29 November 2021 | Opinion | By Devin Partida is a medical and health tech writer from San Francisco, California. She also writes about medical technologies, AI and cybersecurity on ReHack.com.
There's no denying that the pandemic has impacted businesses around the globe and in various industries. It was no surprise that hospitals were inundated with patients, some with more severe cases of COVID-19 than others.
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Hospital fundraising events are typically held annually, and it was expected that 2020 would be a tumultuous year. Fundraising provides health care facilities with the resources, technology and support to care for patients, treat various conditions and save lives.
Here are the ways hospitals were able to fundraise during the pandemic.
It's no secret that the pandemic exposed some of the shortcomings of the health care system. While it did highlight the heroic nature of physicians, nurses and other medical professionals, COVID-19 has proved to be a significant challenge for hospitals.
There was a clear need for more funding during the pandemic to account for personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory equipment and other essential medical supplies that would help battle the deadly virus. Fundraising in 2020 played a significant role in fighting the virus, and thankfully, many hospitals had sufficient funds to pay for these necessary items.
Aside from these essential supplies, new technologies have emerged to help fight the virus, such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Funding to pay for these pieces of tech is needed now more than ever.
What does the hospital fundraising landscape currently look like? It's a bit of a mixed bag. For example, some facilities had to cancel events completely due to surges in COVID-19 cases in their region.
Before the delta variant emerged, it was expected that in-person fundraising would be reinstated. However, because this variant was extremely contagious, some live events were forced to be postponed.
For instance, Chester County Hospital in Pennsylvania had to reimagine its traditional charity events and find new ways to stay engaged with existing and potential donors. This is only one medical facility that had to work harder to raise funding for its operations.
Chester County Hospital used digital bike tours, virtual house tours, wine festivals, online auctions and other sponsorship opportunities to keep their donors interested and increase revenue.
The Bethesda Hospital Foundation also managed to find fundraising success during this chaotic time. It accounts for two hospitals in Florida — Bethesda East and Bethesda West, located in Boynton Beach.
The foundation's executive director stated that 2020 was one of the best fundraising years since 2012 and shared that it ended the fiscal year with $9 million in funds. Bethesda staged its annual golf tournament in January and earned $120,000 from that event alone.
The foundation also held a virtual gala in September. It sent out party boxes that included disco balls, masks, sanitizers and other items to help donors celebrate. Guests could listen to live music, hear testimonials from patients and medical professionals, and participate in a silent auction.
All types of medical facilities had to put in extra effort to make their fundraising events worthwhile but safe at the same time. There's some uncertainty around federal funding for hospitals, so this comes at a crucial time, especially when it comes to essential supplies needed to fight the virus.
There seems to be plenty of opportunities for hospitals to raise funds to improve their operations. Research from Blackbaud, a cloud software company that focuses on social good, shows that health care organizations raised $4.9 billion in cash in 2020, which increased from the previous year.
Funding can be used to serve various purposes, such as implementing new technologies, improving patient care, purchasing supplies, and researching and developing revolutionary treatment options. As the pandemic continues to impact the world, it'll be crucial for health care centers to secure funding to continue saving lives.