COVID-19 is proving to be the great accelerator of trends that we all knew were on the horizon. Development shops around the country are changing their approach to how they are talking to donors, and even what donors to reach out to. Forget donor fatigue - many donors no longer have the ability to give at their previous levels. Because of this, asking existing major donors to compensate for those losses isn’t as fruitful of a tactic as it has been in the past. A common way for organizations to secure major gift revenue is cultivating and growing the major gift pipeline.
Of course, as donor attrition increases one would remain skeptical if growing the major gift pipeline is possible. If existing donors are unable to give, where would we find new donors than can make up for those losses? Chances are those donors already exist in your database. The middle of the fundraising pyramid - or the donors who are rated highly, but unassigned to a fundraiser - is often filled with donors who are giving far below their rated capacity. But with an already full portfolio, gift officers lack the capacity of their own to have personalized contact with these donors.
We can't count on major gifts to appear out of the blue. They require personal touchpoints, and most importantly, time. Major donors expect a personal relationship before they can be asked to give at the highest level. But this creates a further problem: how can fundraisers grow the major gift pipeline without the spare time to engage new donors?
The crux of the solution is expanding the workforce. But, hiring freezes, layoffs, and furloughs make hiring more gift officers a difficult task. And even if you still had the budget, you would still have to find gift officers to hire. Expanding the workforce will have to come from the inside by enabling existing fundraisers to be able to do more with less.
Assistive artificial intelligence (AI) is routinely helping fundraising teams act as if they were 2-3x their size by efficiently increasing fundraiser capacity. By transforming fundraiser capacity, AI tools like Gravyty allow individual fundraisers to manage large assigned portfolios and expand personalized outreach to prospects and supporters to build relationships and inspire giving, at scale.
The College of Charleston, for example, took a staff of 15 frontline fundraisers and used Gravyty’s fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI to act as if they were a shop of 39 full-time fundraisers – workforce expansion of 2.6x. In less than a year of this new operational efficiency, the institution inspired 408 new gifts, totaling more than $880,000 in additional revenue.
If you want to learn how to reach more donors without making any additional hires, let us know. Gravyty is here to help.