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7 Tips for Funding Radiology


A radiologist and former Johns Hopkins president lays out guidance for how radiologists can successfully raise money for department activities.

In a world where grant dollars are increasingly hard to come by, more and more academic institutions – and their radiology departments – are relying on the generosity of others to foot the bill for their activities.

Chances are, you will be faced with a need to conduct fundraising at some point during your career, and having at least a rudimentary understanding of how to do it will be important.

William Brody, M.D., Ph.D., a radiologist who served as president of Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2009 offered several tips for successful fundraising in his recent April 28 letter in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“Whether you are a newly appointed assistant professor of radiology, a dean of the medical school, CEO of a health system, or a university president, knowing how to raise funds is critical to your success and the success of the department or organization you represent,” he wrote. “Fundamentally, fundraising is selling. I am not talking about your grandfather’s used car salesman. Selling is a universal skill that can be learned.”

Cultivate friends: Fundraising, also called friend-raising, isn’t always about the money. It’s about developing long-term relationships with donors who will support your department or your institution long-term.

Don’t be afraid to ask again: It’s okay to go back to donors who have already contributed. They are often the ones most likely to give again.

Follow the fundraising steps: Regardless of your goal – a research grant, a new building, or an endowed professorship – there are four steps to achieving success: attention, interest, desire, and tying up the sale or donation.

Invest your own money: This doesn’t mean putting your own money into the fundraising coffers. Instead, contribute to staff who can help you cultivate donors, conduct background research on prospects, as well as develop your brochures, demonstrations, advertisements, and other collateral to attract donors.

Be a squeaky wheel: Radiology isn’t always the first specialty that jumps to mind when donors are considering making a gift. The lack of face-to-face patient contact you have with patients makes it all the more important to be proactive in your efforts.

Highlight your tech savviness: Radiology is on the leading edge with technology, including artificial intelligence. Playing up that experience can entice donor prospects who might not be interested in other areas of medicine, including technology company leaders, venture capitalists, and patients with technology interests.

Don’t be intimidated: Don’t worry if fundraising doesn’t come naturally. You can learn the skill. Be sure to give it a try, though, because raising financial support could be a critical part of your career.

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