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The health care field is changing. Hospitals are partnering with other health care providers and experimenting with new ways to create centers for excellence, as well as better integrate care within the community. By finding non-traditional ways to move care into communities, hospitals become more accountable and patients can experience improved wellness, expanded services and access to even better quality care. These activities can also involve mergers and acquisitions. These changes can affect areas of the organization responsible for advancing philanthropy.
In today’s environment of change and transformation, some nonprofit hospitals and health systems are considering the possibility of selling to for-profit providers. A central concern for boards engaged in strategic deliberations about a potential sale is preserving the charitable mission, values and legacy of their nonprofit health care organization.
Alignment between the health care organization's strategic priorities and charitable funding priorities is essential to maximize the impact of donor dollars. However, many organizations fail to secure a shared vision, so philanthropy is used to advance low value priorities or development officers are left to de facto set hospital strategy.
As the foundation board considers the creation of a strategic plan to guide the health care foundation, there are several priorities and moving pieces to consider across the strategic planning journey.
Setting strategic direction is a basic governance role of the foundation board. The board is responsible for determining the mission, vision and values that are the bedrock of the organization’s strategic framework. The board represents stakeholder interests, so it serves a valuable role in sharing community perspectives and expectations to guide planning. The board must ensure the organization’s goals position it to fulfill the organizational mission and to advance its vision.
While more than 90% of hospitals agree or strongly agree population health is aligned with their mission, only 19% of health care leaders strongly agree they possess the financial resources available to support population health.
The VP of Philanthropy’s overarching responsibility is to promote philanthropic investment by donor partners in the health care organization in order to advance the mission. However, the role encompasses far more. Together with the foundation board and health care CEO, this individual works with internal and external constituencies to build a culture of philanthropy that goes beyond transactional fundraising to build lasting, fruitful relationships rooted in a shared vision.
Foundation board members can strengthen their philanthropy efforts by understanding the growing role of the CEO in order to develop a productive and proactive working relationship.
Health care is in a period of transformation as reimbursement  and delivery systems make the leap from payment based on volume to payment based on value. Philanthropy is playing a role in this transformation.
As a foundation board member or hospital trustee, you’ve likely received education about HIPAA, otherwise known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA legislation was enacted to provide data privacy and security provisions to safeguard the protected health information (PHI) of patients.
See attached infographic from Accordant Philanthropy on selection criteria to drive excellence.
Boards must proactively define the qualities of an ideal board member and select based upon those competencies, expertise, experience, behaviors and circles of influence—and within the context of the foundation’s priorities, strategy, opportunities and challenges. The foundation governance committee champions the identification and screening of proposed members.
It is time for the foundation board governance committee to recalibrate orientation to instead offer an impactful and ongoing onboarding experience. This new approach provides fulfilling, meaningful mission experiences to connect new members to the organization’s mission, purpose, culture and stories.
As a board leader, you can help position your organization to recapture that original enthusiasm and to strengthen the personal connection with members. It starts by taking a hard look at the content and structure of meetings.
See attached sample foundation board master calendar from Accordant Philanthropy.
See sample foundation board agenda from Accordant Philanthropy.
The strategic use of organizational dollars has become a regular topic around the governing board table. However, within this conversation, one potential source of revenue is often overlooked or utilized in a less strategic manner: charitable giving.
As stewards of their hospital or health care system’s advancement, board members should be both highly vested in the organization’s work as well as invested in its mission.
Most boards advance this process on an annual basis to explore issues at both the collective board level and the individual board member level to uncover specific growth opportunities. This provides insights into competencies, accomplishments and shortcomings to identify and prioritize opportunities for growth.
Most boards use an annual self-assessment tool delivered in a paper or online format to support this process. Such tools are readily available from a variety of professional associations, consulting firms and other resources.