Conference to Address Fundraising Difficulties for Health Care Safety Net Providers in Michigan

This guest post is from Michael J. Montgomery, an adjunct faculty member at the Center for Nonprofit Management at Lawrence Technological University and owner/principal of Montgomery Consulting. He will be speaking on developing organization stability at Health Safety Net 2012: A Blues Symposium on May 24.

I’m excited to be presenting at the Healthy Safety Net 2012: A Blues Symposium, to be held May 23-24 at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing.

In my session at last year’s conference, we began a discussion on what clinic operators could do put a stronger base of financial support under their organizations. This year, we will continue that dialog with a panel discussion on funder expectations that will close out the 2012 Symposium.

What’s Changed in the Last Year?

We’ve clearly had some additional economic recovery. So it is not surprising that fundraisers and other nonprofit leaders are cautious but still basically upbeat about fundraising.

In our firm’s recent survey, the majority of those polled:

  1. Described their organization’s 2011 fundraising results as better than their 2010 results
  2. Rated current conditions for fundraising in their area as good
  3. Said they expected conditions for fundraising to be better in 2012 than they were in 2011.

For full results, click here.

What Hasn’t Changed?

I think the environment for charitable funding in Michigan is likely to remain tougher and more competitive than it was five years ago. For many types of nonprofit activity, government funding is already less available, and more funding programs are at risk in every budget cycle. Because payroll deduction has become so much less effective than it once was, many local United Way groups are now less able to be helpful than they once were.

In search of greater or more visible impact, quite a few foundations have narrowed the focus of their grant making to either specific geographies or by field of work. Not only are some corporate givers still on the sidelines, but each year there are fewer major locally controlled companies headquartered here in Michigan and still interested in making our causes major targets of their giving. The net effect of all this has been a more competitive fundraising environment for all organizations — and especially for organizations like community health clinics that have historically relied on proposal-driven fundraising for much of their funding.

Join us in Lansing on the 23rd and 24th for this year’s Healthy Safety Net symposium as we continue to wrestle with the challenge of assuring adequate funding for this critical work in what is likely to remain a pretty tough fiscal environment. (BTW… my personal view is that more effectively bringing individual donors into the clinic funding picture is likely to be part of the solution.)

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