Results Offer Proof
Rady Children’s Hospital — San Diego is the largest children’s hospital in California based on admissions and the leading provider of pediatric healthcare in Southern California. Because it “owns” its market, and has built a strong affiliation with the University of California San Diego (UCSD), it has attracted many of the top physician scientists from around the world and has consistently ranked in all ten specialties in the US News and World Report Best Children’s Hospitals survey.
Despite these remarkable achievements, the hospital is still regarded as a “nice regional children’s hospital” rather than the scientific powerhouse it has become. As a result, fundraising efforts had plateaued, and the donor pool was largely comprised of families who wished to express gratitude for the care their children had received at the hospital.
Canteen was engaged to help the Foundation shift the perception of the hospital, and in so doing, widen the donor pool and increase charitable donations.
Our experience working with not-for-profits has led us to identify a new generation of donors, possessing evolved attitudes toward charitable giving. They are more interested in investing both time and treasure in initiatives where they can make a measurable difference, rather than buying naming rights within a monolithic institution. They believe in staying small and betting big.
With this insight in mind, we proposed creating virtual Centers of Excellence within Rady Children’s, to showcase the accomplishments of their physician scientists in a personal way, and attract the attention of this new generation of donors. In the process, we also aimed to re-energize the current donor base.
To realize this idea, the first step and centerpiece of the plan was the creation of Cases for Support for each initiative, bringing to life how cutting edge research was translating to improved care in five important areas:
- Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine
- Rady Children’s Institute for Brain Biology and Behavioral Health
- Rady Children’s Institute for Neurosciences
- Rady Children’s Institute for Heart and Cardiovascular Health
- Rady Children’s Institute for Oncology and Hematology
By arming the Foundation with new data points and focused causes donors could engage with in a personal way, the first year of this new fundraising effort produced:
- 8% growth in the number of donors
- 16 gifts of $1 million or more
- More than $6 million in donations earmarked to create the nation’s first pediatric psychiatric emergency department
As by-products of this initiative, hospital leadership has cited greater success in physician recruitment, and an uptick in high profile parents from around the world bringing their children to San Diego for specialized care, creating additional fundraising opportunities — without any increase in fundraising costs.
See the Work
After some tumultuous years, the leadership at LFA, together with their parent and alumni communities, had shored up their finances, made needed investments in infrastructure and increased enrollment of both boarding and day students to a total of 300.
In 2016, they made a strategic commitment to build on these accomplishments and momentum to compete more directly with the elite East Coast boarding schools, with the goal of attracting a deeper and more diverse pool of highly qualified applicants.
Canteen was engaged to develop a strategic communications plan to help LFA expand its reach and reputation.
Preliminary market research revealed major hurdles in aligning LFA with East Coast schools. While not impossible, the cost and time associated with getting there was not consistent with LFA’s budget and immediate goals.
Instead, we recommended a strategy that capitalized on the school’s unique assets: Its Midwest location and the values associated with it: Friendly, welcoming, hardworking and unpretentious. We re-positioned the school as having a “Midwestern Heart and Global Mind”. The resulting communications plan articulated this idea, along with a more contemporary look, voice and logo, across all touch points with potential students, parents and alumni.
- In just two years, enrollment grew from 300 to 435, reaching full capacity
- $90 million in incremental funds were raised for endowment and capital improvements
- LFA received recognition as the top private secondary school in the State of Illinois
See the Work
NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is a local fixture in the affluent suburbs north of Chicago. In 2003, it received national recognition for being an early leader in implementing a comprehensive Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, a very important advance in the delivery of life-saving care. The hospital leadership wanted to capitalize on this newfound notoriety and cement its position as a nationally recognized research institution by raising funds to build and showcase a new Center for Genomic Medicine. Canteen was engaged to help craft a story that would bring this vision to life for potential donors.
While Genomic Science is widely believed to hold the keys to the next era in healthcare, the subject is often presented in breathless technical terms that make it seem like science fiction — a thing of the future. In order to bring the promise of genomics to life and create a sense of immediacy, Canteen developed a communications plan under the organizing theme “Next Medicine Now”, backed up by real-life stories of lives already saved and diseases prevented by the physician scientists at NorthShore. A video was crafted to dramatize these stories and the part donors could play in transforming expectations of good health and longevity. A fundraising tool kit was developed with talking points and anecdotes for fundraisers to use in conversation with potential donors.
- The Foundation exceeded its fundraising goal for Genomic Medicine by 20% in less than two years
- The NorthShore Center for Personalized Medicine was formally launched in 2015
- The “Next Medicine Now” theme and messaging were adapted by the hospital to serve as their patient and community-facing ad campaign “Healthcare for What’s Next”