Given the enormous opportunity that exists for philanthropy in healthcare today, why are some development professionals able to optimize the potential at their institutions, while others struggle?

Ongoing research with physicians and other health professionals, development leaders, patients and families, and donors points to three attributes of highly successful medical development professionals:

They understand the opportunity

Galas, golf outings, and “grateful patient” mailings certainly may have a place in healthcare fundraising. However, the greatest opportunity for significant, transformational philanthropy lies with patients and family members who have had life-changing experiences and are referred to development by physicians and other health professionals. Highly successful development professionals focus the bulk of their efforts on helping patients, family members, and other potential donors connect their meaningful experiences with inspiring philanthropic opportunities.

They know how to engage clinicians effectively and build productive relationships

It’s no secret that many clinicians hesitate, or downright refuse, to work with their development partners. Highly successful development professionals are sensitive to the true ethical, professional, and psychological barriers to clinician engagement, and are able chart a path to engaging clinicians in their appropriate roles. Moreover, because they understand how clinicians think, they are able to build trust-based professional relationships that result in philanthropic referrals.

They understand the impact of the patient care experience

Top performing development professionals possess a deep understanding of the healthcare experiences that motivate patients and family members toward meaningful philanthropy. They become engaged members of the healthcare team and interact with patients, families, donors, and community leaders during their healthcare experiences.

In order to meet the training needs of our medical partners, Advancement Resources has partnered with several institutions, including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bon Secours Health System, MedStar Health, and Ochsner Health System, to enhance our training with new learning opportunities and application exercises.

New case studies help participants analyze specific situations in medical philanthropy settings, develop their own approaches for working effectively with clinicians, and practice language they will apply to real-world situations. Significant attention is also given to exploring the philanthropic referral process and preparing participants to create a referral protocol that can be clearly articulated to health professionals at their institutions.


Training benefits are now available to all healthcare fundraising professionals through the upcoming public workshop, The Art and Science of Healthcare Philanthropy.

The Art and Science of Healthcare Philanthropy