In 2004, with support from CFI, American Cancer Society, Illinois Division (ACS) created Patient Navigation Services™ (PNS).PNS provides cancer patients with an information lifeline, day-to-day help and emotional support from the moment of diagnosis forward.ACS staffs PNS with patient service coordinators called “Patient Navigators” who are responsible for most of the one-on-one contacts with cancer patients, their families and caregivers, as well as maintaining a Community Resources Database which allows program employees to inform cancer patients from across the nation regarding services local to the inquiring patient.
PNS has increased the delivery of services to its rural regions outside of the Chicago metro area.In the same manner, it is developing local revenue sources.Historically, ACS’s regional fundraising has revolved around special events run by volunteers.ACS recognized that to ensure the sustainability of PNS in rural regions, local community funders and larger gifts needed to be identified.
In 2009, ACS undertook the training of Regional Vice Presidents, Directors and volunteers to advance major gift fundraising from relatively high net worth individuals and family foundations in their regions.The “Coleman Challenge” provided motivation and impetus for the development of sustaining supporters from the rural regions in which PNS delivers services.CFI provided a matching gift incentive to campaign participants from the rural regions, matching $1 for each $2 raised.
Over the course of the 18-month campaign, $419,338 was raised from 671 contributors.
Average gift size was $623, a 409 percent increase over the pre-challenge average.
PNS program added value to the patients’ experience with a hospital and in turn hospitals endorse the PNS program via physician referrals and financial support.
New sustainable funding relationships were formed with local high net worth individuals and family foundations.
Key Lesson Learned:Matching gift campaign motivated givers even in a down economy
The matching funds provided by CFI to ACS attracted sustainable major gift philanthropy even in the midst of the recessed U.S. economy.The primary example was demonstrated by the improvement in overall giving in the ACS’s Peoria Region. Though this community had been heavily burdened by employment cuts at the area’s largest corporation, matching funds stimulated four new major gift relationships.The value of these relationships increased the average monthly contribution levels by a factor of nearly 550 percent during the grant period.
Key Lesson Learned:Volunteers can be turned into de facto major gifts officers
ACS also learned that training local volunteer leadership on the principles of relational fundraising and capital campaigning can lead to new behaviors and pay big dividends.In the Champaign region, the voluntary campaign chair reached out to his employer in a new way and garnered a $25,000 gift.Spurred by this success other local volunteers reached out to their spheres of influence for major gifts.Over the course of the challenge, these actions improved annual contributions to PNS from less than $1,000 to over $116,000.