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Case Study

Virginia Hospital Center Foundation

By looking at the whole giving pyramid, Pursuant sought to use an integrated multi-channel strategy to engage donors in more personal, relevant, and timely ways.

Virginia Hospital Center is an independent teaching hospital that serves the Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. areas. As part of its mission to be the best health system, the Hospital’s Foundation was established to better ensure the needs of each patient are met with the most comprehensive, compassionate, and advanced level of care.

CASE STUDY

Virginia Hospital Center Foundation

By looking at the whole giving pyramid, Pursuant sought to use an integrated multi-channel strategy to engage donors in more personal, relevant, and timely ways.

Virginia Hospital Center is an independent teaching hospital that serves the Northern Virginia and the Washington, D.C. areas. As part of its mission to be the best health system, the Hospital’s Foundation was established to better ensure the needs of each patient are met with the most comprehensive, compassionate, and advanced level of care.

By the Numbers

200%

Revenue increase due to the intentional focus on major giving.

18%

Revenue increase from multi-year donors.

New

Donors now make up half of the donor file.

By the
Numbers

200%

Revenue increase due to the intentional focus on major giving.

18%

Revenue increase from multi-year donors.

New

Donors now make up half of the donor file.

The Challenge

Like many nonprofit organizations heading into a capital campaign, the Foundation’s team used this moment as an opportunity to set ambitious goals to transform their program. In addition to improving retention of their donor file and bringing lapsed donors back into the fold, the Foundation wanted to cultivate deeper loyalty and increase giving of their current donors. There was also the opportunity grow the donor base through enhanced acquisition efforts and start to identify and cultivate potential major donors to the campaign.

Trying to determine the best strategy for all of these areas, the Foundation turned to Pursuant for guidance and support.

By taking time to understand the motivations of their donors, the Foundation was able to start implementing changes to their direct mail program quickly. While it took time to transform their program from transactional premium-based donors to transformational passion-oriented donors, their commitment to cultivating the right donors with the right message has made a tremendous impact in the long-run.

Pursuant helped us shake the trees to reveal our strongest general fund supporters.


The Solution

By looking at the whole giving pyramid, Pursuant sought to use an integrated multi-channel strategy to engage donors in more personal, relevant, and timely ways. This included current, lapsed, and new donors — from general to mid-level. A plan was also put into action to increase reach to prospective major donors.

In order to create more meaningful experiences for donors, Pursuant worked with the Foundation to:

Implement a multi-channel “grateful patient” program aimed at patients and families who had recently received care at the Hospital.

Start a newsletter that would show donors their positive impact on the hospital, their neighbors, loved ones, families, and others.

Capitalize on the science of direct response by testing appeals, analyzing the data and identifying segments. To ensure the right content would resonate with the right audiences, different stories were tested. For example, would “grateful patients” respond better to a story about pregnancy, labor and delivery or one about cancer treatment?

Identify potential major donors with the capacity and interest to make a bigger commitment and develop a case for support to try to grow the major donor population.

The Results

Attempting to grow mission-based supporters has started to pay off across the donor pyramid. Revenue to the organization is up over 200%, primarily due to the intentional focus on major giving. General and mid-level donors are also giving more often. This includes a key demographic: multi-year donors that continue to support the Foundation. In fiscal year 2017, they made up 26% of the donor file and 43% of the revenue. By fiscal year 2019, they made up 35% of the file and 61% of the revenue.

Another win for the Foundation is that new donors now make up half of the donor file, with the “grateful patient” population creating systematic month-over-month growth.

Virginia Hospital Center Foundation has a distinctive story in our community. Through stronger, more targeted content and segmentation, Pursuant has worked to help them tell their story more effectively and build a committed base of supporters that is positioned for growth moving forward.

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