Hospital donations took massive hit in 2009

by Anne Zieger on October 18, 2010

Hospitals have enough to do keeping their doors open just coping with low reimbursement, a nasty capital market environment and rising expenses.

It’s just adding insult to injury to note that last year, hospital donations fell almost $1 billion, reports American Medical News.  While the recession may or may not have ended in 2009, depending on which sages you consult, it seems clear that the lingering effects of the financial market crash hit healthcare institutions on the chin.

But other large, high-profile institutions are facing tough battles to attract sufficient financial support. For example, the  University of  California San Francisco has not been able to raise enough money for planned medical building, and is also struggling to raise $300 million more for other projects it has lined up .

According to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, nonprofit medical institutions raised more than $7.6 billion in fiscal 2009, seemingly a nice sum. However, that’s $944 million less than they managed to attracted in fiscal 2008, or an 11 percent drop.

What’s more, hospitals had to work harder for the money they did attract. In FY 2008, hospital fundraisers got $3.51 in donations for every dollar spent.  This year, a dollar spent brought in only $3.19, a difference which worries them terribly.

Of course, not all hospitals are suffering these kinds of recessionary pains, and some seem quite recovered. For example,  Massachusetts General Hospital’s charitable giving campaign  has already taken in $1 billion and may hit its 2010 goal of $1.5 billion, officials report.

Meanwhile,  high-profile health center the University of California San Francisco is $31 million short on its fundraising goal for a $113 million stem cell research building, according to the San Francisco Business Times. Meanwhile, the school’s fundraising executives have to raise $225 million for a new complex for cancer cases, plus $70 million for a neuroscience building under construction.

Well. If execs are forced to turn largely to fundraising, rather than the financial markets, to keep their capital projects moving forward, it’s a sad state of affairs. Market-makers may be sharks, but they’re more predictable than the public.  Good luck to us all if things keep up this way.

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