Using Tech to Fundraise Faster, Better, Cheaper

By: CJ Orr

CJ Orr
OAI's Tech Taskforce meets every Tuesday morning at 8:30am.  Charged to come up with ways to help  our clients fundraise faster, better and cheaper, topics under discussion range from the latest wealth analysis software, to graphic design tools (for impactful event invitations and case statements), to new innovations in CRMs to improve donor data collection and analysis.  An hour is never enough time to discuss and investigate the new tech tools that are proliferating in the nonprofit world and decide which to add to our Tech Toolkit!

Setting Priorities

So what is a nonprofit COO/CDO to do, faced with so many new products and software tools?  The most important tech tools for any organization are going to depend on its strategic goals. COOs and CDOs need to consider where the majority of their revenue comes from. If fundraising events are the backbone of your development operations, then tools like  Zkipster and  AllSeated that automate the invitation production process, guest lists, seating and event check-in, can help streamline what can be a nightmarish experience. Organizations with a strong online donor base will want to consider marketing tools to better manage donor communications, like  Constant Contact.  Looking at internal systems, nonprofits with nationwide offices should consider implementing conference-calling software like  Zoom to increase efficiency and enhance communications capabilities. 

Relationships Are Still Key

But the heart of nonprofit fundraising continues to be an organization's ability to identify new donors with an interest in its mission, and build relationships with them.  Many new relationship software vendors are offering, for a fee, to help you figure out "who knows who".  Once you've narrowed in on your prospect shortlist, their software can help you dive deeper to understand your "ideal donor" and how, when, and how much to encourage them to give.

At OAI, we're committed to working with you, our nonprofit partners, to identify the tools that will deliver the greatest benefits to you and rigorously test them in real-life applications. We've road-tested products in all of the categories shown in the toolkit, and subjected them to daily use.  In the coming months we'll be developing survey tools to gather more data from you about your tech pain points.  We want to be better equipped to help you integrate the right software into your operations, teach you how to use the tools, and even manage them alongside your fundraising team.  Please give us a call if you'd like to discuss the best tool(s) for your needs and we look forward to continuing to provide updates as the tech space evolves.
Craig Shelley, CFRE

OAI Managing Director  Craig Shelley published an article in NonProfitPro  on  December 18 entitled  "Fundraising Events: Ensuring Exponential Results"  in which he recommends  three key areas for focusing a nonprofit's efforts and attention. Read more  here .

Dick Walker

OAI Consultant Dick Walker was quoted in an article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy published on January 9 entitled: "How to Nudge Reluctant Leaders to Ask for Money".  He notes that fundraising staff often complain about leaders who are hesitant to ask for money. Read more here.

OAI's goal is to build strong, enduring relationships with clients that allow us to get to know them from the ground up and the inside out.  While we're always excited and proud to announce new partnerships, we wanted give a special shout-out in this newsletter to selected partners with whom we've recently renewed our contracts, or expanded our services. 
Following the success of its 2017 Annual Dinner, OAI will again be working with Equal Justice Works in 2018 to support the event Steering Committee, help manage fundraising leading up to the 2018 Annual Dinner, and manage seating and registration on the night.  Whilst following Equal  Justice Works' established policies and protocols, our scope of work will be expanded to seek out ways to maximize Equal Justice Works' fundraising potential.

OAI has been serving as outsourced  Director of Development for The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) for more than four years.  Whilst our focus has been on leading MARF's Development function throughout, as our knowledge of  the organization has deepened and its  trust in us has increased, we have added new members to the team and continue to be engaged at all levels, from fundraising strategy to execution of events and donor communications. 

Since early September, OAI has been working with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital (Southampton) and the Southampton Hospital Foundation to prepare for their upcoming campaign, which will transform healthcare on the East End of Long Island.  We have undertaken discovery to build a foundation of understanding for our work together, and provided  leadership, management and planning to set Southampton up for a successful campaign.  With the Campaign Plan complete, we have been active in recruiting campaign leadership and identifying and creating strategies for lead prospects.

Ronald McDonald House New York (RMDHNYcame to OAI in Spring 2017 seeking to develop a major gifts fundraising strategy to build significant beneficial and enduring relationships with existing and new major donors.  OAI began working with RMDHNY to advance donor relationships,  while simultaneously expanding upon and greatly adding to a major gifts  road map identifying the prospects, leadership, staffing, programs and fundraising systems needed to move R MDHNY's fundraising to the next level.  Over an initial 9-month period, we raised close to $1M against a $500,000 goal.  This early success has built the foundation for a strong relationship, with OAI continuing to provide an outsourced major gifts fundraising team.

Table to Table is a community-based food rescue program that collects prepared and perishable food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to over 120 community organizations in Northern New Jersey, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, after-school programs, and homes for the elderly. OAI is partnering with Table to Table to articulate the organization's business model, better explain their services to donors, and help grow fundraising revenues.

 The YMCA of the USA strengthens communities through programs that foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With a footprint in 10,000 American communities, the Y reaches 22 million people and 9 million children every year. The YMCA of the USA serves as the national resource office for the 2,700 YMCAs nationwide that employ a combined workforce of more than 20,000 full-time staff and engage over 600,000 volunteers. OAI is thrilled to be partnering with the YMCA of the USA to undertake a study to explore the feasibility of a collective fundraising effort by YMCA associations in the tristate area, focused on institutional funders. The organization's recognizable and admired brand, and pervasive presence in communities across the United States, provide an unequaled opportunity to attract significant philanthropic investment and thereby create impact at an enviable scale.  

OAI is delighted to recognize the hard work and dedication of its staff in announcing the following promotions, effective January 8, 2018.  Please join us in congratulating:

Kelly Dunphy
Promoted to Managing Director
Craig Shelley, CFRE 
Promoted to Managing Director
Ryan Grosso 
Promoted to Senior Associate Director
Stephanie Mertens 
Promoted to Associate Director
OAI welcomed Raven Duvall to the team in December as Executive Assistant to the Admin Team.  A native Washingtonian, Raven comes to OAI with over a decade of experience. Raven obtained a BA in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University and has since worked in executive support positions for a range of organizations including Alcoa, Pew Charitable Trusts, UNCF and Howard University Hospital.  We're pleased to have her on board!

Responding to the increasingly complex burdens on nonprofit leaders, OAI has developed a transformational approach to fundraising and strategy consulting.  Our teams of experienced professionals seamlessly embed themselves with nonprofits to fundraise, to recruit and improve board leadership, to build consensus and direction through new strategies, and to provide executive, fundraising, and financial leadership.  With offices in Washington, DC and New York City, OAI has partnered in our clients' success for more than 25 years, helping more than 600 nonprofits raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their causes. 


See how we can help you today at www.oai-usa.com.   




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