Advancement Resources and Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) have partnered to conduct an in-depth study into the relationships between development leaders and healthcare executives that lead to success in fundraising. In conjunction with the release of the full report, we are highlighting several of the key findings from the research.

Key V: Strategic Relationship Cultivation

If you can get along with your donor, you can get along with your boss.

— Chief Development Officer

The final key our research identified in the most successful CDO-CEO relationships was that the CDOs viewed their CEOs as “internal donors.” Rarely did we hear about institutions where a CEO easily and automatically recognized and valued philanthropy right out of the gate and with no effort put in by the development leadership. Instead, the best relationships were characterized by a tendency of development leaders to treat their relationships with CEOs as they do potentially transformative donor relationships. Development professionals are relationship experts; they are adept—whether by nature or as a result of practiced skill—at building close, trust-based relationships with donors. The same skills apply to building robust working relationships with CEOs.

Educate, take them on calls. My [CEO] was not expecting to learn as much as he did when we started making calls together. He became a believer.

— Chief Development Officer

However, what truly elevated CDO-CEO relationships was intentionality—in much the same way effective donor development involves a clear focus and strategy to help them move through the steps of engagement. The best CDO-CEO relationships were marked by a systematic, strategic approach on the part of the CDO to identify any problem areas at their root causes, then engage the CEO in professional conversations, communications, and activities that correct the problems over time.

The full Healthcare Philanthropy Leadership Essentials report has a detailed section devoted to the topic of Strategic Relationship Cultivation featuring more quotes, recommendations for best practices, and enlightening statistics that will provide you with the best possible information you need to improve your own relationships with healthcare executives. View more highlights of the Healthcare Philanthropy Leadership Essentials report or download the report.


Download the Healthcare Philanthropy Leadership Essentials Report

View the webinar: Engaged Leaders, Improved Outcomes—An Exclusive Preview of the Healthcare Philanthropy Leadership Essentials Report