Foundation Focus: How Children’s Hospitals Leverage Content to Cultivate Donors

by Thomas Crocker, Copywriter - 03/14/18


Stories about children who have overcome serious illness or injury tug at the heartstrings—and they can be powerful calls to philanthropic action.

Children’s hospitals have an advantage over other healthcare organizations when it comes to content creation, and it lies in what they work toward every day: help sick children get well. Every story about a young patient is, at its heart, a story about family, and that has universal relevance and resonance.

For children’s hospitals, patient stories are potent tools for inspiring philanthropic support that allows them to further their missions. What greater proof of a children’s hospital’s value than the story of a patient who is able to play, learn, and strive toward his or her potential because of its care? What stronger call for action than the story of a family committed to fighting the rare disease that took their child?

The ways children’s hospitals tell their patients’ stories are as unique as the children themselves.

Content as a Catalyst for Giving

Since All Children’s Hospital became part of Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2011, the St. Petersburg, Florida, hospital has transformed from a regional hospital into an academic health system. The teaching hospital is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in three children’s specialties: cardiology and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, and orthopedics. Research and education are major priorities, and philanthropic support helps drive both.

Without a personal connection, these programs can be difficult for potential donors to appreciate, however. The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation’s For the Kids publication, developed in partnership with True North Custom, often highlights the hospital’s leading-edge programs through the lens of patient stories.

Recently, the magazine featured the hospital’s work on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), an infant condition caused by maternal opioid use during pregnancy. To make the topic less abstract, the article wove in the story of a toddler who was born with NAS and was able to overcome many developmental issues, thanks to the care he received at Johns Hopkins All Children’s.

Even stories that don’t have the happiest endings can have a positive impact. One piece in For the Kids focused on a patient who, despite the doctors’ best efforts, didn’t pull through. The child’s mother continued his fight, however, raising funds for research and awareness through the foundation. The tragedy of their loss became a powerful message of hope and call to action for readers.

Since For the Kids launched more than two years ago, the publication has become an integral part of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation brand identity, community engagement and fundraising efforts. The marketing team receives positive feedback from the internal and external audiences, and the program’s impact includes contributions from donors who otherwise might not have opened their hearts—and wallets—to support the hospital’s mission.

In fact, one donor was moved to send a gift of $5,000 after reading a feature article titled “The Mind/Body Branch” in a recent issue. The first-time donor said he loved reading about the difference that gifts are making every day at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and wanted to be a part of the donor community.

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Topics: Physician Marketing, Content Marketing

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