Second Opinion: The Advantages of Strategic Giving for Your Practice by Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD

The Advantages of Strategic Giving for
Your Practice

You don't take a haphazard approach to running your practice, so why would you take a frivolous approach to giving?

by Gordon Christensen, DDS, MSD, PhD
Second opinions are common in health care; whether a doctor is sorting out a difficult case or a patient is not sure what to do next. In the context of our magazine, the first opinion will always belong to the reader. This feature will allow fellow dental professionals to share their opinions on various topics, providing you with a "Second Opinion." Perhaps some of these observations will change your mind; while others will solidify your position. In the end, our goal is to create discussion and debate to enrich our profession. - Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, Editorial Director, Dentaltown Magazine

A clear strategy for your hard-earned giving dollars can help those in the greatest need while raising awareness of your practice throughout your community. Strategic giving enables you to demonstrate your commitment to your patients and community and support a humanitarian effort.1 With so many options and pleas for support, it can be overwhelming to navigate through the numerous causes and charities and establish your giving strategy. Here are a few tips that can help.
  1. First, identify the causes that are important to you and why. It is only natural to want to give to a cause that is close to your heart. As a donor, your values and resources are imperative in determining your philanthropic direction as well as sustainability of your commitment.2 However, giving based solely on emotion might not allow you to leverage your resources and achieve maximum benefit for your giving dollars.3 Consider supporting a cause that aligns with your profession, such as children's oral health promotion. This strategy can help you elevate the importance of your services in the community, create unique giving opportunities through donated services or products and provide aid to those who need it.
  2. Carefully select a small number of charities to support. This allows you to give more to fewer charities and ensure your contributions have a higher impact.
  3. Encourage the involvement of your team in your philanthropic activities. Uniting your employees through a good cause creates exceptional teambuilding opportunities and cultivates a sense of pride in working for your practice. Participate as a team in a local marathon, walk, ride or sporting event to raise funds for your chosen cause.
  4. Involvement in a worthy cause can also generate positive public relations coverage for your practice. Highlight your charitable affiliation in news releases, patient communications and speaking engagements to build support for the cause and your brand.
  5. Incorporating information about your charitable alliances in your patient communications and on your website exhibits your compassion for others to current and potential patients.
One option you might want to consider in your giving strategy is the Dentist of Distinction Program from the National Children's Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF): America's ToothFairy, a non-profit organization supporting oral health education and care for vulnerable children. This program provides a unique giving opportunity that generates positive publicity for your practice and enables patients to consistently identify you with oral health causes.

Positive exposure helps members of your community feel good about choosing you as their dental provider, attracting new patients and reinforcing patient loyalty to your practice. The NCOHF Dentist of Distinction Program has a number of benefits that will help generate positive publicity for your practice and showcase your commitment to promoting oral health. These benefits include:
  • Practice-building program including news releases, videos, and content for newsletters and social media
  • Oral Health Community Education Kit for use in schools and local outreach activities
  • Certificate of Appreciation for display
  • Online recognition as a NCOHF Dentist of Distinction with optional link
  • Free membership for the America's ToothFairy Kids Club to offer your patients and their families
These valuable marketing tools are designed to showcase your leadership in oral-health promotion. News releases, patient communications and social media spread the word about your commitment. You or a member of your staff can utilize the oral health education kit to promote healthy behaviors and share important lessons with local families while highlighting your services in the community. In addition, your team can be proud to be associated with a caring Dentist of Distinction.

There are two ways you can become a NCOHF Dentist of Distinction and participate in this exciting program:
  • Make an annual contribution to support the delivery of oral health services for vulnerable children.
  • Donate professional services through NCOHF: America's ToothFairy programs. (Volunteer dentists for NCOHF: America's ToothFairy programs are not required to make an annual financial contribution.)
Participation in the NCOHF Dentist of Distinction program can position you as a community leader committed to promoting oral health while helping children in need.

Philanthropic dollars and services are a precious commodity. It would serve you and those you wish to aid to assess your giving options and define a strategy to ensure maximum results and benefits. Implementing a strategic giving strategy can truly enable you to do well and do good.

  1. Strategic giving: Reaping the long term benefits. NZ Business, 2010 24(4): p. 53.
  2. Frumkin, P. Strategic giving: The art and science of philanthropy. 2008. p. 126-127.
  3. Cole, C.T. The elements of strategic giving. Washington Post, 2008.

Author's Bio
Dr. Gordon J. Christensen is CEO of Clinicians Report, and founder and director of Practical Clinical Courses (PCC) in Utah. This group is an international continuing education organization providing courses and videos for all dental professionals. He is also co-founder of the nonprofit Gordon J. Christensen Clinicians Report (previously CRA), as well as an adjunct professor for University of Utah. He is a diplomate with the American Board of Prosthodontics. Dr. Christensen is a NCOHF Board Member and Chair of the Dentist of Distinction Program. Dr. Christensen has presented more than 45,000 hours of continuing education throughout the world and has published many articles and books. Further information is available at
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