By Drew Fox Jordan • October 1, 2020

    Can Donor Data Prevent Us From Building Relationships?

    The well-adopted mantra that we've developed in philanthropy is fundraising is about personal relationships. However, it's almost if that sentiment is cut short just slightly. It's more accurate to say, "Fundraising is about the number of high-quality personal relationships you can maintain and build." 

    High-quality relationships are built by truly connecting with donors. And, our top method for developing this personal connection is personalizing everything we do to engage donors. In some senses, this is simple, because we have so much donor data available to us in our databases on through online resources. Yet, it's equally as difficult at the same time, because an overabundance of data can create an analysis paralysis for fundraisers -- confusing when it's the right time to take an action and what the right message is.

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    Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps fundraisers reach out to the right donor at the right time. Instead of spending time combing through the CRM for the right data to inform outreach, tools like Gravyty Guide are going through the database for fundraisers so they can spend more time building personal relationships and less time trying to navigate the mountains of data they have on their donors. By having software analyze the data for you, fundraisers are still able to have highly-personalized relationships through touchpoints that only take a minute to create. 

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    The amount of personal outreach gift officers do directly correlates to increased success in fundraising. With Gravyty Guide, fundraisers can spend less time worrying about who they are reaching out to, and more time reaching out to enough people and at appropriate times. AI is expanding the capacity of frontline fundraisers to have personal relationships, allowing them to stop worrying that their portfolio is too big to manage, and start asking does my portfolio give me enough opportunities to hit my goals?

    Imagine an organization with a team of 10 fundraisers and an unassigned donor pool of 10,000. Personalizing outreach to 1,000 prospects is a timely process in itself, not accounting for managing an existing portfolio on top of that. Having lots of data on your prospects fundamentally makes that process even slower. How much time would fundraisers have to spend going through the CRM to find the right info to reach out to one prospect?

    To some, these numbers seem impossible. But for fundraisers at Towson University, their team of 10 was able to personally reach 855 prospects in just one month. At that rate, a prospect pool of 10,000 would be personally contacted within a year - all while maintaining their existing portfolios.

    The value of expanding fundraiser outreach can vary from organization to organization. For some, increasing the number of conversations leads to a larger donor pipeline which is becoming increasingly critical in today’s giving climate. Others might use their expanded capacity to ask current donors to increase their giving level.


    Fundraisers from Northern Kentucky University were able to engage a donor that had not previously been on anyone’s radar, and through a Gravyty-prompted Stewardship email, NKU secured a 6-figure gift from a donor that was previously only giving a couple hundred dollars per year. No amount of data could have predicted this type of generosity, but by thanking the donor for their initial gift, they were able to engage a further conversation that led to a much larger donation. 

    You don't have to predict who in your prospect pool will make the gift. You just need to make sure fundraisers are talking to more prospects to find the right one. Philanthropic giving isn’t just about the relationships you have with your donors, it’s about the number of high quality relationships a fundraiser can develop and manage. AI-enabled tools such as Gravyty Guide not only give gift officers the capacity to reach their entire assigned portfolio, but also allow them to personalize outreach into auxiliary portfolios to inspire new gifts and increase giving, at scale. 

    Learn how you can start building and managing more personal relationships with donors. Talk to a Gravyty specialist today.

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