Giving to health

By Robin R. Ganzert

As nonprofit organizations experienced mixed results for giving levels in 2003, health-care giving reported a remarkable 10.7 percent increase over 2002.

In fact, over 60 percent of health-care organizations reported increased contributions in 2003.

Why the increase in giving to the health-care sector, while education and human services sectors experienced declines?

Today’s environment has seen a renewed focus on issues related to health care, and the philanthropic community has responded.

The health-care agenda is broad and far-reaching, and garners a great deal of media coverage, particularly in a pre-election year.

Health-care issues reach across socio-economic factors, gender, ethnicity and geography.

Today, one can see health-care agendas in debates over issues ranging from obesity and diet crazes to global health crises such as the AIDS epidemic and childhood immunizations in third-world countries.

The agenda is just as powerful on the domestic front, particularly as the legislative map in a tight election year includes access to health-care and prescription prices.

The donor community has responded by giving generously to health-care nonprofits.

Donors today are passionate about their issues and their concerns.

Beyond the passion, there is a changing face of donors, a changing reach for their agendas, and changing expectations regarding accountability. The changes represent a new force in philanthropy.

Today’s donors are diverse from a demographic perspective.

They are actively engaged in health-care issues on the domestic as well as global fronts.

And they demand accountability from the nonprofits to which they have given generously.

While the health-care community actively seeks cures, solutions and results, donors are searching for ways to give, and looking at planned giving as a means to make the desired gift

Health-care organizations are now setting up planned-giving programs in record numbers, going beyond setting up bequest societies to actively market charitable gift-annuity programs.

Ensuring that donors have alternatives to making the gift is essential for a health-care nonprofit, as is ensuring that the programs are accountable.

Today’s health-care donor wants gifting alternatives, input into the agenda, and accountable programs.

But most of all, they want to solve the health-related crises that plague our world today.

Robin R. Ganzert is senior vice president, managing director, for the Wachovia National Center for Planned Giving in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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