By Drew Fox Jordan • July 23, 2020

Overcoming Hiring Freezes, Furloughs, and Staffing Cuts

At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, more than one-third of nonprofits around the country reported hiring freezes, according to recent Gravyty research. As the crisis has evolved, industry reports suggest these numbers have grown and even evolved into furloughs and layoffs for current employees. Despite potentially having less staff to fundraise, development offices are still operating and expected to contribute to overall revenue. Now, more than ever, fundraising shops are expected to do more with less.

Putting Staffing Trends In Context of Fundraising Reality

How familiar does this situation sound? On the doorstep of a capital campaign, a nonprofit organization implements a hiring freeze and is unable to add support for its fundraising team. Now, two major gift officers must manage personal outreach to all 20,000 prospective donors, on top of managing 250 donor relationships in their assigned portfolios.


Perhaps your organization has a team of 10 fundraisers, your capital campaign recently closed, or you are shifting campaigns to fuel COVID relief funds or unrestricted giving to address emerging needs. Regardless of the specifics -- fundraising workforces around the country are being asked to manage more donor relationships with fewer resources.


How will organizations manage to inspire giving from existing donors and personalize touch points with prospects to build relationships and increase giving with fewer fundraisers? In more “normal” times, we would talk about this problem in terms of efficiency, but in COVID times, this problem is front, center, and in need of a solution, stat.

AI Solution

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, a number of organizations have come to Gravyty with this exact problem. In each case, organizational leadership is looking to expand the fundraising workforce without increasing hires, because the root of their problem is fundraiser capacity.

They know that maintaining relationships with current donors is a full-time job, but when you add the urgent need to build relationships with prospects on top of that, it’s impossible to expect from a human alone.


With AI, Gravyty is empowering frontline fundraising teams to do the job of a team that’s 2-3x its size. In fact, one AI-enabled fundraiser, John A. Farkas, Jr. of WVIA Public Media was a one-person team when he started with Gravyty and completed the work of a team of 3.39 fundraisers. This is possible because of assistive AI technology that unlocks the efficiency needed to personalize touch points with an unthinkable amount of donors and prospects. For John Farkas and WVIA Public Media, that means managing multiple personal appeals with 675 donors and prospects in less than a fiscal year.

COVID-19 is presenting everyone with challenges right now. But fundraiser capacity is not one you have to deal with alone. Gravyty and AI are specifically helping organizations facing hiring freezes, furloughs, layoffs, and other staffing crises amid these trying times.

We know that in these times, adopting something new like AI can seem like a risk. We’re offering the Gravyty Guarantee to de-risk the use of fundraiser enablement powered by AI and ensure that organizations of all sizes can unlock the outcomes they need as they deal with the current economy. Our guarantee is simple -- raise double the value of your Gravyty contract in the first year, or the second year is free. That’s two dollars earned for every dollar spent.

Contact us to learn how we can help.

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