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Employees give to High Point Regional

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Denise Potter

Denise Potter

Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — In a four-week campaign that marked the first time it ever had asked employees to contribute to its annual fundraising effort, High Point Regional Health System raised nearly $106,000.

Over 500 of the system’s more than 2,320 employees made contributions ranging from $1 to over $1,000, and nearly $20,000 of the total was given online.

“We have far exceeded what I have seen elsewhere,” says Denise Potter, executive director, development, for the system. “I was completely blown away and impressed by what the people here did. It says a lot about the generosity of the people, not just in the community, but also at the hospital.”

Employee giving, she says, is a key component of fundraising.

“Prospective donors look to participation of the people closest to the organization when deciding how to support a project,” she says. “If we have an enthusiastic response from those closest to our organization, it helps demonstrate really the compelling need for services we have here.”

Having never had an annual employee campaign, Potter says, officials at High Point Regional “figured it was time for us to join hands with the community.”

She asked three employees to co-chair the effort, and all three agreed “without hesitation,” she says.

Co-chairs, including Jodi Dixon and Lucrecia Quick, both nurse managers, and Kyle Woods, director of respiratory therapy, worked with a committee of roughly a dozen people that coordinated the campaign.

The effort kicked off June 3 after little advance promotion with a tropical-themed barbecue in the health system’s cafeteria.

In addition to creating an opportunity to give online, the campaign published news and information on High Point Regional’s intranet, including testimonials from employees about why giving is important.

It also distributed weekly e-blast messages providing updates on giving to the campaign.

And managers throughout the health system were responsible for distributing pledge cards to their employees.

Everyone making a contribution or pledge received a multicolored wristband bearing the phrase, “GiveStrong Change Lives.”

“Employees were wearing them throughout the campaign, and still are wearing them,” Potter says.

Employees also could choose from among four beneficiaries to receive their donations, including the system’s adult health center, a special-needs fund for patients, a fund to support employees who experience catastrophic emergencies, or a general fund from which senior managements directs spending to areas it considers of the highest importance and greatest need, such as patient care or technology.

The general fund received the most employee contributions.

High Point Regional, which in 2009 completed a capital campaign that raised $13 million, already has received $6.7 million of that in pledge payments, with $1.3 million a year on average in pledge payments expected in coming years.

The health system also is converting its development program into the new High Point Regional Health System Foundation, chaired by Reid Marsh, president and chairman of Marsh Furniture Company.

And the health system could begin the quiet phase of a new capital campaign in 2012, says Potter, who is executive director of the new foundation.

The employee campaign, which Potter expects will generate twice as much in contributions next year, has been generating other dividends for High Point Regional, she says.

“When I talk to our volunteers, people working every day to raise money for the hospital, they were so happy to see employees taking part and supporting the efforts they are making,” she says. “It’s been a real morale-booster for everybody around here.”

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