Attract + retain fundraiser talent
A guide to the technologies that make a fundraiser’s job easier (and more fun)
Your fundraising department is critical to the survival of your nonprofit or educational institution, yet it’s becoming harder and harder to attract and retain suitable fundraising personnel. Whether it’s because the job is perceived as “too challenging” or that the post-pandemic great resignation wave has hit the fundraising industry too, the fact is that you need to work harder than ever before to succeed at fundraising recruitment.
Job descriptions often specify part of the fundraiser’s role as “boosting donations and attracting new donors.” While this sounds simple enough on paper, when you break down the individual tasks involved you begin to realize how difficult it is (and how off-putting to the one who has to do the work!)
The donor journey involves several steps and fundraisers are usually required to be active at each stage—a dizzying task.
Let’s break it down
Qualification stage—Combing through your enormous database and deciding who to approach and what to ask for.
Stewardship stage—Sending personalized messages and requests (forget those generic mass communications—they don’t work), thanking people, staying in regular contact with donors and potential donors, and sharing impact stories.
Direct fundraising activities—Running various appeals, managing staff and volunteers, organizing complex fundraising events such as Giving Days and homecomings, sending invites, tracking attendance and other activities.
Tracking success + setting KPIs—Tracking progress is about more than just tallying up how much money was raised, you also want to know how many donors responded to each appeal, how many emails were opened (and how many were ignored), how many new donors you attracted this year and much more.
With so much to do and so little time, it’s easy for fundraisers to burn out. If you want to retain top fundraising talent, you need to understand your employees’ pain points and support them in the best way possible.
One of the simplest ways to demonstrate your commitment to employee satisfaction is to adopt technologies designed to make their jobs more manageable. Fortunately, there are specific solutions on the market aimed at alleviating the day-to-day burdens of fundraisers, no matter the type of organization they work for.
In this guide we outline some of the tasks that can be easily shouldered by technology, freeing up a fundraiser’s time and giving them the space and mental clarity to nurture their donor pipeline and carry out their tasks effectively.
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Fundraiser retention: Attract + retain fundraiser talent
Employee turnover in nonprofit organizations
While it’s exciting that over half of all Americans gave money to good causes last year, the bad news is that fundraiser burnout has become a real and growing trend.
- 45% of nonprofit employees will seek new jobs by 2025
- One out of every ten nonprofit employees feels overworked, under-resourced and disengaged
- Losing an employee can cost a company 1.5 – 2 times the employee’s salary
Keeping fundraisers happy at every step of the donor journey
When fundraisers leave your organization, you lose money—simple as that. The cost of training a new employee together with the donor revenue you stand to lose while doing so can amount to big money.
This guide will show you how you can support your team members at each stage of the donor journey and avoid fundraiser fatigue, burnout and costly resignations.
1. Qualification stage
Personally engaging donors and inspiring them to give year after year is a tall order. Selecting which donors are likely to be receptive to an appeal, deciding how much to ask for and when to make your approach, and then stewarding them in preparation for the next time takes up weeks or months of a fundraiser’s time.
Most of the data about donors is stored in your organization’s CRM or database and there are likely to be thousands of entries. Every time a fundraising decision must be made or a personalized appeal crafted, fundraisers spend hours in the database, researching and looking for the data they need. It’s not surprising they burn out!
Fortunately, help is at hand!
How it helps
- Boost fundraiser capacity—By allowing AI to organize, prioritize, and automate portfolio activity, each fundraiser can accomplish more.
- Increase accuracy + efficiency— Quickly and easily identify the donors and prospects to contact each day. Receive a tailored email draft to send them with the first AI-powered email for frontline fundraisers that learns and replicates each fundraiser’s unique communication style within days.
- Enhance outreach—Raise’s AI-powered algorithms identify the best time to reach out to donors and recommend a specific ask amount.
- Move donors through the pipeline—Improve qualification and disqualification, and enhance the overall moves management process by proactively suggesting ways gift officers can optimize their portfolios.
- Automate record keeping—Save time by automatically writing meaningful action entries and contact reports directly into the CRM.
- Plan activities better—Proactively request or automatically receive recommendations of which donors and prospects to visit or the optimal areas to plan events based on demographics and location-based data.
- Expedite onboarding—Streamline integration and learning for new fundraisers by delivering complete donation details and history, along with proactive prompts which offer a more complete picture for each assigned donor.
2. Stewardship stage
The fundraiser-donor relationship is like any other. It requires give-and-take, continuous effort and personal communication and relationship building.
No one wants to be hit with an appeal out of the blue and everyone wants to be appreciated for their contributions. Why would a donor give to an organization that only values them for their money?
Practically speaking, this means that fundraisers must be in regular contact with donors and potential donors. Not only that, but they need to include personal details in their outreach so that the donor feels recognized, valued and special. They must also refer to the donor’s prior donation to show that it has been recognized and appreciated.
After a donation has been made, they need to update the database so the information can be used later to share impact stories and show the donor that their money was put to good use. Transparency is key. Like every other aspect of the fundraiser role, this takes time, effort and repeated dives into the CRM. A fundraising technology solution, however, can cut out much of this work.
How Gratavid + Raise helps
When someone makes a donation, a personalized thank you email or even a phone call will be much appreciated, but time constraints can make it difficult to do this. For such times, a video pre-recorded by a stakeholder from your organization can go a long way toward making a donor feel appreciated. Pre-recorded Gratavid videos can also be used to share impact stories very effectively.
Raise allows you to personalize each and every donor communication at scale simply not manageable if done manually. Receive a tailored email draft to send them with the first AI-powered email for frontline fundraisers that learns and replicates each fundraiser’s unique communication style within days.
- Embedded Gratavid action—Launch Gratavid directly from your Raise First Draft email to quickly send personalized videos.
- Powerful and personal outreach—Put a friendly face with a name. Quickly create personalized video messages to increase engagement with your solicitation and stewardship outreach.
- Showcase your team in branded video reels—Easily record, search, upload or request greetings from others on your team and add multiple videos to a single landing page in a reel format for maximum impact.
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Fundraiser retention: Attract + retain fundraiser talent
3. Direct fundraising activities
Most nonprofits and educational institutions have an annual appeal and several other projects for which they raise funds. In addition, they may carry out high-profile annual giving events such as Giving Days, Homecoming, reunions and more.
Each event is a world unto itself and takes months of preparation—from deciding on the content to putting a team of staff and volunteers together, sending out invites, marketing and selecting a suitable platform or venue to host the event. Then there is the task of collecting donations, processing funds, updating the database, showing live tallies (if relevant) and thanking donors afterward.
Each event can be a mounting source of stress for the fundraiser in charge of its execution. Fortunately, there is an easier way.
How it helps
- Flexible fundraising—From robust Giving Days and crowdfunding campaigns to Annual Giving sites and the simplest of giving forms, Advance delivers the tools to make any initiative a success.
- Content management system—Create a unique digital experience and properly showcase your unique brand with a simple yet powerful content management system, enabling you to deliver an impactful story with stunning visuals.
- Powerful gamification + marketing tools—Increase excitement and engagement around campaigns through sophisticated and highly visual leaderboards that generate friendly competition, goal thermometers, regional heat maps and more. Drive awareness and donations with automated and modern e-commerce functionality, behavioral-based emails and social sharing tools.
- Recruit + manage ambassadors—Enlist your most passionate constituents to help support your fundraising initiatives, beyond donating. Enable them to promote campaigns with unique referral links, build dedicated ambassador leaderboards to provide motivation, plus easily communicate with them and share progress reports directly from your dashboard.
- Payment processing—Choose from 150+ payment processors, including mobile wallets, to easily collect money from various campaigns in the way that is most convenient for you and your constituents.
4. Tracking success and setting KPIs
Every organization is required to prove that it is achieving results and making the best use of resources. As fundraising is a long, slow burn, it can be shortsighted to measure the success of your fundraising efforts in terms of donation amount only. How successfully you engage donors—even if they don’t donate money this time—is also an important aspect of your overall success.
Collecting metrics about any of the following can show how successful your fundraising activities are:
- Philanthropy—How much money you raised from how many donors?
- Volunteerism—How many people gave of their time on behalf of your institution?
- Experiential—How many people attended an online or offline event?
- Communication—How many people replied to an outreach communication?
Fundraise smarter, not harder with Gravyty’s fundraising suite
The fundraising solutions mentioned in this guide all have embedded data collection and analytics capabilities that allow you to track the success of every outreach effort or campaign. You can also use these tools to build reports and analyze your results over time. By collecting these metrics, you will be able to improve your performance year after year and tangibly demonstrate your successes to donors and supporters.
Another benefit of gathering performance data is that you can share it with the fundraisers themselves. Use metrics to show fundraisers how well they have performed and praise and thank them. Research shows that when employees tangibly see the results of their labor, they will be motivated to continue working hard.
Save money and time by prioritizing employee retention
Like every industry today, the fundraising industry is struggling to attract and retain the right talent. Fortunately, fundraiser burnout is easy to address with specialized fundraising software. By adopting tools that reduce repetitive manual tasks and help fundraisers perform better and achieve more each day, you can demonstrate your commitment to employee wellbeing and hopefully keep your fundraising team busy and happy for many years to come.