The Goal

To create a culture of philanthropy to broaden fundraising efforts beyond corporate partnerships and sponsorships. 

The Situation

As a professional membership organization, The American College of Physicians (ACP) is committed to advancing internal medicine and to providing high-quality care to patients. With 161,000 members, ACP seeks to promote internal medicine physicians as community leaders at the cornerstone of the future of healthcare.  

Like many professional organizations, ACP’s funding had historically been focused on corporate giving. Individual giving was limited, and members didn’t have a clear understanding of the impact that donations could have on the mission. In short, ACP needed to build a culture of philanthropy.  

The Approach

Phase 1 | Development Assessment and Planning

The initial engagement between ACP and Alford Group was a comprehensive development plan for individual giving that addressed both growth in annual support and initiatives requiring special gifts and grants. 

Together with ACP, Alford Group outlined a five-year plan that included: 

  • The purpose for funds to be raised, clearly articulating strategic priorities and potential impact in a case-for-support 
  • The channel for raising those funds, based on Alford Analytics assessing philanthropic trends and the unique donor journey at ACP 
  • The elements needed to successfully raise the funds, which included an infrastructure assessment (staffing, budget, strategies, calendar of activities, policies and results) 

Phase 2 | Strategic Fundraising Counsel

Once the plan was established, Alford Group continued to walk alongside ACP as they put it into action. The purpose of counsel was to align philanthropic engagement with ACP’s new strategic directives and accelerate the impact of the initiatives.  

From an infrastructure perspective, Alford Group provided insights to optimize staff roles and performance indicators, as well as support the reorganized development team. Additionally, the Development Advisory Committee was optimized and activated as the philanthropic ambassadors of ACP. 

The work in this phase also benefited from the shared values of the two organizations. Alford Group helped ACP develop a plan to integrate fundraising into its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work, which supports young career physicians with leadership development. Additionally, this phase leveraged philanthropy to promote physician leadership. 

Partnership Highlights

From day one, Alford Group was committed to helping ACP find a new way to approach philanthropy that was more aligned with its mission and goals. Together, they created a strong culture of philanthropy that got members more involved and connected to the mission. 

Now that ACP has an optimized fundraising infrastructure, it’s more efficient and effective for the organization to raise funds. And with improved communication with donors, the connection between philanthropy and the mission is stronger than ever. 

The Outcome

From crafting a comprehensive development plan to providing strategic fundraising counsel, this collaboration cultivated a robust culture of philanthropy within the organization. Through this work, Alford Group equipped ACP to better serve their mission in the following ways:  

  • Optimizing fundraising infrastructure 
  • Enhancing communication with donors 
  • Engaging 10 volunteer leaders and 4 staff members to cultivate volunteer fundraising leadership for future efforts 
  • Establishing 30-60-120-Day Action Steps for accountability and support 

Together, Alford Group and ACP have not only diversified funding streams, but also empowered members to connect more meaningfully with their unique approach to health care, marking a pivotal moment in ACP’s journey toward sustained impact and transformative change.