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Written by: Sue Lockett, CFRE
Preferred pronouns (she/her)

 

As a seasoned fundraiser who has spent most of her career in the healthcare landscape there was a time when I was more laser-focused in my professional development – sticking almost entirely to healthcare sessions. With so many conferences and webinars available, and often a tight budget (and little time!), I felt that hearing directly from my healthcare mentors would help me to stay atop of my field.

I still believe this is a terrific use of time and keeps one relevant and competitive. Passionate donors are shopping around, and they are talking with your peers at other health institutions. Sector-based development and the hopeful validation of one’s best practices adds confidence to your approach. This knowledge allows you to paint a picture for an investor using tools and language they recognize and already understand.

However, once in a while you need to shake things up a bit. To peer into a different realm and see what treasures you might be able to transport back into healthcare.

This is how I felt the first year I attended AFP Congress. There was so much to glean from both healthcare and non-healthcare peers. Innovative donor activities that were happening in social services, arts, education… that could be modified and applied to some of my healthcare donor interactions. I found the content and the presenters fresh and inspiring. There was also a focus on ‘moving forward faster’ through digital engagement and highly personalized stewardship – things that a smaller or younger non-profit can be more nimble with, but could definitely find a place in a healthcare foundation’s plans.

In it’s virtual and affordable format, this year’s NOT Congress is very accessible – even if you can only join in real time for a few sessions.

Most healthcare organizations have a loyal group of donors who have pledged a planned gift – a decision often driven by the family having an affinity with the hospital during their lifetime. But we seem to struggle with marketing this option to those who might not have a direct relationship as a grateful patient.  In “How to Build a Branded Legacy Program that Raises Big Bucks: The Amnesty International Case Study” speakers Hala Al-Madi, Bryan Tenenhouse, Lisette Gelinas, and Donna Richardson will share their experience of building a branded program that inspires an emotive response. They will walk us through what it takes to bring our Legacy brand to life with story-telling, in a way that inspires more donors to consider the wise decision of leaving our organization a gift in their Will.

Like many sectors, healthcare is traditionally reliant on special events and sometimes has the advantage of having many attendees located in a fairly close radius of the hospital. The pandemic has made in-person events a sparse option and a great number of staff and volunteers are working remotely. Make-A-Wish® Canada has staff and volunteers across the country and they are already thinking innovatively and practically how to keep them engaged while driving donor revenue. In their session, Gemma Cowan and Patricia Dolla will speak to the virtual tools and techniques they use to engage staff remotely and offer advice (and a plan!) to host staff collaboration sessions in your organization with measurable outcomes.

And for those looking to maintain their laser focus on healthcare content, Tony Myers and Sue McCoy will deliver a session called “Major Donor Transitions: The Most Important 10 Seconds in a Donor Conversation.” Sue McCoy is Director of Major Gifts at Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, where she oversees a team securing $9 million a year in donations. Sue and Tony will pull from their 50 years of combined experience, as they share what they’ve learned about how to “Get to the Point” as you reach the solicitation phase with your prospects.

Ted Garrard, CEO, SickKids Foundation along with Greg Hagin will present an intriguing session titled “The Donor is Dead. Long Live the Donor.” and enlist the shared knowledge of 3 additional panelists to explore and de-mystify the life and death of legacy giving in the age of digital transformation.

So whether you commit to broadening your learning with the allure of fresh ideas, or stay the course to seek emerging trends from health sector masters, register soon for AFP’s NOT Congress taking place Nov 23-25.

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