By Drew Fox Jordan • December 10, 2020

    Up and To the Right: The Difference AI Makes for Fundraising

    Every fundraising team measures their fundraiser's performance by different metrics. As the world of fundraising becomes increasingly data-driven, leaders know that hitting revenue goals relies on not just measuring fundraiser performance, but also how to improve it. 

    As a new major gift officer, Taylor Buxbaum, Director of Development at Arkansas State University, wasn't being expected to close new major gifts in the first couple of months. He was being measured on meaningful actions with donors, but had trouble finding a way to increase his number. His capacity could only allow for so many personal connections in one day. Ultimately, he needed a way to be able to personally and contact more donors and build the relationships that would lead to major gifts.

    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. 

    For Taylor, tracking how he was contacting the donors in his portfolio 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 did this take a lot of time, it took 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 knew that Buxbaum was capable of more. 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. 

    Here's What You Can Expect When Your Fundraisers Use AI

    These results even shocked Buxbaum himself. "(This is) a level of efficiency that I just did not think was possible," he admitted. And increasing his activity isn't just for show - it's having tangible outcomes for Arkansas State as well. 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 putting him on track for 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."

    Gravyty is changing the way nonprofits can fundraise. Challenge the way your organization thinks about how you measure fundraiser efficiency and see what is possible with Gravyty. 

    Ready to see how these results translate to gifts and a more robust giving pipeline? Read more on Taylor's story in Forbes.

    Here's What You Can Expect When Your Fundraisers Use AI

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