How to Build a Grateful Patient Program to Drive Lifetime Donors | npENGAGE

How to Build a Grateful Patient Program to Drive Lifetime Donors

By on Jun 21, 2017


Today’s healthcare market is consumer driven. Forward thinking facilities must find ways to attract, keep, and nurture patients. Engaging grateful patients in philanthropy is an ideal way to do just that.

While data analytics and successful implementation strategies prove necessary for attracting potential patients, it is the ultimate responsibility of hospital and foundation staff members to collectively keep and nurture those relationships. Doing this provides the hospital foundation with a base of support that comes from its most loyal constituents, its grateful patients.

These types of constituent programs are formed at the intersection of clinical and philanthropic experiences and should involve hospital executives and foundation leadership. A well thought-out grateful patient program provides the guidelines to cultivate relationships with patients and turn those patients into lifetime supporters and donors.

10 key factors of a successful grateful patient program:

  1. Dedicated resources and staff time outlined from kickoff through implementation and evaluation
  2. A methodical, measureable plan with leadership buy-in and participation
  3. Data—HIPAA compliant patient demographics
  4. Amount, type and frequency of data needed and coordination with hospital IT
  5. Prescreening and database management tools
  6. Physician involvement
  7. Administrative patient rounding and continuous feedback
  8. Access to patient satisfaction data
  9. Refinement as program evolves
  10. A true partnership between hospital and its foundation

An effective grateful patient program involves the entire staff from clinicians, dining services, housekeeping, development, case management, executives and foundation staff. Statistics show that the majority of consumers grade their overall hospital stays as opposed to just the medical attention they received. Because quality care impressions are established from the complete experience, it is vital to have active involvement from each and every department.

Once established, regularly evaluating your grateful patient program is crucial. Tracking the process and staffing will reveal necessary adjustments. Following the amount of patient donations, measuring the duration between first solicitation and gift, and comparing resources spent versus donations acquired will be valuable as you continuously improve your campaign. Consideration and implementation of a grateful patient program is an initial investment, but increasing your facility’s bottom line from those whom have already been welcomed through your doors can provide a lifetime of loyal supporters.


Page Bullington is the Director Vertical Marketing, Healthcare Solutions Group at Blackbaud.

Since joining Blackbaud she has served in several key leadership roles including Director of Professional Services and Support and most recently as Director of Solution Management and Marketing with responsibility for roadmap development and product marketing.

During her tenure with Target Analytics Page created the mission, vision and structure for Target Analytics Professional Services department. In addition to successfully achieving revenue targets and on time deliveries she also was responsible for conceptualizing and launching Fundraising Essentials, the Principal Giving Solution and the Grateful Patient Solution. Collectively these offerings resulted in $12M in bookings for the company.

Prior to joining Blackbaud she was Grants Director for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston, SC. Page specialized in grant writing and corporate gift funding while with the healthcare system. She has extensive experience working in the nonprofit industry, specifically with educational, healthcare and political organizations. Page has worked for The National Beta Club, United States Congress, Corporate DevelopMint and the Joseph P. Riley Institute for Public Policy. Her expertise centers on fundraising analytics, membership development, major gift and principal gift fundraising, patient fundraising and grants based funding initiatives.

She has a Master of Public Administration from the College of Charleston with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a BA in English Literature from the Honors College of Winthrop University. Page is also board member for HALOS of Charleston and the Palmetto Military Support Group.

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