A reflection by Gravyty President, Sevonne Eliyahu
In celebrating my five-year milestone at Gravyty, I’m inspired to reflect on all that has changed in philanthropy since I’ve started this journey.
US News & World Report’s College Rankings changes
The prestigious US News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, a reliable source for four decades, have now abandoned the use of alumni giving as a metric. This development acknowledges that alumni engagement offers a more comprehensive picture of a college’s impact. As the CASE Alumni Engagement Metrics framework recognizes, alumni engagement is so much more than a donation. It’s volunteerism, experiences and events, and communication.
Going beyond engagement with AI
The once futuristic concept of AI has rapidly become a reality embraced across industries, and fundraising is no exception. We have moved beyond debating whether to leverage AI and are now focused on creating strategies to maximize its potential at our organizations.
With AI, we can simplify our tasks, connect more personally with donors, and achieve unprecedented results. It’s poised to become even more prevalent in years to come.
Prioritizing a personalized donor experience
Personalized experience is now crucial to reach and keep the attention and care of donors. Fundraisers are learning that if you don’t know why your donor would want to give you their time or financial support, you’re unable to connect with them on a personal level and encourage continued giving.
Taking a personal approach to engaging donors—customized email, personal video messages, recognition of milestones and anniversaries, showing appreciation—instill a sense of authentic connection with your donor community. Fundraisers are finding that the role of AI in scaling this approach to personalized donor experience, as mentioned above, is becoming undeniable.
The importance of data insights
Fundraisers rely on data insights to better understand (and connect with) their donors. Things like AI, automations and integrations are no longer nice-to-haves in a fundraiser’s toolbelt.
To find, target, reach and nurture donors requires smart insights about who they are, what they care about, how they give and, most importantly, why they give and how that impacts the level of their donations.
Retaining fundraisers in a tough climate
The impact of COVID-19 followed by the “great resignation” was felt by nearly every industry, and fundraising teams were suddenly faced with a loss of resources and more turnover than ever. The stats are alarming: Forbes estimates that 45% of nonprofit employees will seek new jobs by 2025, and one out of every ten employees feels overworked, under-resourced and disengaged.
With turnover comes a need for onboarding and retention support, taking time out of your already busy day to get new fundraisers up to speed. The role technology plays in enticing new talent to join your team and stay while can’t be understated.
The next era of philanthropy
In my first five years here at Gravyty, I have witnessed profound transformations in philanthropy. Our understanding of fundraising has expanded beyond monetary contributions. It’s about the power of fostering connections, driving our institution’s mission, and being a force for good.
At Gravyty, we are devoted to empowering you at every stage of your community’s journey—from engagement and giving to stewardship and beyond. Together, we can make a lasting impact.