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The Big Misconception: Reporting to the CEO

As health care philanthropy executives, we are frequently told that to be successful, we need to report directly to the CEO. It’s not rocket science to know that if a strong and effective relationship is formed with our CEO, our work becomes an extended and parallel vision of the CEO throughout the community. We also need to fully understand the strategic direction of the organization in order to create alignment and build a compelling case for philanthropic support. More importantly, we must be aware of the overall strategic plan, why it’s relevant to the organization’s future success, as well as how it will be implemented. The optics of reporting to the CEO not only elevates the importance of philanthropy internally among the C-Suite and broader organization, it also sends a powerful message that philanthropy is a critical component to the overall strategy and long-term strength of the health care organization.