Hospital Marketing and Fundraising: A Dynamic Duo

April 3, 2018 Lauren Short

Call it cooperation, synergy, or partnership. Regardless of reference, we are all looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. Pairing your hospital marketing and fundraising teams is one of the best ways to ensure that you work smarter.

 

Here are three quick illustrations of how you can activate this dynamic duo:

  1. Integrate messaging: Marketing and fundraising communications should share a common agenda and voice. By sitting down quarterly to review communication calendars, marketers and fundraisers can strengthen calls to action with educational, promotional, and fundraising components that reach all of their target audiences. A mutual communication calendar can even facilitate logistics like consistent verbiage or timing of messages. For example, Riverside HealthCare’s marketing team used the tagline “Your Heart’s in the Right Place” to advertise growing heart and vascular services; the Riverside Healthcare Foundation picked a complementary “Lead With Your Heart” tagline for the cardiac capital campaign that closely followed. If it sounds difficult to streamline your messaging themes, begin with the building blocks of your brand: mission and values.
  2. Share stories: Stories are the common currency between fundraising and marketing. When the same strong patient testimonials are used by both teams, the organization enjoys increased awareness, engagement, and action. Our team has found this concept especially relevant in video production. For instance, an Alzheimer’s video story can be used at our annual donor thank-you dinner, on social media, and for ads promoting our memory care service. While financially prudent to multipurpose our content, repetition also creates a sense of familiarity with our audiences.
  3. Connect the customer: Let’s agree that marketing and fundraising are ideally relational rather than transactional endeavors. Instead of living in our silos, fundraisers may put on a marketing hat by guiding a family toward taking a tour of the senior care facilities. Likewise, a marketing representative may wear a fundraising hat when connecting his or her vendor to a foundation’s fundraising event. Both departments need to be flexible and responsive to each other and their respective goals, while keeping in mind the value that each of them brings to patients, donors and prospects. That is how your whole organization wins.

 

At Riverside HealthCare, marketing and fundraising both report to the vice president of institutional advancement. While this organizational structure certainly facilitates partnership, it is not the only format and is definitely not a requirement to coordinate efforts. Consider organic and simple ways to facilitate cooperation, such as regular phone calls, cross-functional team meetings, or a shared annual retreat. Marketing and fundraising can go together like peanut butter and jelly. Start “sandwiching” your teams today and reap the benefits of these combined and multiplied efforts tomorrow.

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