By Drew Fox Jordan • August 27, 2020

    How Can Nonprofits Achieve Better Donor Retention?

    On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofit organizations are seeing a drop in donations, volunteers, and demand for services. However, food banks have seen something different -- record donations, both in supplies and monetary gifts. This influx has proven fruitful in the short term for these organizations. But, many leaders are concerned about the long-term sustainability of this philanthropic momentum.


    With record unemployment rates, more Americans than ever rely on food banks. Luckily, this increase in service demand has been matched by an increase in donations, oftentimes by donors who had not previously given to that organization. This presents food banks with a unique opportunity during this crisis: how can they scale our fundraising operations to match the unexpected growth brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic?

    The Importance of Stewardship

    All fundraisers know that donor retention is heavily influenced through effective stewardship. With record numbers of gifts coming through the doors, food banks now face a challenge: can they thank and steward donors fast enough to keep up with the intake? For many organizations, it becomes a balance between managing donors who have not given yet and taking the time to personally thank those who have. Additionally, more than one-third of organizations report that they are in a hiring freeze, meaning that just because donations are increasing does not mean that the fundraising team will grow to support this level of giving. In many cases, stewardship often falls by the wayside -- not by intention, but because organizations are overwhelmed.

    How can food banks gain the capacity to steward and retain donors amid today’s economy?

    AI Solution

    Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, a number of organizations have come to Gravyty with the same problem: they need to increase the capacity of their fundraising team without making any additional hires. They know that maintaining relationships with current donors is a full-time job, but when you add the urgent need to build relationships with new donors and thank donors for new gifts, 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 touchpoints 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. Whether your organization needs more capacity to steward donors or to inspire giving with a personal touch, 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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