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New Donors Skyrocketed During COVID. What Do We Do With Them Now?

Non-profit hospitals recruited thousands of new donors during the pandemic. Communities rallied behind healthcare workers and were constantly in tune with the needs of their local hospital. And their donations were put to good use — hospitals were able to purchase critical PPE to protect caregivers, staff capacity was expanded, and life-saving equipment and treatments were made possible. But the needs of your hospital go much further than COVID response.

As we transition out of the pandemic, it’s important to nurture your COVID donors and convert them into lifelong supporters of your hospital. Here are a few recommendations: 

You’re more than your COVID response: Introduce new donors to all of the work your Foundation does

Many of your new COVID donors gave for a specific reason: supporting healthcare workers during the pandemic. But these donors may not be familiar with the other life-saving work that your foundation supports. You should pay special attention to your new COVID donors — welcome them to your community of supporters, highlight the priorities of your foundation, and detail the impact of philanthropy at your hospital. 

Segment your COVID donors, and speak directly to them

New COVID donors were there for your hospital at a critical time. As you transition them to long-term supporters, it’s important that you segment your renewal appeals to them. 

Your messaging should be targeted and it should underscore the unique circumstances that brought them in as a supporter. You should also highlight the impact of their past gifts. As you ask for continued support, you should customize your donation asks based on their pandemic giving history. Over time, you can begin to fold your new COVID donors into your regular universe — but not without taking the time to nurture them at first. 

By segmenting COVID donors appropriately, one hospital foundation was able to retain 21% of their COVID donors into 2021. But, more importantly, those retained donors increased their giving amount, leading to a 137% increase in revenue for our client. 

Acknowledge the past, but don’t dwell on it

COVID-19 fundamentally transformed the way that we deliver care — and the way that our communities view their health. Unfortunately, its impact will be felt long after the pandemic ends. And when compiled with the everchanging health concerns ahead of us, the need for philanthropy is even greater. Those with long COVID will continue to need care. New infectious diseases will develop. The growing epidemic of substance use and mental health challenges will strain our healthcare system. And those who delayed preventive care will require more care and focus.

However, there is a reason for hope. Healthcare supporters have shown their willingness to give at a critical time. Now, it’s on you to show them how their continued support can help going forward.

Identify your new donors with high giving capacity

Every donor is a valued member of your community — no matter the amount that they give. But it’s important to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all that they have to offer. That’s why wealth screening is so important, especially after such a huge influx of new donors. Now is the perfect time to review your new donor list and wealth screen them for giving capacity. Use these insights to find a giving level that fits their profile — and be sure to slide on your white gloves and nurture them, especially those at the higher end of the spectrum.

Here’s the bottom line: You relied on COVID donors to support your work at an important time. Now, the ball is in your court to retain them and support your care for years to come. We work every day to help hospital foundations speak with their communities and raise money for a good cause. And we’d love to help you, too. Reach out to a team member today.