Nonprofit organizations live on fundraising. Spreadsheets and CRM systems have helped fundraisers track, sort, and reach out to potential donors. But fundraising is a high-touch, people-intensive activity.
By Glenn Leibowitz, Inc.
Donor outreach may start out with mass mailings and email blasts, but effectively engaging with the biggest and most frequent donors usually requires a high degree of customization and personalization. For resource-constrained, non-profit organizations, then, one of the biggest barriers to reaching out to more high-potential donors – and more frequently – is the need to tailor outreach.
This is one lesson Adam Martel learned firsthand as a fundraiser for Babson College, widely considered one of the world’s leading institutions for the study of entrepreneurship. Martel’s quest to solve this issue for himself and his team eventually became the kernel of an idea for an entirely new business he founded while studying for his MBA, which he pursued part-time while he helped Babson build its endowment.
Gravyty Technologies, which he co-founded in 2016 with Babson classmate Rich Palmer, draws on the power of AI to make data-backed predictions about the giving potential of donors and even help automatically write first drafts of personalized outreach emails.
Gravyty is acquiring new nonprofit customers, raising fresh funding, and earning accolades for its AI-based technology. Earlier this year, Gravyty successfully completed its second round of funding, raising $2 million by a group of investors led by Boston’s NXT Ventures and Launchpad Venture Group.
In 2017, The Chronicle of Philanthropy selected Gravyty as the first among fifteen “New Fundraising Ideas that Worked” for the role their artificial intelligence technology played in helping increase major donor retention for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The Fund increased fundraising by 49 percent, or nearly $2 million, in the first year they used Gravyty’s applications.