That headline really just means – nonprofits that use fundraising intelligence are cool and ahead of the curve because they’ve figured out CRMs/ excel/manual lists won’t help bring the $$ in – what truly helps with fundraising is a fundraising intelligence software that gives you real-time insights into your donor database doing way more with the existing data than you manually ever could. These nonprofits know what fundraising success feels like and are tech pioneers in the nonprofit space. What’s fundraising success you ask?
Fundraising success (to me) is all of these: great relationships with your donors, a robust and healthy donor database, a happy & focussed fundraising team that surpasses their goals, positive ROI on your fundraising efforts, and most importantly, ample funds to support your cause. Are you one of the cool guys enjoying fundraising success or are you here to learn? Either way, you’re in the right place 🙂
Let’s get started, what is fundraising intelligence and how can it help YOU?
Over the past years, as businesses have found ways to gather unmanageable piles of data about their customers and markets, they’ve struggled with interpreting the information in usable ways. Today, non-profits are facing the same dilemma. And like businesses, they’re turning to artificial intelligence (AI), or in the non-profit world, fundraising intelligence. Fundraising intelligence turns donor data into insights, which helps charities find and nurture prospects and spend time on what matters most – building meaningful relationships!
Identify Likely Donors
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems help non-profits track email responses, online donations, event attendance, and know much more about anyone who’s ever interacted with the organization. All that information should ideally make it easier to find the best prospects!
In reality, all those data points mean fundraisers have to manually review the CRM entries, pore over details, and make a gut-level decision about who will most likely give. There’s no surefire way of picking out the most promising prospects, and it’s easy for gift officers to spend their limited time with people who don’t end up donating.
As a result, many nonprofits are discontinuing tedious donor research in favor of fundraising intelligence. Gift officers no longer have to squint through CRM screens to find future major donors. Fundraising intelligence software products sync to your CRM and review donor profiles and portfolios taking into account all the details about every donor and learn patterns for all the different donor types in your database – mid-level, major, legacy, annual. Then by finding similar patterns in other donor profiles, the system can predict who will give, when they’re likely to give, and how much. I’ve been a fundraiser for many years and sorting through excel files, CRM data points, was always cumbersome and inefficient.
There had to be a way to sort through all the donor data and get real, valuable insights?!
We built Wisely with exactly this in mind.
Wisely syncs to your CRM and gives you real-time insights on who will give, how much, and when, so you don’t have to waste precious time sorting through manually and you also don’t have to rely on your gut for fundraising decisions. When you log into your Wisely account, the AI-powered software will give you insights into your donor portfolio tell you exactly whom to contact and when – freeing up your time to make the right ask and build meaningful relationships with your donors.
AI & Machine learning can find patterns more complex and subtle than humans can, and they evaluate reams of data in a shorter time. They go beyond a donor’s financial capacity to find combinations of characteristics that mark out the likelihood of giving, not just the ability to give. They provide consistent and reliable results that gift officers can act on quickly.
Reach the Right Prospects in Your Donor Database
Every non-profit is different. The people who make major gifts to one group may not do the same for another, even in the same sector. Some people gravitate to smaller nonprofits where they can make a bigger impact. Some groups, like corporations, want the social credit of donating to a nationwide organization.
Because an AI system learns from each charity’s unique data set, it develops patterns customized to each group and identifies prospects most suited to that non-profit. Gift officers don’t run the risk of trying to connect with someone who would never be a major contributor even if they have the capacity.
Cultivate Prospects More Effectively
The 2018 Quarterly Fundraising Report found that while donations increased over 2017, the number of donors dropped, meaning there are fewer donors giving larger amounts. Non-profits have to get smarter about finding these folks and nurturing their interest.
Find and connect with likely donors earlier
Fundraising intelligence can identify likely major donors earlier than humans would. For example, if someone who fits the pattern of a large contributor has just made a small gift, the system can alert fundraisers to follow up with a personal thank-you note or a phone call. Without intelligent systems, gift officers may not have realized that this small gift was the probable first step to a major one.
Segment donor outreach
With insight into donors’ likely behavior, non-profits can fine-tune their outreach. For example, if fundraisers want to use an educational event to attract prospects, they can base the guest list on people who are both interested in the event’s topic and inclined to give generously.
Refocus portfolios daily
In the past, if non-profits analyzed their data or commissioned reports on donor giving capacity, the results took days to weeks to arrive. By the time fundraisers had some insight about the information, it was already stale.
Fundraising software like Wisely reviews portfolios every day if needed. Each day the database is updated, Wisely reassesses each prospect and rebalances a gift officer’s portfolio.
Importantly, if a prospect has not shown progress after some time, the AI will recognize their disinterest and remove that person from the portfolio. In the past, fundraisers may have continued to nurture these prospects, but with machine intelligence, they can see the likelihood of a donation has dropped, and they can move on.
Focus More Time on Relationships
Without AI support, donor research or prospect development work takes fundraisers several hours each week to accomplish. But these folks didn’t come to non-profits because they love data. They came to make a difference and help others do the same. They’re relationship people.
By taking prospect research out of fundraisers’ schedules and handing them actionable information about promising donors, fundraising intelligence frees them to spend more time nurturing each prospect. Further, they can use their time more efficiently, bringing in more donations for the same effort.
For example, armed with AI predictions about donation size, fundraisers can steer their prospects toward initiatives aligned to the donor’s likely contribution. They spend less time feeling out each patron’s appetite and interests and move more readily to a contribution.
Improve Results Over Time
When gift officers, front-line fundraisers, and volunteers interact with potential donors, they record the results of each contact in the database. The CRM is also regularly collecting information on new people who’ve accepted an invitation, made a small donation, or expressed interest in the organization.
Fundraising intelligence software products like Wisely incorporate this incoming data into its analysis, re-working the predictive patterns, and improving accuracy. Over time, the AI gets better and better at finding excellent prospects, and gift officers get better and better returns on their efforts.
Predict your Donor Pipeline
Fundraising Intelligence software products have provided a significant advantage to nonprofits and will continue to improve. Are you using fundraising intelligence software to improve your prospecting and fundraising journey or are you still doing it the old school way with excel and manual lists?
Don’t miss out! Contact us TODAY for your free trial and personalized Wisely demo.