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By Lindsey Athanasiou • October 7, 2019

Traditional Fundraising Systems are Broken. Here's How Artificial Intelligence Fixes That.

In theory, fundraising systems exist to ensure that donor solicitation, stewardship, and portfolio management is always top of mind. In reality, these systems simply create metrics for which to rate fundraiser performance. And, because they are static, it seems fundraisers know precisely how to manipulate the numbers and avoid possible scrutiny.

 

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Static fundraising systems simply encourage advancement shops to report generally favorable metrics that don’t reveal the full truth. Five years ago, Simone Joyaux wrote about the oft-debated topic of measuring fundraiser performance in NonProfit Quarterly. Her points ring just as true today, this one in particular:

 

Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE via NonProfit Quarterly

“[When a fundraiser isn’t performing] I suspect that what you really want to do [...] is to fire the fundraiser that didn’t make goal. Really? How about figuring out why the person didn’t make goal? Make sure you pay attention to the variables that affect whether the fundraiser can make the goal.”

 

At Gravyty, we believe it never has to get to that point. We believe that expensive systems that measure performance and provide ticklers for gift officers in hopes of improving their performance will only get you so far. Rather, organizations should provide tools that proactively support and prompt the fundraisers to hit their goals with ease.

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What we discovered is that by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, we could create dynamic tools that fit into the workflow of all fundraisers, and enable them to be the highest performing fundraiser they can be, both qualitatively AND quantitatively. That is, if a fundraiser can use their email, they can use Gravyty’s fundraiser enablement tools, which are powered by AI, to take direct action with donors and potential donors -- not just log notes in contact reports. And, by spending less time on interpreting and logging data, they have more time for quality outreach, quality meetings, and quality relationship building. The results include the indicators that we all want to see -- more visits and seeing an increase in gifts.

Think about that for a second -- giving fundraisers more time to do the work that they love yields better results for the organization’s fundraising efforts.

You don’t have to take our word for it, hear from Kenton Youngblood and Jenny Alstad of The College of Charleston on how proactive AI transforms the connections they’re able to make with donors and increase revenue.

Fundraiser Spotlight: College of Charleston

In fact, because Gravyty is built by former frontline fundraisers, our AI-enabled tools are guided by the understanding that a fundraiser’s time is best spent in donor-facing activities, rather than interpreting data or telling a piece of software what they did on a given day. That’s why each one of our products constantly uses AI and machine learning to mimic the cognitive functions of a frontline fundraiser and turn an organization’s data into action. And, when they do take action, the system helps log the activity, further reducing the amount of time the fundraiser spends in non-donor-facing tasks.

What do we mean by action? Take, for example, the hours a frontline fundraiser has to put into prioritizing outreach to their personal portfolio and mixing in some prospecting work at the same time. Our technology is constantly working in the background to prioritize which donors or prospects to reach out to and we let you know via a First Draft email. Included in that same First Draft email is an AI-written first draft of personalized outreach to that donor or prospect, ready for the fundraiser to edit and send, quickly. With each edit, our machine learning capabilities spring to action again, learning from the way that the fundraiser tailored her email so our AI can more accurately bring that voice into future AI-written drafts.

See how John A. Farkas, Jr., Major and Planned Giving Officer for VIA Public Media uses Gravyty’s fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI, to take action with more donors than he ever thought possible.

Fundraiser Spotlight: VIA Public Media

AI is transforming what’s possible in fundraising and Gravyty is proud to be leading the way.

The days of static reminders and tickler systems are gone. Proactive AI empowers fundraisers to focus on the parts of their jobs that they like, and therefore increase metrics because they commit to the quality of their work.

If you’d like to learn about how Gravyty empowers fundraisers to achieve the right results proactive AI, let us know. We’d love to show you.

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