Another Corner of Higher Ed: Donor Motivation Findings to be Presented at Medical Schools Conference

February 23, 2011

Our research and assessment work for universities usually looks at three broad audiences: prospects, students, and alumni. Lately, we’ve been helping several institutions study another crucial audience: donors to their medical schools and teaching hospitals. Research analyst Anne Lee will share some of what we’re learning at an upcoming conference.

The conference, which will be held in Nashville this April, is the annual gathering of the Group on Institutional Advancement of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Anne will co-present findings from two of our recent studies for university medical schools. Representing our client institutions on the panel will be Kaffie Milikin, executive director of clinical care and research at the George Washington University Medical Center, and Jean Quinlan, chief development officer at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Their session, entitled “Deepening Donor Engagement: Using Qualitative Research to Enhance Grateful Patient Philanthropy,” will center on our studies examining each medical center’s relationships with its donors and potential donors—including those “grateful patients.” Both studies involved in-depth conversations with participants about their perceptions of the institution and their emotional and rational decision-making priorities in the area of philanthropy.

Anne notes that this research shares deep similarities with our other studies of donors in higher ed and the cultural sector. “Grateful patients aren’t unlike grateful alumni or even grateful arts patrons,” she says. “If the institution gives them an important, deeply satisfying experience, they can feel connected to it for many years, and some of them show that connection by donating. I’m looking forward to sharing these findings and having a broad conversation about how university medical centers can engage their donor bases more strategically.”

Anne and our colleagues will be presenting on Friday, April 16. If you plan to attend the conference, let Anne know or stop by to say hello!

Category: Higher education

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