This is the third in the series that explores the inner working relationship between a hospital foundation and its parent during a sale. The author, John Gilchrist, FAHP, CFRE, has lived through one nonprofit sale and is experiencing a second sale. His insights into this process can prove to be excellent counsel to an organization going through a merger or acquisition.

With the January 13 announcement, I took advantage of using the year end summary of giving to present the facts around the sale. As usual, every donor, regardless of amount, in the prior year received his/her summary of giving, along with the general stewardship report. In addition, a 2-page Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) supplement was provided. If you would like a copy, please e-mail me at

Patience is needed in preparation of these materials – the corporate communications team must approve any external communications after the announcement. One lesson for the reader to take: Use the January 31 deadline the Foundation normally notifies each donor who has made a gift of single gift $250 the breakdown of charitable gifts vs. the Fair Market Value (FMV) Foundation provided goods and services, i.e. how much of the event ticket is eligible for a federal charitable tax deduction, and use it as a prime communications vehicle.

I salute our corporate communications professionals for their assistance in preparation of the FAQ with the many pressures tugging at their schedules. Another lesson: the Foundation executive must lead in the process, but cannot do it alone.

With the communication priorities of employee, physician, and bondholder relations (and creditor committee in a bankruptcy filing) looming in a nonprofit hospital sale, every public communication must be vetted through the filter of the system’s public relations team, or in the case of a single hospital sale through its public relations.

Compiling the FAQ was no simple task, as the system could not provide any indication as to type of buyer: non-profit, for-profit, or governmental.

In the next installment, I will discuss what happens in a for-profit acquisition of a non-profit enterprise…and as always, your feedback, questions, and comments are welcomed.

Author: Jim WiederholdJim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.