Ollie Rothmann By Ollie Rothmann • February 24, 2021

    Why Is Having A Digital Gift Officer So Important?

    Vaccines are rolling out, travel is looking safer by the month – there’s an end to the pandemic in sight. So why is it critically important to figure out how to build a digital gift officer program now?

    According to Gartner, 74 percent of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work after the pandemic ends. For nonprofits, that is huge. That means that even if your organization is looking to once again use travel as a fundraising tool, there’s a good chance that donors will still be living a remote life. Successful fundraising is likely to require the ability to inspire and cultivate donors both in-person and remotely from this moment forward. In fact, we may come to simply know ‘digital gift officers’ as ‘gift officers.’

    Why Is Having A Digital Gift Officer So Important?

    It is likely you have used one of either Zoom, Google Drive, DropBox, Slack, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams (or even more than one!) in the past 12 months in order to effectively communicate with colleagues at work, friends, family members, and more. There is no question, as a society, we are fully entrenched in a digital world. The ways we communicate, work, and even play have changed. Sure, we will be able to interact again in person (hopefully) soon, yet the digital life as we know it is here to stay.

    For many industries, digitization has enabled employees to reach more people in a more personalized fashion, and quicker. As human beings, we have been conditioned to expect personalized outreach. So, if I am working in fundraising and a pursuit in which the relationship is most important, how do I succeed in reaching all of my donors personally?

    Reed Sheard, VP for College Advancement and CIO at Westmont College, shared his thoughts in The State of AI in Advancement 2020 report cites that:

    “Innovation is not incorporating Zoom as a tool for your fundraisers who can’t personally visit donors face-to-face. Innovation addresses the fear that 71% of advancement professionals share around donor fatigue, reaching deeper into the donor pyramid with less staff, and redefining roles within advancement.”

    This is the question that we face as leaders in development. How do we innovate in order to meet our constituents where they expect us to, with frequent personalization at scale?

    When asked if they have a strategy to reach deeper into their donor pyramid with personal outreach, 74% of advancement professionals said that they did not or that they were working on it.

    Even before the pandemic, online giving grew 21 percent over the course of 2019 according to a recent study by Blackbaud. Of the 8,800 nonprofits included in this report, the average online donation in 2020 grew by:

    • 15 percent in large organizations
    • 25 percent in midsized organizations
    • 22.3 percent in small organizations

    The report also estimates that 28% of all contributions made online were from mobile devices. The digital transformation was underway far before the pandemic, and now it is on all of us to keep up with it.

    Do you have a Digital Gift Officer on staff, or plan to hire one? Learn how you can get the most out of your digital gift officers by using Gravyty and AI today.

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