top of page

Wave Campaignsᵀᴹ: Transformative Philanthropy in Action

Health care philanthropy executives must proactively respond to a changing health care landscape in order to expand philanthropic support and to position philanthropy as a valuable, alternative revenue source to power the health care organization’s most important plans. This means one of the most critical areas of fund development to optimize is the comprehensive campaign. Wave Campaigns™ provide an integrated approach to case-driven giving that engages and leverages the influence of key allies, aligns more effectively with the supported health care organization and eliminates excess time and infrastructure.

Features of Wave Campaigning:

Integration, Agility and Continuity

Wave Campaigns™ differ from traditional campaigns in terms of integration, timeline and agility. Efforts are fully integrated against the existing development program and the supported health care organization. The approach also uses an accelerated pace that is more agile and nimble—reducing campaign solicitation time from the traditional 36-60 months to 18-24 months, better aligning with shorter health care organization planning cycles. This tightened timeline positions the organization for more focused engagement of volunteers, physicians and other allies. As one initiative finishes, there is a 4-6-month period to recalibrate and pivot to a new case for support.


The health care C-Suite is a linchpin to securing organizational alignment and to articulating a compelling organizational vision and strategy. Governing and foundation board members provide a unique link to the community that carries gravitas and objective credibility. Wave Campaigning leverages the meaningful involvement of leaders by ensuring they are informed, engaged and prepared to serve; by engaging them in well-defined activities tailored to each leader’s unique preferences and skills and by using streamlined structures to facilitate their involvement for key interactions at key times.

Strategically-Aligned Project Selection™ (SAPS)

Priorities for philanthropic funding must be tightly aligned with the strategic vision, plans and potential of the health care organization to optimize the impact of philanthropy. Thus, thoughtful project selection in partnership with health care organization leadership becomes the essential catalyst to identify a compelling case for support that establishes a solid foundation for successful campaigning.

Infrastructure and Processes

Great strategy must be supported by sound internal operations, budgetary investment, data management, business intelligence, processes and more. Further, organizations must be appropriately staffed with frontline talent with the expertise and resources to be successful. Wave Campaigns™ address capacity in a more holistic manner to consider and address issues and opportunities that will elevate performance long after the campaign has ended.


Clinician engagement is a centerpiece of the new campaign. Physicians and nurses are not only the focal point of patient gratitude –one of the strongest determinants of likelihood to give—but also have outsize credibility in sharing the clinical impact of proposed work with prospective donor investors. Wave Campaigning carefully matches the case for support with select physician partners to engage clinicians around their areas of affinity and individual passion to harness the interest and energy of these powerful advocates. The approach also maximizes the utilization of HIPAA-compliant patient data for prospect prioritization.

Case and Communications

Prospective donors have new expectations around communication. They want to be engaged where they work and live in dynamic, two-way communication with strong visuals and compelling content. This makes strategic case development and communications that clearly share the value proposition of giving with select target audiences a vehicle for deepening interest and engagement.

Progressive Portfolio Management

Progressive portfolio management dramatically refines traditional major gifts efforts. It not only addresses prospect pipeline, relationship management and performance indicators but also coaches relationship managers to position each to excel. Wave Campaigns™ depart from glutted portfolios with 100-200 prospect assignments to a streamlined 50 assigned, active prospects per relationship manager to support focus on those who are best positioned to be transformational partners and to drive greater staff efficiency and effectiveness.


Donors are now largely “impact investors” who give to create measurable and demonstrable outcomes rather than to be altruistic. Uncovering and responding to donors’ values, passions and intent is about more than just matching organizational priorities with a donor’s clinical experience. Truly placing donors—rather than gift closure or dollar amount—at the center of the experience better honors the spirit of philanthropy for all involved.

Wave Campaigns™ recalibrate the traditional campaign to be agile, integrated and smart. Wave Campaigning is case-driven, clinician-led, organization-aligned and passion-fueled to better meet and exceed donor needs and expectations without the frantic, left behind or left out experience that can be inherent in traditional campaigns. To capture new potential at a dynamic time in health care, it is simply time to embrace a better way to campaign.

Accordant White Paper_Wave Campaigns
Download PDF • 1.54MB

About the Author: Heather Wiley Starankovic, CFRE, CAP, is a Principal Consultant with Accordant, with a dedication to supporting staff members and creating programs that keep talented and dedicated servant leaders within the field. She can be reached at or through LinkedIn.


Our Blog


The Accordant Team has published a number of books to advance the efforts of health care philanthropy and help development leaders everywhere. 

trustee logo_1.png

Accordant is honored to collaborate with American Hospital Association Trustee Services to provide issue papers, templates and webinars to support the involvement of healthcare trustees and foundation board members in advancing philanthropy. These resources can also be found on the AHA Trustee website.

bottom of page