The perspectives of patients and family members can provide great insight for development professionals. Based on our research, many donors give for reasons that are not always obvious. As a development professional, it can be eye-opening to discover the true reasons.

These following five insights are great to keep in mind when working with donors and potential donors. Click on each blog to learn more about why these patients and family members were motivated to become involved with the organizations, and ultimately, give back.

Insight #1: Create a Lifetime of Engagement

Empowerment Through Philanthropy

Watching the team of healthcare professionals save her daughter’s life was an extraordinary experience for this woman. “I realized I wanted to be involved with this spectacular group of people for the rest of my life,” she says. Years later, the woman and her family remain passionately engaged with the organization and their philanthropy continues to grow.

Insight #2: Discover the Impact of Experience

A Donor’s Inspiration to Give – and Keep Giving

Even though the physician wasn’t able to treat this gentleman’s eye condition, the man was tremendously impressed with the exceptional and personal care he received. Afterward, he made a major contribution in the physician’s name. “You have to understand, that the positive or negative outcome of the patient is not as important as the experience and the care they feel they received,” he says.

Insight #3: Provide the Gift of Engagement

A Life Saved: The Impact of Grateful Patient Engagement

Sometimes making a financial contribution isn’t enough. This gentleman was so moved by his healthcare experience that he wanted to be actively engaged in carrying forward the research that saved his life. He has now spoken at more than 150 events throughout the country, telling his story and helping the institution raise millions of dollars.

Insight #4: Find Moments of Personal Engagement

The Birth of a Grateful Patient

After struggling with miscarriages and infertility, this woman gave birth to a healthy son, and the family went on to make a philanthropic contribution toward the physician’s work. While the care she received had been exemplary, it was the personal engagement she felt with her physician that she will never forget.

Insight #5: Make It Easier to Contribute

From the Donor to the Development Professional: Hope and Healing

This couple has made numerous contributions to the hospital, spoken at events, and gotten their friends engaged. But it almost didn’t happen. Grateful that their young son’s life had been saved, they had a deep desire to make a difference. Yet no one at the hospital engaged them. “It almost came to the point where we were so frustrated that we weren’t going to give,” says the mother.


What are you doing to create opportunities for patients and family members at your institution to engage in meaningful philanthropy?