The politics of health care has taken up most of the oxygen over the last couple of years, as the Obama Administration sought to reform the ‘system’ from the top in the midst of the worst recession since 1932. But the need for health care has not gotten so much media coverage, even as the percentage of Americans under the poverty level and without health insurance has mushroomed over the last couple of years. Unsurprisingly, philanthropic groups focusing on supporting or even directly offering health care are being hard pressed to meet the need. We wanted to share some of the needs and resources that we have come across during our preparation for our next Perspectives.
The go-to site for guidance to the meeting of philanthropic ambitions and medical needs is probably the ‘.’ Resources for local organizations can be found there, as well as to not-for-profit medical associations and local philanthropic circles. The AHP also acts as a conduit for news on the topic, and the paints the unpleasant picture of the reduction in giving to health and medical causes:
Members of AHP direct fundraising programs on behalf of more than 2,000 nonprofit health care facilities. In FY 2009 their efforts yielded $7.644 billion in the U.S. and $1.124 billion in Canada, compared to $8.588 billion and $1.068 billion the previous year. “Whether the recession ended in 2009 is for economists to debate, but its ripple effect certainly continued to curtail the ability of donors to give,” said William C. McGinly, Ph.D, CAE, president and chief executive officer of AHP. “It means fundraisers will have to work harder and smarter.”
In the U.S., largest declines were experienced in cash donations, down $818 million from 2008, and secured pledges, which declined $97 million over the year. Amounts donated per dollar-spent to raise them also went down, from $3.51 in 2008 to $3.19 last year, a 9 percent decline.
The ‘Perspectives’ series that appears on this blog will next present interviews with the Program Manager and the Technology Consultant at Baltimore’s “Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement” (‘SCALE‘), so we were immediately drawn to the link at the AHP to the “American Speech-Language-Hearing Association,” which takes great pride in its advocacy programs for those who struggle with speech and/or hearing disorders (like aphasia). Please look for our fascinating interview with the leadership at SCALE Baltimore a bit later this week!
The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy also has an annual conference in the spring that brings together regional associations under the AHP to discuss strategies for fundraising, like “Special Events with Big Impact: This session will discuss the continuing importance of the special event as budgets and staff time are more highly scrutinized.” And “Health Care Reform—It’s Here, but Will It Bite? The latest health care reform might not be reform at all; but what counts is any significant impact on health care PHILANTHROPY. Join us for this opportunity to learn about reform’s implications for fundraising and what can and should be addressed by health care development professionals.” (Sessions from the 2010 Mid-Atlantic/Midwest Conference Program (PDF)). The 2011 conference for the Mid-Atlantic/Midwest region will be in , so make plans now and register early!
Media pundits who concentrate their audiences’ attentions on health care, like Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s “Countdown,” can raise quite a bit of money for a cause. Unfortunately, many centers and organizations and outreach programs do not get such focused media attention. The ongoing economic malaise has only exacerbated the problem, but many organizations and philanthropic associations are trying to bridge the gaps between health care needs and what the insurance-controlled ‘free market’ is willing to provide.
Written by: Marco Kathuria
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