This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
This week's installment of Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Data Solutions & Implementations, Marijana Radić Boone. Marijana's career has been built on helping mission-driven organizations use technology to achieve new levels of success. As a former Gravyty user herself, she understands first-hand how artificial intelligence transforms what's possible in fundraising.
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Your Donor Database, Begging For A Reciprocal Relationship With Fundraisers
If our donor databases (CRMs) could talk, we’d all be in for a long lecture! The truth is that our CRMs hold the data that’s been the lifeblood of the relationships fundraisers develop and cultivate. However, how often do you forget to return the favor and record your contact reports back into the database?
There’s no shame in the reality that this tedious process and seemingly administrative task finds its way to the bottom of our to-do lists. It’s hard to remember, annoying to jump back into the CRM when you’re on an outreach roll, and just feels so minute. But recording this information serves an existential need for your organization.
Here's why recording contact reports in the CRM/donor database lifts your organization:
- Helps fundraisers keep track of their activity and stay on top of their portfolios
- Paints a picture of a donor’s relationship with the organization over time
- Ensures that knowledge is transferred and relationships carry on as staff changes
- Serves as an important source of information for prospecting
- Coordinates outreach across the organization, particularly in complex organizations
Helping fundraisers keep track of their activity and manage their portfolios
Here’s a practical example - you’ve reached out to your top donors and prospects to wish them a Happy New Year and make sure they’re doing well in these turbulent times; you sent off some stewardship emails to a few folks who came through in the year end push; and now you’re looking at your calendar, blocking time for future outreach. But it’s been a whirlwind of activity, so how do you know who still remains to be contacted? If you’ve logged all these touches in your CRM, you’re able to quickly pull a list of these important constituents, excluding those who’ve been contacted in the past two weeks, and now you have an actionable list.
Painting a picture of a donor’s relationship with the organization over time
Maybe you’re looking to move a donor up the giving pyramid or secure a planned gift commitment. You’ve poured over their giving history and their RFM score works in your favor. But what do they care about, and what has moved them to give to your organization over time? This qualitative data is so important in crafting meaningful engagement opportunities, and it typically lives in email, phone call, and meeting transcripts, so if those are not logged in your CRM, you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall.
Ensuring knowledge transfers during staff changes
It is common knowledge that the average tenure of a fundraiser at a nonprofit organization is somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 months. This is also the biggest struggle most organizations face as they work to cultivate and maintain donor relationships. All this to say that organizations cannot rely on “institutional knowledge” as a source of information. Contact reports can help ensure that knowledge remains within the organization and relationships can quickly pick up where they left off as fundraisers churn.
Source of information for prospecting
Prospect development professionals love contact reports as they are a first-hand, confirmed source of “intelligence” about donors and prospects. Publicly available information that indicates one’s capacity and propensity to give is more abundant than ever before but nothing compares to a personal conversation and information gleaned first-hand. Prospect development folks pour over contact reports in search of clues about donor interests, evidence of spending habits, and potential additional wealth indicators and craft more meaningful suggestions for future outreach as a result.
Coordinated outreach in complex organizations
At universities, your donors may also have an important relationship with you as alumni, parents, admissions volunteers, career center mentors, committee or board members. There are dozens of individuals who may interact with them in any given week or month, and if that information is not captured in your CRM in the form of contact reports, you will never have a full picture of the breadth and depth of their relationship with your organization preventing you from making the best ask possible at the best possible time.
Is capturing donor data an issue for your organization? How about contact reports? See how Gravyty empowers fundraisers to stay productive without having to worry about writing data back into the CRM through our Integrated Productivity Tools.
Donors give because of the relationship they have with your organization - like all relationships, they require care and feeding through consistent, meaningful and coordinated outreach. Whether you’re recording your contacts as you go, or carving out time at the end of each day to log your activity, you will improve your ability to manage, evaluate, and improve these critical relationships and ensure continued support for your mission.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.