Fundraising Success at Boston Children’s Amid a Pandemic
// By Marcia Simon, APR //
When you have hundreds of runners raising money for you, and the Boston Marathon — usually held on the third Monday in April — gets canceled, how do you bounce back? Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, the pediatric hospital’s fundraising arm, found lots of ways to keep the donations flowing in a year like no other.
Like every other health care operation, fundraising has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Foundations, trusts, and development departments have had to squeeze all the creative juices they could muster to tackle an unpredictable, unprecedented situation.
Boston Children’s Hospital sets the bar high. Named the country’s #1 Pediatric Hospital by U.S. News & World Report for seven straight years including this one, Boston Children’s Hospital Trust raises millions of dollars to support children, their families, caregivers, and research relating to care for kids with trauma, diabetes, cancer, and surgery needs, as well as babies in the NICU. One of its biggest fundraising events is the Boston Marathon.
“We have almost 200 people who run for Boston Children’s Hospital every year and we’re waiting anxiously to see if the Boston Athletic Association’s projected October 11 race date this year will be possible,” says Michael Bornhorst, associate vice president, corporate development, leadership giving, and special events at Boston Children’s Hospital Trust.
With fingers crossed for a return to a big event through the streets, Bornhorst is also prepared to stick with the trust’s pandemic strategy if it turns out that strict safety precautions limiting crowd size will still be necessary this fall.
Realistically, nobody knows how the year will unfold. In the meantime, the trust has adapted well to fundraising during a pandemic and found new ways to win, through virtual engagement, and storytelling that “tugs at the heartstrings.”