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By Drew Fox Jordan • March 13, 2020

Rated, but Unassigned: How AI Helps Fundraisers Reach Their Next Generation of Big Donor Prospects

As perfectionists, we want to be able to do everything the best possible way, without compromise. For those of us who desire a perfectly-prepared meal, it would be so great if we had the means to plant the best veggies, raise the healthiest livestock, grow the right herbs -- all along the way to hand-preparing the absolute meal of our dreams. But lacking the capacity to make holistic food preparation a full-time job, stopping at the organic grocery store to save a few steps is the best available option.

Fundraisers encounter a similar struggle; ideally, a gift officer would like to facilitate every step of their biggest donor relationships from cultivation to stewardship, while also sparing enough bandwidth to keep reaching into the pot to plant new seeds. The reality is there is simply not enough time in the day.

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The issue that frequently haunts smaller-sized advancement teams is the issue of "rated-but-unassigned" donor prospects, i.e. donor prospects whose giving data suggests they have potential to become the next large gift donors. This vast prospect pool often goes unexplored because there aren’t enough resources on hand to begin cultivating new relationships, and the painful result is an ongoing state of missed growth opportunity.

The solution is clear: hire more fundraisers to tackle new prospects so that existing gift officers can manage what’s already on their plate. But given finite budget constraints, that’s not always a feasible option.

So while a wealth of unharvested crops continues to sit idly by in the open field that is your donor database, there was never an alternative solution to the "rated-but-unassigned" field-hand shortage, until now. Organizations are turning to Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI, to increase fundraiser bandwidth without increasing staff size or working effort.

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AI Fears

One of the common false cries about AI is that it’s an inherent job killer. AI, particularly in case of fundraising, isn’t replacing employees, but rather empowering them to do the more fulfilling, human-facing work they were hired to do in the first place, by automating all the tedious grunt work.

Another fear fundraisers share about AI is that it could make donor interactions too transactional, and risk tarnishing the integrity of the committed relationships gift officers have spent so much time building and nursing.

With Gravyty’s First Draft AI-powered emailing tool, fundraisers’ more repetitive communication functions are authentically replicated to make no discernible difference to the donor, so that all the usual contact rounds get made at the right time, in the right tone of voice. This is because every time an email is sent, the AI algorithm learns from your personal speech patterns, habits, and relationship dynamics; auto-generated email templates learn to mimic your style and keep intact the human qualities of your email correspondences.

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The result is higher retention from the big gift-givers, who remain well-nurtured, as well as more time available in each fundraisers’ day to hack away at the rated-but-unassigned donor pools, tracking down the next generation of generous gift-givers. Which is to say, Gravyty AI allows you to run the farm and eat the fresh food sans the processed flavor.

To see what AI-enabled nonprofit organizations look like, check out this free case study from the College of Charleston.

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