Meaningful, exceptional healthcare is what your organization provides every day to its patients. But for caregivers, these activities can feel routine. In fact, they can become so ordinary that caregivers find patient and family gratitude surprising, and perhaps even uncomfortable.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, a leader in philanthropy and patient gratitude, observed a connection between great patient experience, gratitude, and a desire to give back. The philanthropy team noticed that patients and families—like this one—often respond to meaningful care with extraordinary gratitude and generosity:

In 2004, when my daughter was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, she had a 30% chance of survival. I am an accountant, and 30% is not a good number. That means fewer than one out of every three. And my daughter was the lucky one. Looking back now, even though my daughter’s life was saved by a miracle, there were two others that weren’t.

I’m going to be forever grateful to Georgetown Hospital, because it actually saved my daughter’s life. It’s not a one-time gift for me. I’ll do as much as I can, for as long as I can. If I had all the money in the world, I’d give all the money I could, and I’ll try to get my friends to give whatever they can. Because I’m grateful; I’m grateful for what the hospital did. Why wouldn’t I give back? You know, people give to what they think is important. This was important for me.

The team recognized that no patient or family who responds to care so emphatically should be denied the opportunity to give back. They implemented a strategy for helping caregivers react appropriately to gratitude and recognize philanthropy’s critical role in their work.

Not only does this initiative help reinforce the positive care experiences of patients and their families, but it also creates a pipeline of potential donors who are highly likely to make contributions. In fact, it is widely accepted that the potential donors most likely to contribute are those connected through a referral, such as one made by a physician or other caregiver.

A robust clinician referral program requires a nuanced, multifaceted strategy. As a strategic partner, Advancement Resources is honored to work with MedStar and other hospitals and systems to help create a culture where philanthropy thrives.


Discover what motivates transformational giving and major gifts philanthropy.