Launching the Next Stage at the Grand River Hospital Foundation

Retention. Growth. Efficiency.

<aside> 💡 Dare Mighty Things - Perseverance Rover Parachute


We could not have asked for a better start to the evolution of the Grand River Hospital Foundation. The ignition of change that the pandemic provided helped us in such a dramatic way. It enabled our team to build a culture welcoming of change, open to trailblazing and passionate for achieving big results.  There is not a current system in place at our organization that hasn’t been iterated to better in the last year.  The plans you read will serve as a foundation for the next stage. We have had one very successful year, this is the plan to continue that trajectory.


Our favorite project of the last year has been our use of the Token of Gratitude. We were about to launch our coffee coin to all of our donors through their tax receipts and then pandemic!    The team pivoted and within a few weeks we had enabled our supporters to donate funds to buy a health care worker a coffee - we’ve  sold nearly 5,000 of them.  Not only do our donors regularly add them to a donation or purchase, but they have been critical in building the hospital relationship and the start of a philanthropic culture.  A positive morale (and caffeine) boost for staff can be simply made by dropping off these coins to a team or unit.

As the story above illustrates, we won’t hit everything in the right way or at the right time, but we can seize each opportunity with our values in hand and make hay while the sun shines… When we launch an initiative, we will be thorough in our thought process**,** wise in our implementation and mindful of what we spend.  We will listen to supporters and our community to deliver a top-notch experience when they support the Grand River Hospital Foundation.

<aside> 💡 We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages. Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.


We are thinking like a startup. In March, our Innovation squad fixed a headache after hearing some of the challenges related to giving donors copies of the receipt.  They worked with our software developer and created an automated pathway that will insert a pdf of a donor receipt right in their record.  This is now built into the software and will save many hours over the course of each year.


One of the hardest things we have to do is try to anticipate what is going to happen in any given year.  What we can do is establish the right conditions for our goals in every aspect and strive toward them.  This is one reason why we are passionate about the 12 Week Year Model.

By taking a few days for reflection, evaluation and conscientiously planning every quarter we clear the decks and focus on what matters. The deadline of the quarter’s goals, can drive people and teams in a way that is more urgent than an annual goal that is many months away. We are going to focus more on this concept and the shorter time frames, to further engage our sense of urgency.

There are those who believe that the philanthropic pie is limited, that growth at Grand River limits other giving and just re-allocates charitable dollars.  We do not believe that.  We believe growth at Grand River will raise all ships and increase overall investments in health care philanthropy.

The work we are undertaking here and now to build our Health System will be the most critical investment one can make.  We are confident we can make that case to the community in a multitude of ways, inviting them to be a part of the journey in a way that works individually for them.

As for looking ahead and planning on what we will receive from what donor when, I can’t imagine a more challenging task fraught with error.  When we developed this plan and this budget, we evaluated our capacity, our base of support and perhaps most critically the momentum of our community to build our health system.

We are a team ready to activate and move quickly to where opportunity lies.  Because of this we don’t want to be fully baked in our plans for each quarter.  We prefer to  model what we believe is our capacity in order to  predict what we are going to do over the next few quarters. See Appendix 1 for the Project by Quarter list.

What We Know

Looking Ahead