What are examples of crowdfunded medical research

Who donates for medicine and why?

Health care donations cannot and should not cover basic health care, but they do gain extra meaning in times of crisis. A recent study looked at who donates for medicine and why.


The decision to donate for a specific purpose or a specific area is individual and can be traced back to a wide variety of motivations. Nevertheless, similarities can be identified. A new nationwide study, published by the Essen University Medicine Foundation, examined in detail the donor behavior in the field of university medicine for the first time and took up a question that could not be more topical in view of the corona pandemic: Who donates for medicine and why? And what significance can donations have in healthcare now and in the future? The economic situation in many German hospitals is getting worse: The public funds are insufficient to finance all the projects that would be necessary to enable innovative research projects, to care for patients according to the highest standards or to teach prospective doctors according to the latest teaching methods. At the same time, Corona has shown how important these factors are.

Research the socio-demographic characteristics of donors

The healthcare system is needed as a stable pillar of our infrastructure. Donations may not be the only way to find additional sources of funding, but they can make a significant contribution. Many hospitals have recognized this and are professionally fundraising. So it was time to ask about the motives, origins and socio-demographic characteristics of private individuals who promote medicine. Over 7,200 donors at eight university clinic locations were asked to take part in the study using a written questionnaire. The response rate was 18 percent.

Results show who is donating

The results show that the average donor is 65.5 years old, retired and married. The donors reveal a strong bond with the region. Older people are more likely to donate out of gratitude for previous medical treatment, while younger people are more likely to have altruistic motives. Overall, the effective use of funds is the most frequently mentioned motivation for donations. In addition to intrinsic factors, which have a major influence on the motivation to donate, extrinsic factors also play a decisive role. Because the topics communicated can arouse the interest of existing and potential donors and, ideally, trigger a donation motivation. The prerequisite: knowing the interests of your supporters.

Medical research as a funding priority

Within the scope of the study, information on projects from science and research was cited most frequently with 33.3 percent, followed by projects in patient care with 32.6 percent. When asked about funding priorities for the use of future donations, medical research with 36.7 percent and health care with 37.2 percent are almost on par. The first step is done for the committed people

To inspire and win the goals and purposes of one's own work, these in turn can become multipliers and pass on their own enthusiasm to their social environment. 67 percent of those questioned can imagine this.

Motivation to donate in times of crisis

The circle of supporters is growing. But what about the motivation and behavior of donors in times of crisis? And how can institutions deal with their donors when conditions suddenly change and action plans no longer work? The University Medicine Foundation has found an answer for itself: not to forget your own donors and their interests and motivations, but to keep them involved in the work. Because especially in times of crisis there is often a desire to provide immediate aid, to show solidarity and to demonstrate solidarity. The feeling of being there for one another and helping one another is given a new status.

Commitment is vital

With its nationwide initiative “Donations for Corona”, the foundation, together with its supporters, provides help for research on the coronavirus and additional care projects for patients and medical and nursing staff. In this way, it takes into account the interests of its donors - promoting research and health care - and reacts to the needs urgently needed during the crisis. Because it is clear now and in the future: Joint commitment to strengthening the health system is vital.

The authors of this text:

Jorit Neß as managing director of Essen University Medicine Foundation coordinated the study. He is the head of the fundraising department at the Essen University Medical Center as well as managing director of other foundations under the umbrella of the Stiftungsbund - an alliance of foundations that are involved in the health sector. He launched the “Donations for Corona” initiative to provide immediate aid for research and health care.

Carina helpers is the deputy head of the fundraising department at University Medicine Essen and Head of Funding Projects for the Essen University Medicine Foundation. She accompanied both the study and the “Donations for Corona” initiative from the start. Her focus is on the areas of large-scale donation fundraising, corporate partnerships and development foundations.

The study

Editor: University Medicine Essen Foundation. Study partners: German Fundraising Association, Association of University Hospitals in Germany, Van Acken Fundraising GmbH,
ISBN 978-3-00-064447-4.
The study “Who donates for medicine and why?” Is available at www.dfrv.de and www.universitaetsmedizin.de

Illustration above: Pixabay, Cover study: Foundation University Medicine Essen

There are more practical tips and ideas about donations for clubs, organizations and foundations in the printed booklet. The fundraiser magazine is not available at the kiosk, only exclusively from the publisher. You can order here.