Our EveryAction Hero: St. John’s Hospital Foundation

October 4, 2018 | EveryAction Team

St. John’s Hospital Foundation has been working since 1999 to support St. John’s Medical Center. 

With their support, the medical center is now rated 5 stars by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS (a hospital rating agency) and the foundation is continuing its incredible work to build a living center and meet the needs of their local community.

I spoke with John Goettler and Katie Long from the foundation to talk about some of the amazing work they do and why reliable technology tools are integral to running a successful hospital foundation.

So, to start can you give us a little background on your organization and its mission?

St. John’s Hospital Foundation was created in 1999. Our mission is to support the St. John’s Medical Center. In the 5 years I’ve been here, we have substantially revitalized the hospital foundation with both new staff members and new board members.

The medical center has about 750 employees and is widely considered the largest employer in Jackson Hole. We serve a very large geographic area including multiple counties in Wyoming and a county or so in Idaho.

Your mission is focused on supporting the medical center which seems to be an integral part of the community. What are some of your strategies for acquiring new donors?

We have had a loyal group of donors that generously support to our annual appeal every year, and a couple of hundred that we now consider part of our Donnan Society or our Friends of the Foundation program for lifetime gifts over $100,000. We also have a direct mail program so we do get between 30 and 50 thousand dollars a year just from our annual mail appeals. Mail is just one of the platforms that allows us to get to know and thank our donors. Aside from that most of our acquisition comes though events. We have a very active St. Johns auxiliary.

The auxillary at St. John’s had about a dozen members back in 2013 but since then we’ve managed to get it to almost 70. Today they’re really thriving and hosting special event galas and a golf outing. We also do a number of 3rd party events like runs and walks, and with events like these we actually triple our ROI. All of our events have been a key tool for us to meet new friends and neighbors. It’s also been one of the ways we’ve been able to improve the medical center. CMS has now rated us a 5 star facility and there are actually only 86 out of about 5,000 hospitals in the country that have that high of a rating!

You briefly mentioned the different societies you have at St. John’s. Can you talk a little bit more about how you use these to incentivize donors.

So many medical foundations around the country have found it helpful to invite their larger donors to learn more about the programs and services that are offered. We have quarterly Friends of the Foundation receptions. For these we bring in our new and talented doctors and they come and give an 8–12 minute presentation on what’s new in their field. What was initially viewed with some skepticism and event fatigue instead has been met with excitement! We also encourage existing members to bring their friends to these receptions. It’s an opportunity for them to hear from our great staff and our CEO and all that helps to build our donor base.

I saw that one of the key campaigns you’re currently working on is a senior living center. Tell us a bit more about this campaign!

As I mentioned we have a skilled long term care facility. It was built in 1989 for 60 residents. While the care is considered state-of-the-art, the facilities could use a refresh. Jackson has a penny tax and that extra penny goes to fund projects around the community. With that money the community has built a lot of pathways, a new recreation center and we’ve built a lot of facilities around the hospital.

We’ve been talking about creating a new living center for a while so we went and asked the voters of Teton county for $17 million to help build a new facility that we believed would cost $35 million. The logic here being that the community would come up with half of the funds, the medical center would contribute $9 million and the foundation would raise the rest, and it worked!

I’m proud to say that we ran a solid campaign. It was clear as we met with people that there was a real need for this center. We didn’t have a facility that could do memory care or a facility that could work with rehabilitating patients from surgery. All these are needs of our community and we wanted to ensure that the living center could meet it.

As of now, we’re well underway with the campaigns to the point that we’ve raised the goal we set for ourselves from $9 million to $15million and the extra $6 million will help us build not only a larger facility but a better facility.

You have one of the most beautiful websites! What is the role of technology in your organization and how has it helped you to achieve your mission?

Our website is centered around creating a sense of place while also sharing our story. The work that we do is critical to ensuring our community can thrive.

We used to use Blackbaud/Raiser’s Edge and they just missed the whole movement to Facebook, Instagram and Social media. We were very frustrated with their platform. Pretty early on we knew that we had to do more than build a new website. We had to get a new donor software in place. We interviewed a lot of different CRMS and were impressed with EveryAction.  With Blackbaud we did not have any integrations with our donation forms or event forms. So for example we have a golf tournament coming up at the end of the month and I can actually build the form and people can buy raffle tickets online or they can register for the tournament itself and we never had that option before. 

Even for our online donations we had to do it though PayPal before we made the switch to EveryAction. Now, I can run a report from a form and know exactly who donated and where. It has been very intuitive for us to learn . For other systems you have to do days of training and you leave and still have no clue how to use it. With EveryAction I just did a 40 minute video training and then ran with it! I pulled two reports I needed earlier this morning in 5 seconds whereas it used to take me half a day!


To learn more about St. John’s Hospital Foundation visit their website here!