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Flagging donations seen as risk for health care

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Dwindling donations caused by the lagging economy could deal a serious blow to the nonprofit health-care sector, says a study released by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy.

Factors contributing to a slowdown in charitable giving include a drop in the gross domestic product and disposable income, as well as uncertainty over housing and stock markets, the study says.

Declining donations are likely to squeeze nonprofit health-care providers, which already are dealing with a growing number of uninsured patients, dropping reimbursement rates and escalating operational expenses.

The health-care sector in the U.S. raised $8.35 billion from charitable giving last year.

“In tight economic times, fundraisers will have to better benchmark their data and strategies, as nonprofits convince donors, board members, hospital leaders and the public that they are accountable for the gifts they receive,” Lisa Hillman, chair of the board of directors for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, says in a statement.

On the positive side, charitable giving should rise sharply when the economy improves, says the study, “Economic Cycles and Charitable Giving.”

Members of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy direct philanthropic programs in 2,200 U.S. nonprofit health-care organizations.

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