If an organization isn’t looking to increase revenue from its major gifts program, it’s almost like it’s not trying. Many leaders that have struggled with this dilemma have come to the same conclusion. Increasing major gifts revenue boils down to asking donors for larger gifts, or asking more prospects (or current donors) to become major donors. But there are only so many times you can only go back to the same donors, running the risk of donor fatigue. Ultimately, sustainable growth is going to come from asking more donors.
If current major gift fundraisers are working full-time just managing their existing portfolios, then where does the capacity to tap into the suspect pool come from? If they're going to get deeper into prospect or discovery pools, there are actually two problems that need to be solved:
- Fundraisers must be more efficient in managing their primary portfolio
- If gift officers can become more efficient, they create a little bit of spare capacity which can now be applied to the Rated But Unassigned pool
Under the old paradigm of operating a fundraising office, the only way to increase the capacity of a major gift team was to hire more fundraisers.
Let’s say at a hypothetical nonprofit, its development office had five major gift officers with portfolios of 150 each. In total, that team is managing 700 donors right at the top of the donor pyramid. But the middle of that pyramid, the discovery pool, is home to about 5,000 donors.
If this organization hired a new fundraiser and gave them a portfolio of 150 donors from the Rated But Unassigned pool, it would take them another 20-25 fundraisers to get through that full 5,000 prospects. But hiring 20 or 25 fundraisers at roughly $100,000 each (after salary and benefits) is another $2+ million to actually qualify that entire pool.
Anyone working in the nonprofit world knows that a $2+ million price tag is not a workable solution. Even hiring 20 fundraisers over time would still cost virtually the same, all while the Rated But Unassigned pool continues to grow. And, in all likelihood, even if an organization can afford to hire 20 fundraisers without concern about price, they would still need to find 20 fundraisers to hire.
The College of Charleston was able to scale the efficiency of its development workforce by adopting Gravyty’s fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI. The institution achieved 2.6x workforce expansion without making any additional hires, gaining portfolio management power as if its fundraising staff of 15 was operating as a team of 39.
Within just one month of use, frontline fundraisers were able to interact with 709 donors, with some fundraisers even reaching their entire assigned portfolios. That’s more donor interactions in one month than some fundraisers get in a full year.