The most common question Lisa Alvezi, Director of Customer Success at Gravyty, gets asked is — “Philanthropy is built on relationships, so what is the point of bringing artificial intelligence (AI) into fundraising?” It is a valid question, but it relies on the assumption that AI is a one-size-fits-all solution, and that those same solutions can be applied to the philanthropic sector.
Regardless of the community or type of nonprofit you represent, it’s likely that 90 percent of revenue driven through fundraising comes from less than 10 percent of donors. It is a full-time job managing, maintaining and building relationships with this small subset of donors — and most fundraisers will tell you that they struggle to do this with their entire portfolio. Human capacity limits the number of relationships any one gift officer can manage. As a result, we use impersonal approaches, like direct mail or mail merge, to establish touchpoints with the remaining 90 percent (or more) of donors — even though there are incredible opportunities for inspiring major gifts in this large pool.
Anyone can spot a mail merge, automated dial, or form letter from a mile away. But, it takes personal appeals to grow giving in ways that are truly transformative for an organization and the community it serves. How can we build meaningful relationships with this large pool of people, at scale, if it’s already a challenge to definitively say that you’ve reached and engaged your entire managed portfolio?