Competing for Donors' Dollars

January 12, 1995

Carroll County General Hospital is taking the pulse of the community, interviewing local leaders about a burning issue.

Managed care, health care cost containment, state deregulation? No, the crucial question is: What are the chances of success for a $15 million fund-raising campaign this year?

The question is important for the institution because of three other major fund-raising drives planned by Carroll County organizations over the next 12 months. Before committing significant resources, along with its credibility, to a campaign, the hospital must determine if the results will be worth it.

"If the survey finds we have to wait another year, that you can't have everyone dipping into people's pockets for money at the same time, then some of our growth may have to wait," says Dr. Neil Borrelli, president of the non-profit hospital's foundation.

Also considering capital campaigns are the Community Foundation of Carroll County Inc., Carroll Community College and Western Maryland College. Each has a different type of goal, and presumably a different donor target group, which may minimize potential for conflict among the drives.

The Community Foundation, formed last year by area businesses to keep local donations working in the local area, hopes to build up an endowment fund to finance worthy causes. The community college wants to construct an amphitheater for public performances. The hospital aims to add a cancer treatment facility and outpatient surgery center. WMC will launch its first comprehensive campaign to extensively rebuild the private college's Westminster campus.

But it's certainly prudent for each local institution to consider whether its audience may be put off by overlapping charity requests at the same time. It is particularly important in securing the large gifts from wealthy donors that create campaign momentum.

We hope that the county's citizens will respond generously to these worthy causes, trusting that there will be enough beneficence in our community to meet these varying needs. At the same time, the organizations should strive to coordinate efforts and avoid duplication that could waste precious goodwill and volunteer spirit.

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