By Drew Fox Jordan • November 23, 2020

    How To Fill Your Major Gift Pipeline With Proposals

    Filling a portfolio with proposals can take two or more years of relationship building  -- especially if the gift officer inherits a cold portfolio. And, if a new fundraiser is joining the team, it will be a couple of years before the organization sees a return from that portfolio. So how can we fill the major gift pipeline with proposals so that you can increase revenue in half that time? That's exactly what Taylor Buxbaum, Director of Development at Arkansas State University did. This is the story of how.

    fill major gift pipeline with proposals
    Buxbaum started his job at A-State by inheriting a portfolio of 90 prospects, some of which had good giving history and were fairly well connected with the university. However, a lot of these prospects had not been contacted in a long time and their giving history was no longer relevant. Because he was new to the school, he had no relationship with anyone in the portfolio - even the donors that were still engaged in giving. Despite having fundraising experience before coming to A-State, this was his first time being a major giving officer actively trying to raise major gifts. He needed to learn on the fly how to approach those donors to have meaningful conversations and create those relationships.

    For Taylor, this involved a spreadsheet of people with an ID on one end that got copy and pasted into a search bar in a different window to pull up whatever information needed to figure out the profile of the prospect. Not only does this take a lot of time, it can take up a lot of mental energy going back and forth through spreadsheets and systems. By the time he was finally able to make contact, he was exhausted from spending so much time going through all of those different processes just to find baseline information about his prospects.

    Related: How Much Time Do Your Fundraisers Lose to Data Entry?

    After six months of working off of a spreadsheet, Taylor worked furiously to produce 100 "high value" actions, like a phone call or a meeting. But after those six months, leadership at A-State chose to adopt Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI. The following six months saw a massive uptick in fundraiser activity - Taylor more than tripled his activity to over 300 high value actions with his portfolio. 

    So what is the value in reducing major gift officer ramp up time? Taylor went from inheriting a cold portfolio of 90 prospects with $100,000 of proposals, to managing an active portfolio of 150+ donors with over $600,000 in proposals added in less than one year. Taylor is on track to have over $1 Million in proposals by the time most major gift officers are starting the gift solicitation process. According to him, "I'm able to spend more time talking with my donors and spend less time talking about my donors."

    You can learn more about Taylor's story from a recent article in Forbes titled "The Future Of Work Now: Nonprofit Fundraising With Gravyty".  Read the full article for free, today.

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