to include a call-to-action, asking users to donate. While the cadence and context of these requests is dependent upon your organization’s fundraising goals, the more opportunity there is for users to donate, the more likely they are to do so. A robust list building strategy will help your organization reach many more users than a more passive approach such as a donation page on your website with limited reach beyond that.

Optimize your donation form so that it is user-friendly and increases your conversion rates

The most important element of your digital healthcare fundraising strategy is the donation form. According to research by NextAfter, a donation form that is riddled with too many buttons, questions, or images can be distracting to the user and will result in a lower conversion rate. Donation pages also must be optimized to account for mobile traffic. Smartphone and tablet ownership continues to increase year over year. The key to a successful donation form is the following:

  • Provide easy to understand gift designations on your donation page. Research shows that hiding gift designation areas decreases donor conversions, across all device types and user segments. (NextAfter, 2019)1.
  • Optimize your donation form for mobile. Up to 25% of donors complete their donations on mobile devices (Nonprofits Source, 2019)2. An optimally designed mobile donation form should clearly display a ‘Donate’ button at all times. Also being responsive to fit various screen sizes across devices.
  • Remind the user how their donation will impact your hospital. Use a short and concise mission/impact statement users can see as they are complete the form. Social proof and urgency can lead to an increase in donor conversion. Reinforce the importance of communication of the cause and need for the funds. (NextAfter, 2019)3, 4

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Sonia Goraya

Sonia Goraya is a senior business consultant within Perficient's national healthcare practice. She has experience in public health, digital marketing, analytics, and operations. Sonia is passionate about transforming the way businesses value the investment between technology and healthcare while improving health outcomes for patients of all economic backgrounds.

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