St. Jude does an excellent job achieving its purpose of finding cures for cancer and other deadly diseases and treating children with these illnesses, making St. Jude a world leader in pediatric cancer care. However, St. Jude differentiates itself from other pediatric cancer centers by being the only pediatric cancer research and treatment center that does not charge families for treatment that their insurance does not cover. This places a huge financial burden on St. Jude. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2008, St. Jude’s total program expenses equaled a little more than $528 million, and its current operating costs total $1.6 million per day. Since St. Jude does not receive money from its patients, it heavily relies on public contributions to pay for its expenses.
It might seem that people would have to donate large amounts of money in order to pay for these extremely large expenses, but this is surprisingly not the case. St. Jude makes donating affordable because it employs a strategy where many people donate a small amount of money instead of fewer people donating a larger amount of money. This strategy can be seen in St. Jude’s main donation programs for the general public.
St. Jude receives a large number of donations through its main donation program called “Partner In Hope.” St. Jude asks people to join this program when it has fund-raising telethons on TV. Participants of the “Partner In Hope” program pledge to donate $19 per month, approximately 63 cents a day, to St. Jude. Therefore, since St. Jude asks for such a small amount of money, almost everyone is financially able to donate to the hospital since most people could make small lifestyle changes that would enable them to save 63 cents per day. Also, participants of the “Partner In Hope” program receive benefits from St. Jude such as monthly stories and photos of St. Jude patients, a quarterly newsletter emphasizing stories about current patients and research being conducted, and many other benefits.
St. Jude also receives donations during the holiday shopping season months of November and December through its “Thanks and Giving” program. St. Jude tries to persuade people to take part in this program when the hospital airs its commercials during the holiday shopping season, as seen in the commercial below:
St. Jude has numerous reputable corporate partners, and during the holiday shopping season, these corporate partners ask their customers to make small donations to St. Jude when they pay for their merchandise. Some companies also have special merchandise where St. Jude receives a small portion of the sale price. This program provides people with another inexpensive way to help St. Jude, but these small donations can collectively make a huge difference in the lives of sick children.
In addition to the two donation programs mentioned above, there is yet another way that people can help St. Jude pay for its expenses, even if they are financially unable to make small donations to the hospital. Many companies hold contests where people vote for their favorite nonprofit organization, and the companies give money to the organizations that receive the most votes. These contests benefit both the companies and the organizations because the companies gain added publicity and the organizations acquire extra money. For instance, the Target Corporation held a Facebook contest in 2009 called “Bullseye Gives,” in which ten charities competed for the most votes from Facebook users. St. Jude received the most votes and won $797,123. Thus, although people might not be able to contribute financially, they can vote for St. Jude in contests like this one and still contribute to the hospital’s work.
Most people would agree that St. Jude should receive public contributions so that it can pay for its vast expenses. However, most people are not aware that almost everyone is financially able to donate to St. Jude. Also, since St. Jude is a nonprofit organization, people can deduct the money that they donate from their taxes. As one can see from these donation methods, St. Jude offers many simple, inexpensive ways that people can donate money to the hospital, and the donations that people give to St. Jude enable it to accomplish its mission of finding cures and saving the lives of children with cancers and other deadly diseases.