If not for the generosity of our supporters, JourneyCare could not offer the extensive services it provides to patients and families across 10 Illinois counties. Thanks to their help, JourneyCare is able to offer therapies not covered by insurance, such as Music Care Services, as well as aid families who are unable to pay for care.
To ensure that JourneyCare can always say “yes” to patients in need, fundraising is a critical part of our mission. The JourneyCare Foundation is leading the charge in this effort, and its Board of Trustees has formed a Development Committee with Roy Gibson, serving as chair, and Mike Beemer, serving as vice-chair. Here, both men discuss why fundraising is critical to spreading JourneyCare’s mission.
What is the role of the Development Committee?
Gibson: The official description says we are to lead JourneyCare’s Board of Trustees and Board of Directors in enhancing engagement and investment in JourneyCare’s mission, as well as focusing on strategic fundraising. In other words, our role is to bring together all stakeholders to spread the JourneyCare message, while cultivating resources that will help deliver quality care to patients and their families.
Beemer: Under the leadership of JourneyCare Foundation President Joe Matty, our goal is to develop philanthropic relationships by inspiring others with JourneyCare’s mission. The Foundation and its Development Committee aim to raise and account for funds that will support patients and families and show donors how their giving is making an impact.
What connects you to JourneyCare’s mission?
Gibson: I have always had an interest in healthcare and, prior to my work with JourneyCare, I have served other nonprofits that offer medical care to working families who cannot afford services. My work as a banking relationship manager ultimately connected me with the JourneyCare Board and this was ideal because I believe in the dignity of life, and I believe in the dignity of death.
Beemer: My passion for the mission comes from over 30 years of listening to families whose loved ones have been served by hospice and palliative care. My wife, Diane, and I have referred so many people for care who have had profound experiences and expressed heartfelt gratitude. But I support the cause of hospice and palliative care not only from a quality-of-life standpoint, but also from a cost-efficiency standpoint. (Research published in 2013 found that hospice enrollment saves money for Medicare and improves care quality for Medicare beneficiaries, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.)
How do you get others to be passionate about JourneyCare when there are so many other causes in Chicago and its suburbs?
Gibson: First, we must highlight what makes JourneyCare different. Two ways this is true is that we are more connected to our communities than most other organizations, and we provide better services. The world is changing in regard to how donors want to interact with the organizations they support – they want to make sure there is an impact and stay connected to the humanity of it all. JourneyCare must succeed in these areas.
Beemer: I agree that differentiating ourselves is key. It seems it should be easy to raise money because we serve prosperous areas. But the competition is tremendous from museums and symphonies, social service agencies, hospitals and other charitable and educational organizations. As trustees, we understand what it’s like to be both a donor and solicitor, so we can strategically evaluate our communications and how they affect JourneyCare supporters.
Once someone chooses to support JourneyCare, what are they hoping to see?
Gibson: There are two critical things donors want to see. First, they want to see good use of their dollars with low administration costs or at least costs at industry standards. Second, they want to know that most of their gifts fund existing services, new programs and unfunded programs like JourneyCare’s integrative therapies.
Beemer: It has been my experience that people often give to people, more than to causes. That’s why our colleagues in the JourneyCare Foundation, play such critical roles – they have developed important personal relationships that assure our supporters that we are grateful for their generosity and that they are part of a larger network that provides high-quality services to so many in our communities. Our donors should be able to feel good about the organization they are supporting. It is critical to thank them often and show our good stewardship.