Grateful Patients Potential to Advance Natural Medicine
Robert Olson, INM Development Director
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
by: Robert Olson, INM Development Director


There is almost always a shortage of financial support to tackle the issues confronting naturopathic medicine’s acceptance and growth. The Institute for Natural Medicine, (INM) the charitable arm of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, recently completed a planning study to address this gap and is launching a program to acquire major donor support from what is known in healthcare philanthropy as “grateful patient fund raising.”

Michelle Simon, ND, PhD and Chair of the INM board of directors has said “Our high priority is to provide funds to state associations, support residency programs, and increase access to NDs through a public affairs initiative.”

Dr. Simon emphasized that with the help of naturopathic physicians, the INM will tell a compelling story which will offer grateful patients an opportunity to invest in enhancements to awaken everyone to the value of natural medicine. This ongoing grateful patient project is designated the Physician and Individual Partnership for Health and Philanthropy (PIPHP).

The PIPHP is chaired by Dr. Holly Lucille and Dr. Michael Cronin who are also board members of the INM. These leaders are currently working to enlist the support of NDs from throughout the country. The program is supported by a Certified Fund Raising Executive with 24 years’ experience in healthcare fundraising.

Medical academic institutions have successfully raised billions through the engagement of their physicians in grateful patient fundraising. Leading health organizations and medical associations recognize the tremendous creditability physicians bring to the fund raising efforts. Physician participation in the identification and cultivation of “grateful patients” can open the door to building relationships. These relationships lead to significant philanthropy directed toward the organization.

According to research from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, $298 billion was given to not-for-profit organizations in 2013. Eighty-one percent of these charitable gifts were from individuals. The major emphasis of the INM is to focus on cultivating and attracting major gifts from individuals to provide financial support to advance initiatives.

The annual time commitment by the ND PIPHP volunteer is estimated to be less than 4 hours for each prospect suggested. This includes:
  • • Helping identify affluent individuals who want to sustain and strengthen natural medicine healthcare for the benefit of their family, friends, and neighbors.
  • • Participation in the cultivation of individuals in a manner comfortable for the physician member. Physicians will not be required to ask for the donation. The “ask” meeting will be handled by the INM Director of Development or the CEO of the INM.
  • • Providing an introduction to INM Director of Development. Participate in the preparation and endorsement of the major gift proposal.
The naturopathic physicians will comply with HIPAA standards by following a carefully prepared process which insures full compliance with state and federal regulations should the prospect be a patient of the participating physician.

To learn more about this program contact Dr. Holly Lucille, Dr. Michael Cronin or Robert Olson.
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