SPOILER ALERT: You can’t afford not to automate your fundraising operations
In my previous post, I promised to examine whether or not you can afford to invest in automating your team’s more mundane tasks. So let’s jump in!
First, consider why major gifts fundraisers fire their employers
The best major gift fundraisers quit because they love to interact with people.
Stay with me on this.
Believe it or not, it’s hard to give money away. That’s why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation employs more than 1,600 people.
Major gifts fundraisers like to help people navigate the philanthropic giving decision-making process. They get a kick out of helping donors think carefully about their choices. They see themselves as facilitators, not solicitors.
And they absolutely love helping donors make an impact, especially if it’s through your organization. They cry tears of joy alongside benefactors as they partner to make a positive impact in the world.
That’s the bread and butter of major gifts officers’ work.
Here’s what fundraisers DON’T enjoy so much:
If you asked a random group of 100 major gifts fundraisers how they spend their time, what do you think they would say?
A study conducted by Ruffalo Noel Levitz in 2017 essentially did just that. The respondents were seasoned fundraisers and leaders, having spent 13 years in advancement, with nine of those in major and/or planned giving (on average). In general, the study found that fundraisers experience “significant pressure for their limited donor contact time, as well as frustration in finding good ways to focus on the right donors and amplify productivity.”
Here are some details:
This is the cause of high turnover.
It’s a high-stress position with high stakes. But sadly, the support systems that are meant to make their jobs doable don’t deliver the goods. That’s why frustration and burnout runs rampant in fundraising shops around the globe.
How does high turnover among major gifts officers affect your nonprofit?
In short: you lose.
You lose time and money hiring and training new ones.
You lose details about high value supporters that gift officers know and remember.
You lose opportunities with donors who had forged relationships with the fundraiser who just quit.
You lose donors who were ready to give, but by the time the new gift officer gets in touch with them, their situation has changed and they’re no longer interested, or they already supported a competitor with a similar mission.
You also lose quality. If you have a team of major gifts officers and your best one leaves, that means you have to rely on the ones who aren’t quite as good—the ones you were hoping to let go once you found someone better. Now you have to replace the all-star who left, and the subpar ones suddenly become temporarily indispensable.
That’s a lot of losing
I don’t know about you but I don’t like to lose that much. So why not use marketing automation to plug a lot of those holes?
Marketing automation saves time and money.
It keeps your staff happy so you don’t have to spend resources on hiring and training new people.
It ensures continuity.
It maintains relationships with your best supporters, volunteers, advocates and donors.
It helps you conduct donor discovery and cultivation efforts at scale.
Plus, it supports your desire to deliver a quality, VIP experience to lots of well-meaning people who believe in your cause
And most importantly, it can help you maximize the amazing staff you already have in place. In fact, in my next post, I’ll explore whether or not you really need more gift officers to raise more money.
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