Fund Development and Relationship

Fund development can be a very frustrating topic for nonprofit leaders, particularly when neighborhood-level charities begin dealing with institutions such as hospitals, and for hospital departments attempting to align funding for department focus. That frustration can be overwhelming. 

First and foremost, all business agreements happen through relationships. This may be surprising for those of us new to business, who assume that business agreement is first and foremost transactional. The truth is, most seasoned leaders look for a relationship first (meaning trust, respectfulness, honesty, reasonableness, competency, business acumen, agreeableness) and then work out transactions (who gets what and what it costs) later. For those new in the field of fund development, it does not matter how good your idea is or your execution will be if the relationship is not yet in place. Become known as a reasonable, trustworthy, stable, and considerate leader and know that those qualities will bring your funding 75% the way there. Reputation and relational connection is the seedbed for business partnerships.

The sad news is that this irrefutable principle in business may takes some time to develop if you are a new factor in a community or in the hospital. Get known and get respected. There is always funding for good ideas and a community charity pharmacy is an exceptionally good idea. Such a model produces sustained improvement in health among the most complex patient populations, and does so at a fraction of the cost of other healthcare programs. But funding happens through trusted relationships, followed by accountability and follow through.