Increasing Health Costs Could Slow Charitable Donations to Hospitals
The rising cost of health care might be causing some potential donors to hesitate in giving charitable contributions to hospitals, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, direct mailings soliciting donations sometimes are returned with angry letters from patients complaining about high hospital bills, while other donors might need more convincing that hospitals are a worthy cause.
According to William McGinly, CEO of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, when hospitals spend money on new facilities or technology, it could give donors the impression that contributions are not needed. In addition, some corporate donors view increased premium costs for employees' benefits as their "contribution" to health care, according to Zahida Noorani, a fundraising consultant in Chicago.
However, Amy Knight, a consultant with Atlanta-based Kurt Salmon Associates, noted, "Rising hospital bills don't affect major donors." Many donations are based not on hospitals' needs but rather on donors' emotional connections, such as support of a program, educational endeavor or a larger goal, Knight said.
Some hospitals seek to tap into donors' emotions by citing flaws with the health care system, noting that financial contributions can improve care and efficiency. Some hospitals also are creating more transparency to show donors that hospitals are not spending frivolously and that their donations are having a tangible impact (Abelson, New York Times, 11/12).