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By Lindsey Athanasiou • January 10, 2018

AI-Enabled Phonathon: How Yeshiva students raised more money in less time

We know the power of AI in prospect management: our customers reach more of the best donors, secure more visits, and raise more money. And we know the power of AI when we apply it to research: our customers proactively discover and qualify more donors, and assign them to fundraisers at the right time, making their portfolios more robust and lucrative.

Until recently, however, we didn’t know the power of AI for Phonathons. Which is why we're proud to share that using Gravyty's AI-enabled technology, our customer Yeshiva University achieved a 38% pledge rate against a phonathon industry average of 20% (http://blogfm.ruffalonl.com/tag/phonathon/).

Let's back up for a second to tell the story. When Yeshiva, who uses the Gravyty dashboards for individual fundraising, asked if they could use Gravyty for a year-end calling campaign, we had never done it before. But, never ones to shy away from an AI experiment, we jumped right on it.

Each student caller was given one portfolio of calling prospects. The phonathon manager was given manager views of each. After a quick virtual training with Gravyty staff, they were off.

Immediately, they saw results. After the first calling session, Hannah (phonathon manager) let me know that the students were thrilled-- for the first time, they were not only reaching more prospects, but they were also closing more than one or two gifts each per shift, and at levels higher than they were accustomed to. This trend continued throughout the two week campaign. In the past, they would have called for a whole month, but because of the overwhelming success of using Gravyty, Yeshiva staff let the students start their holiday break early.

I had a chance to speak with Hannah, her students, and the Director of Annual Giving, Jennifer Cahn, after calling wrapped. Here’s what they had to say:

“Using Gravyty has taken the guess-work out of determining how much money to solicit a donor for.” Jennifer Cahn, Director, Annual Giving, alluding to the machine learning ask amounts Gravyty curates by donor rather than by static capacity ratings and industry benchmarking.

"The students love knowing who is most important to call next. They are having a lot of success every night." Hannah Loventhal, Phonathon Manager, highlighting the dynamic lead scoring Gravyty's 17 algorithms employ to rank donors against one another in order of importance.

“Gravyty has made soliciting over the phone much easier. We just had all the information we needed at the click of a button.” Ilan Atri, student caller, grateful for the user-friendly functionality and appearance of Gravyty.

While we had an inkling that AI would have a positive impact on phone fundraising, we are thrilled to know definitively.

Way to go, Yeshiva! We are proud that you are not just a Gravyty customer, but also a forward-thinking leader in higher education adopting AI for the betterment of your institution-- another successful AI-enabled nonprofit!