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By Kevin Leahy • April 25, 2019

Fundraiser Spotlight: Taylor Buxbaum

Gravyty makes fundraiser enablement tools that fundraisers love. In this series, we feature the stories of frontline fundraisers who embrace AI-enabled fundraising in their daily lives and highlight the amazing impact they return to their organizations.

Fundraiser Spotlight: Meet Taylor Buxbaum of Arkansas State

Taylor Buxbaum, Director of Development, Arkansas State University

Taylor Buxbaum is a seasoned gift officer and Director of Development at Arkansas State University. It’s his job to drive fundraising efforts for A-State’s College of Liberal Arts and Communication, the College of Sciences and Mathematics, as well as for the Chancellor’s Cabinet. He uses Gravyty to manage a primary portfolio of 90 donors and a discovery pool of approximately 190 prospects. His message: become a part of Jonesboro’s historic growth by getting involved with A-State.

 

Tucked between the Ridge and the Delta, A-State’s campus sits in the vibrant and growing Jonesboro, Arkansas. One of the fastest-growing cities, Jonesboro tops the Mid-South in skilled job growth – and this growth story is one that cannot be told without A-State.

"Jonesboro is growing at a rapid and healthy pace. It's important that A-State grows in parallel," said Buxbaum. "Our Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, Jason Penry, has strategically tasked our gift officers to both manage the donors who are assigned to us in our portfolios, as well as align critical discovery work to identify as many people as possible who want to be involved in this growth through A-State.”

Key Challenges

WatchingtheClockWherever major growth is concerned, a critical challenge that
arises is where to allocate time, resources, and attention. At the same time, the clock is ticking on opportunity – so fundraisers like Taylor don’t have considerable time to ask and contemplate
“Where do I start?”

“Typically, to accomplish the task at hand, it would require me to
be spending my days pouring over lists – lists that I've asked for additional human resources to create and then analyze for insights that may indicate which groups of people to begin outreach to.”

However, with Gravyty, these tedious processes are eliminated from Taylor’s day.

“Since Gravyty, I have the mental space to simply begin making connections. With First Draft, all of the deep cerebral thought I would have to put into the process before reaching out is gone. Every day, I have First Drafts waiting for me in my inbox – from both my primary portfolio and my discovery pool. On top of this, Gravyty gives me the prompt, or reason, that I’m reaching out to a particular prospect so I know I can trust the AI in the system.”

A Day In The Life

Before he even opens a laptop to begin his day, Taylor’s primary focus is to understand who he is trying to get in touch with and to ensure he can provide as many opportunities as possible for them to connect with A-State. Before Gravyty, this was a time-consuming affair – which required him to act on a series of hunches, and to split time appropriately between his primary portfolio and discovery work. Now, Taylor has First Drafts waiting in his inbox and often sends between five to ten personalized messages to potential donors before the morning even concludes. With time back in his day, he spends more time face-to-face or on the phone with donors spreading the word about A-State and Jonesboro.

Workfromphoneatcoffeeshop

And Taylor notes that this activity isn’t limited to the time he spends behind a laptop:

“The very first day that I had Gravyty enabled, I was in the opposite corner of Arkansas, waiting in between meetings. I was at a coffee shop and the wifi was spotty, which meant my laptop was useless. Typically, there would be nothing that I could do during this dead time. However, I took out my phone and saw that Gravyty was prompting me to be in touch with my top donors with suggested messages. I personalized one First Draft to a prospect and the AI sent me another. Within 15 minutes, I reached out to a few donors and immediately turned that experience into a productive use of time.”

 

AI-Enabled Results

From individual KPIs to organizational improvement, Taylor reports early results with Gravyty across the board.

One of the metrics his success is measured on is personal visits with donors or prospective donors. Taylor reports that within one full month of using Gravyty, his personal visits have doubled, month over month, doubling his ability to get out in the community and inspire philanthropic giving to A-State.

visit-campus-2019

And, because Gravyty doesn’t stop at one touchpoint, Taylor is also improving relationships in his primary portfolio. “I’ve been able to use Gravyty to drive timely and scheduled communications with assigned donors, allowing me to get in front of people I haven’t met before to develop personal relationships in both my primary portfolio and prospect pool,” he noted.

But beyond individual portfolio performance, increased time efficiencies, and more visits, Taylor also believes that Gravyty and AI are enabling fundraisers at A-State to deliver on an Advancement strategy that delivers for the institution’s core mission:

“Gravyty doesn’t just benefit me as a fundraiser – it aligns with the change that we’re creating here at A-State. I have the privilege to constantly speak with students and faculty and I’m always inspired by this bright, talented, and driven community. By spreading this inspiration further and driving more involvement in A-State, we’re able to create better outcomes for current and future students.”

To learn more about how Gravyty has applied artificial intelligence to fundraiser enablement tools for amazing success, check out our recent case study with The University of Delaware, which used Gravyty to expand its fundraising workforce by 150 percent without making an additional hire.