NYU began their partnership with Plus Delta in the second half of FY 2014 with an initial cohort of gift officers representing multiple units across the institution. The goal for the initial cohort was to solve for specific limiting behaviors among the individual participants that were keeping them from maximizing their fundraising yields. Based on the strong results of the first cohort, NYU invested in subsequent cohorts in FY 2016 and FY 2017.
- Dollars raised by the Plus Delta cohort increased by $500,000 over duration of the DFF program, returning 4x NYU’s initial investment.
- Visit numbers across the team increased by 12% year over year 2014-2015, driven by an increase in unique visits and greater gift officer confidence in managing prospect and donor interactions.
- Officers who participated in the two cohorts raised more money in 2016 than in NYU’s baseline year of 2014.
- The number of major gift asks at the $250,000+ level increased by 36% total in both cohorts since the baseline year of FY2014
- The sum of dollars requested at both the $250,000+ level and at the $1mm+ level are trending higher for both cohorts since FY2014
- The sum of funds secured from the ask amounts continues to trend upwards, with the greatest increase occurring in the number of $1mm+ gifts secured
- Staff were operating as independent silos: unaware of each other’s initiatives and not sharing best practices.
- Staff tended to be transactional, often asking for a gift on initial visits. This created an artificial ceiling on gift amounts and left “money on the table” with donors who could have, through a more transparent and collaborative approach, bought into a more impact-driven, and larger denomination, gift vs. a loyalty gift.
- Some staff were not being diligent or disciplined about qualifying prospects, which led to ongoing/long-term cultivation of suspects (vs. prospects) and reluctance or inability to move to an “ask”.
- Equipping the frontline gift officers with a shared donor engagement process and a common vocabulary enabled efficient handoffs and a shared culture of performance-based fundraising.
- Enhanced discipline of qualification coupled with more effective communication tools allowed gift officers to confidently move prospects through a defined philanthropic process more quickly and efficiently.
- Activity in the form of visits increased by 36% and the dollars raised from gifts of $250,000 and above gifts increased by 52% for our first cohort.
- NYU committed to engaging ongoing annual cohorts of DFF participants to continue the momentum built with this initial cohort of 15 participants.