The pandemic flipped the script on much of healthcare, and the industry is still grappling with the impact on post-pandemic life. In the hospital world, this is as true for philanthropic departments as it is for clinical care. There is a lot of change in the air, from demographics and giving patterns to use of technology and the “Great Resignation”, the elevated rate at which U.S. employees are quitting jobs.” How can hospitals get a glimpse into the future of philanthropic giving and connect with donor audiences, and what digital pathways should they be paying attention to? Let’s gaze into our crystal ball and uncover strategies that philanthropic departments can use to ensure that connections to donors continue to evolve with the times.
The factors impacting healthcare giving.
While the pandemic spurred change throughout healthcare, it is not the only factor that impacts philanthropy. For example:
- Baby boomers and matures have long been generous contributors, but as they focus on retirement, their giving patterns and priorities are likely to shift.
- Hyperlocal and global giving opportunities were highlighted during the height of the pandemic, which certainly helped community organizations. However, national organizations may have a tougher time getting their stories (and local impacts) out to a larger audience.
- On the other end of the spectrum, older Gen Z and younger millennial audiences are making an entrance into the donor space. They are tech-savvy and research-oriented, and they rely on knowledge to make their giving decisions.
- As for millennials, the older part of this cohort is joining Gen X in their prime giving years. Career prospects and salaries are on the rise, and it is prime time to capture this audience for long-term loyalty.
- The pandemic also drove even the most tech-phobic to embrace the digital space, so the giving section of a hospital website is likely going to need to accommodate a much larger cross-section of audiences than ever before. And some donors may not even hit your website — they are hanging out on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok instead.
- Finally, as mentioned above, the “Great Resignation” is still a factor in hiring, staffing, and, yes, donating. Audiences are naturally more discriminating when it comes to their donations and want to know exactly what the impact will be before parting with any discretionary funds.
Is healthcare giving generational? That’s one good way to look at it.
As you may know from previous blogs, I am a huge advocate for mapping your audience’s journey. We often talk about this in the context of patients, but the journey from awareness to loyalty is critical to understand for donor audiences as well. But how do you break up your prospective donor audiences for a such a deep dive? One way may be to look at the generational impacts as we started to dive into above.
While no two people are the same, there are several trends in generational giving that are important to pay attention to and can help as you message and reach out to these audiences.
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Gen Z represents the next generation of giving and, having grown up alongside tech, will be quick to embrace seamless, easy giving options. They are all over social media, and you should be too. Creating campaigns on Instagram and TikTok and creating easy giving options through Paypal and Venmo will help create those frictionless giving experiences.
Millennial donors are moving into their prime giving years and have proven themselves to be generous givers, even during the pandemic, and may be more likely to donate to local, meaningful causes. Whether you represent a local, national, or even global organization, showing your impact on the health and wellness of the community you serve is critical. They are also big social users, so making sure you are active across channels is important to keep the visibility high. And it’s worth the effort; millennials and Gen Z gave more than any other generation during the pandemic.
Gen Xers tend to give more small and mid-sized gifts than other generations and are more apt to prioritize data over emotion (though both count!). Like millennials, they want to understand the impact of their gifts. As we discussed previously, authenticity is key with this audience. Real stories and real people are going to help you forge a connection with this group.
Baby boomers and matures are still significant givers — they currently give the most charitable dollars in the U.S. However, they want to make sure their dollars are being used wisely and understand their impact. While transparency is important for all groups, these audiences are looking for it specifically. Additionally, as the baby boomers look further ahead into retirement, this is a good time to talk about long-term giving and legacy.
As the healthcare space continues to evolve, keeping tabs on the trends and players will help you pivot to meet your audiences where they are. When in doubt, set up one-on-one interviews with your current donors, prospective givers, and patients, too. They can help you better understand their specific journeys and how their giving behaviors are changing with the times.
Our Digital Healthcare Strategy team helps healthcare and life sciences organizations better understand their audiences and create memorable digital experiences. Contact us today for more information.