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February 26, 2019

Philanthropy: The Fast Track to Funding Research

Philanthropy: The Fast Track to Funding Research


We all enjoy instant gratification, but many of the most worthwhile things in life take time. Nobody understands this fact better than the biomedical researchers who devote their careers to studying human health and diseases. These individuals work toward discoveries that may take decades to reach the bedside, but that are critical to the development of cures and treatments. When a lack of government funding threatens to make the already-slow progress of research feel glacial, the important work these scientists do can be derailed.


Waiting for funding from uncertain, limited sources is not the future of research. Instead, this professor and director of research proposes an avenue of funding that holds limitless potential:


The future lies in the money that we can raise from people who realize and are well aware of the importance of biomedical research for the cure of diseases. So it is an essential role that the scientist has to play, as part of the medical community, to raise money for research. I think the best way that the investigators can help is going directly to the community, to the patient, and help the patient be aware that research is an important part of his or her treatment.

When asked whether fundraising is challenging for researchers, he said that idea is a myth. In fact, researchers are some of the most enthusiastic advocates for their own work—and they want their development partners to involve them:


I think the misconception is there that we scientists don’t like to talk to people. I think we love to talk to people. We are human beings. We get excited. We love our work. And we want to convey that enthusiasm to the people outside. I will be absolutely delighted to help the development officers in fundraising. Ask me to help you.

Philanthropy is essential to the success of research, and—even more excitingly—it’s readily available. Why wait for government funding to appear? The cures of the future are being researched now, and philanthropy is making it possible.



Ask and Act:


  • How might you engage your researchers in partnering in the important work of philanthropy?
  • How might you learn more about your researchers’ work and their funding priorities?
  • How might you help your researchers communicate the passion they have for their work in a way that inspires donors?
  • How might you play to your researchers’ strengths in creating engagement opportunities for potential donors (giving a tour of the lab, inviting a potential donor to a lecture, having one-on-one conversations, etc.)?
  • In what ways might you work with your researchers to prepare them for donor meetings?




Other posts you might be interested in:


Medical Science Research: Stewarding Shade Trees

Medical Science Research: Stewarding Trees

Inspiring Donors Isn't Enough! Three Keys to Pave the Way to Meaningful Giving

Insipiring Donors Isn't Enough: 3 Keys to Pave the Way to Meaningful Giving

5 Secrets to Success: Working with Researchers

5 Secrets to Success: Working with Researchers



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