Medical Center Fundraising During COVID-19

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

We spoke with Angela Wimmer, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Her team is on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as they’re charged with supporting doctors, nurses, and a medical center that’s working to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Though they’re facing tough challenges, Angela is optimistic about both the future of advancement and the opportunities this crisis has presented to have open conversations with major gift prospects and donors.

“We’re learning that we have the ability to work remotely and be effective. I think we’ll see a lot of companies changing their culture so they’re not paying as much for overhead and office space in the future. It’s strange that it would take something like this to make remote work a reality.”

This is a chance for gift officers to connect with more of their prospects

“Our major gift fundraisers are focused on digging into their portfolios in ways they don’t always have the opportunity to when they’re out on the road or being pulled in all different directions. This is an opportunity to do portfolio maintenance and check in with donors they don’t see frequently or visit more than twice a year.

They’re looking at portfolios, doing research, and using EverTrue to pull up data in the cities they visit frequently and looking at new prospects in their territories. They’re also doing work on discovery visits they haven’t yet made.”

Gift officers doing virtual visits

“They’re doing video visits — some people call them “chat cafes” or “e-coffees.” Donors get a kick out of it. A lot of people are quarantined or self-isolating, so it gives them a way to reach out to the world.

With us being a health care institution, people think they’ll get an ‘insider’s view,’ so we’re getting more visits than we ever expected… We’re sharing the same information in national and state press conferences, but in a more concise and direct manner.”

UAMS is fundraising for current needs

“We’re in desperate need of personal protective gear [for our doctors and nurses] and we’re working on that. We’re working with corporate partners to get donations of PPE and [financial] donations to reach across the world to get what we need at this time. 

Personal protective equipment is a staggering need. That’s been our focus. We’ve also asked for support for the on-campus food pantry, but we’ve changed our focus to meeting our needs today.”

Here’s more information on how to give to UAMS to help it get the gear and other resources the medical center needs.

Manage your team with more communication, more listening

“Some staff are taking this in stride. Others are really, really worried. Managers need to move in closer to people who need help and comfort during this time and let others get on about their business if they’re in the mindset to do that. UAMS has been great about employing resources to people who are feeling overwhelmed.

We’re staying in touch and listening… I know we’re going to come out of this okay, but not everyone’s had that experience yet. Whatever hits us, [advancement] is more resilient than people give us credit for.”

Angela’s organized 1-on-1 meetings for every team member to check-in weekly with their manager. They’re using Zoom and Microsoft Teams to do their regular weekly team meetings. And she’s encouraging her staff to break up larger meetings into groups of six people or less. “Once you get more than six people on a call, it’s hard for everyone to contribute or chime in.”

“We’re learning that we have the ability to work remotely and be effective. I think we’ll see a lot of companies changing their culture so they’re not paying as much for overhead and office space in the future. It’s strange that it would take something like this to make remote work a reality.”

What’s your top piece of advice for fellow leaders?

“Stay calm. We’re all going to get through this. A lot of us [in advancement] have been through other crises and come through just fine. Reassure people that we’re not going away — in many ways, our roles are more important during times like this. We have a vision for the future, and although we have to pivot during times like this, we’re still working toward that vision. We’ll all get there — it’ll just take us working together.”

Here’s EverTrue’s take on the novel coronavirus pandemic and its impact on advancement: We don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to learn from each other and share best practices for remote fundraising, working from home, and handling uncertainty. Bookmark this page and subscribe for ongoing updates.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments