How to reach and cultivate more donors with AI-enabled fundraising

Donor cultivation

Lessons from Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire

Why BBBSNH chose Raise from Gravyty for donor cultivation

Successful donor cultivation throughout the year is one of the best ways to grow support and increase revenue from donations. Stewardship, however, is one of the most time-consuming jobs on a fundraiser’s plate and often gets pushed to the back burner. 

With a fundraising staff of one (and occasional help from another staff member and the CEO), BBBSNH’s VP of Philanthropy and Donors Nicole McShane was only able to reach out to about 20 donors a week. This was nowhere near enough to ensure adequate funding for all of BBBSNH’s vital projects.

While there was no budget for hiring additional staff, there was a tech budget. Having researched various AI tools for fundraising, BBBSNH chose Raise from Gravyty because of its time-saving features and ability to enable limited staff to optimize their time.

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6 Tips to help you maximize your donor cultivation and outreach with Raise

Spend 20 minutes a day on donor stewardship

Whether you have one large annual appeal (like BBSNH) or several smaller fundraising events throughout the year, there is a constant ongoing need for donor stewardship. This means not only thanking donors when a gift is received but also reaching out to share news, impact stories and testimonials. It’s also important to acknowledge donor birthdays and other milestone events and generally stay in touch regularly without necessarily asking for a gift. 

Without an automated tool, keeping track of the necessary information and remembering to reach out with personalized communications at the right time can mean spending hours looking for information in the CRM. 

Personally and promptly thank your donors

The rule of thumb in the fundraising world is to reach out to donors with a personalized thank you message within 72 hours of receiving a donation. At busy times of the year or immediately after a large fundraising event (such as a Giving Day), this can be almost impossible—especially for a small fundraising department.

Take the time to learn more about each donor

Fundraising is all about building relationships with donors and cultivating those donor relationships. While a personalized thank-you email is a good thing, it’s even better to take the time to speak to donors on the phone, so you can build trust and get to know them better.

Fundraisers at BBBSNH find it especially useful to learn the reasons why a donor was prompted to give, as this helps them understand what appeals are likely to interest the donor in future. 

Segment your messaging

Not all donors are the same and the messages and communications you send out should reflect this. BBBSNH have different messages to convey to their larger donors ($1,000+) than they do to their smaller but still highly-valued donors.

At certain times of the year or in response to specific appeals, they may also need to create specialized messaging. 

Let non-staff members get involved

Most fundraising organizations rely on the efforts of more than just their paid staff in order to be successful. Nontraditional fundraisers like volunteers, board members and other organization members can all play a vital part in donor cultivation and stewardship.

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Scale donor outreach + cultivation with AI-powered fundraising

Keep your donor database relevant and up to date

Despite your best efforts at producing timely, personalized communication, not all donors will respond even after repeated attempts at outreach. Circumstances and priorities do change.

If it’s clear after a period of time that someone is no longer interested in engaging with your organization, it’s probably best to remove them from the database so as not to waste excessive resources on them. 

Help your fundraisers steward more donors and get more done each day using the power of AI-enabled fundraising. Let’s talk.

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