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Former patients seen as potential donors

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While many hospital development officers see former patients as a ripe source for giving, most don’t adequately develop those relationships, a new report says.

Two in three hospital fundraisers say their institutions don’t do enough to cultivate past patients, and one in five say they don’t contact them at all.

The Grateful Patient Survey, conducted by the Association for Health Care Philanthropy and Grizzard Communications, assessed the effectiveness of hospitals’ efforts to raise money from people who have received treatment at their institutions.

About four in 10 fundraisers do not believe contacting former patients is a critical part of their work, the study says, and fewer than half contact patients within three months of their discharge.

Similarly, half say they don’t treat former patients differently from any other prospects.

Three-quarters of development officers say doctors are not engaged enough in the fundraising process, and many feel that privacy guidelines pose additional obstacles to raising money from past patients.

For hospitals that do solicit former patients, most say direct mail is the best form of communication, the study says.

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