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May 14, 2015

Dana-Farber Naming Bargains Raise Millions from Small Donors

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has turned several spaces at its Boston complex into opportunities for small-scale naming gifts, buttressing its pursuit of the big-money donations that make up most medical philanthropy, The Boston Globe writes.

The research and treatment center has raised more than $4 million in recent years with displays featuring cartoon characters, replica zebrafish, and multicolored gene representations that can be purchased and personalized for $3,000 to $10,000.

The strategy, which Dana-Farber development executive Susan Paresky characterized as "heavy duty on the high end and heavy duty on the low end," contrasts with that of other major Boston hospitals, where naming opportunities start at $25,000 and the focus is overwhelmingly on large gifts.

While gift donations produce a higher return on fundraising expenses, "you have to remember that people don't just become major donors," said David Flood, chairman of the board of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. "They need to grow with you, so we need to pay attention to dollars at all different levels."