What's the ROI of Gratavid for Fundraisers?

Our founder makes the case that Gratavid will pay for itself in more ways than one

Will Trapp
September 20, 2022 · 5 min read
What's the ROI of Gratavid for Fundraisers?

When people first see a Gratavid demo, their reactions and statements are pretty consistent, “This platform looks so easy to use. I could see us using it for so many different things.” Seeing the ideas running through their head and hearing their comments brings me a ton of joy.

But every now and then, someone asks the question, "what is the ROI (return on investment) of Gratavid?"

It's a loaded question, but the answer is simple. Yes, Gratavid will pay for itself in many different ways. 

Jennifer Yin profile pic

We received enough donations to cover our cost within a couple hours of sending our first Gratavid. I was shocked because I didn't even make an ask."

Water@Work Ministry logo
Jennifer Yin
Water@Work Ministry

1) Improve donor retention

Donor retention is a major problem facing our industry. On average, 3 out of 4 donors are leaving without making a second donation. This means you have to replace more than half of your donors every year to stay even.

In the figure below, 500 donors give $360 to start year one.

After year one, a 5% increase in donor retention will increase giving by $9000. A 20% increase in donor retention we will increase giving by $36,000!

500 donors give $360 to start year chart showing an increase in retention rates can save us big

If we look at the impact over three years for those same 500 donors, a 5% increase in donor retention will save us $14,000, and a 20% increase in retention will save us $61,000.

3 Year impact of donor retention on 500 donors

And that’s just three years; imagine the compounding effects.

Professor Adrian Sargeant, PhD profile pic

Improving donor retention by just 10% can double the lifetime value of your donor database!"

Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy logo
Professor Adrian Sargeant, PhD
Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy

How to improve retention

Before we can fix donor retention, we need to understand the root cause. The top two reasons donors stop giving are 1) the organization did not communicate its effectiveness and 2) too frequent solicitations from the nonprofit organization.

I get it. Communicating effectively is hard. Writing takes time, and everyone has an opinion on what should be included or excluded. We’ve all heard the edit by committee horror stories. 

This is where video can help. Video can communicate in one minute what would take hours if not days to write. Don't believe me? Here are some stats that show the effectiveness of video:

  • One minute of video is worth 1.8 million words - Sprout Video

  • Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text - Popvideo

  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text - Popvideo

The 2nd reason donors stop giving is over solicitation. Over solicitation happens when you fail to report on your donor’s gift. 

Barbara O'Reilly, CFRE profile pic

If you don’t close the loop with donors by thanking or reporting back to them before asking again, they will perceive it as being over solicited."

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Barbara O'Reilly, CFRE
Windmill Hill Consulting

This quote is at the core of how to think about utilizing Gratavid.

Gratavid is not a solicitation tool; Gratavid is a stewardship tool. When you invest in Gratavid, you are investing in stewardship. Gratavid is your touchpoint between asks. Gratavid is your tool to report on impact, communicate gratitude, and bring your donors to the scene.

Sure, you can do all of these through the written word; but, if the goal is to make an impression, why wouldn't you use the most impactful channel (video)?

2) Save time & resources

Mike Salley profile pic

"It takes me less time to do a personal video than to write and edit letters that are not as personal. My donors are super impressed with my Gratavids and mention they have never felt so seen and appreciated.""

Show Mercy International logo
Mike Salley
Show Mercy International

One of the biggest benefits we hear from clients is that they no longer have to rely on the marketing or the video staff to create effective content. Not only does it save the entire organization time, but it can also save you from having to hire an external video production resource.

Now anyone can record, request, or upload files and then share them via email.

The less obvious benefit is how much time Gratavid can save you when it comes to thanking your donors.

Prioritize the thank you process

Professor Jen Shang, PhD profile pic

Donors pay the most attention to the thank-you communication."

Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy logo
Professor Jen Shang, PhD
Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy

We all stress over open and click-through rates, but Jen Shang's quote provides incredible insight into the best time to reach our donors.

As Julie Cooper said on the Build Good Podcast, "Thanking is not the effect of a gift. Thanking is the cause for the future relationship... The gift should start the process of bonding the donor to the cause. The thank-you communication forms the bond."

We shouldn't treat the thank you as an obligatory choir or task. We should treat it as an opportunity.

The reality is it's hard to thank every donor without a system in place. With Gratavid, you can connect your CRM/payment system to Gratavid to automatically send Gratavids or automatically create a task each time a donation is made.

If your system doesn't integrate with Gratavid, you can put a system in place thank a list of new donors/contacts from a CSV file each month.

You can’t automate relationships, but you can automate your thank you process with Gratavid.

How a Gratavid led to an unprompted five-figure gift

One day, Matt Gill, a Senior Donor Advisor at United Way, received a note from finance that a donor he works with sent in a $15,000 gift out of the blue. 

Weeks before the five-figure gift, and shortly after the donor joined United Ways' legacy society, Matt decided to thank the donor with a unique Gratavid. Knowing the donor had a background in the Navy, Matt, having a background in the Navy too, put on his Navy uniform and recorded a sword and knighting ceremony. He then shared his Gratavid with the donor and received an immediate response. 

Matt Gill Navy Example

The Gratavid alone didn't seal the $15,000 check, but it opened the door to a deeper friendship and more opportunities to connect. Matt still had to put in the work, but Gratavid helped crack the door open. When the donors sent in their unprompted gift, the donor couple noted how much it meant to connect in such meaningful ways. 

3) Book more meetings and close more gifts

One of the most popular strategies is using Gratavid as a hook to catch your donor's attention, and then asking your donor to click a call-to-action button. You can use call-to-action buttons to link to a donation page, share a blog post, or ask a donor to book time on your calendar.

When Frank Mumford was at United Way, he used Gratavid to help close over a million dollars in gifts. Frank sent a Gratavid to all his donors asking, “I thought it might be easier to schedule 15 minutes where I would share your impact and what this year’s donation request would be. Click the link below to find a time, and we can meet virtually.” 

This booking strategy led Frank to visit virtually with 60 donors. He presented six simple PowerPoint slides, shared their impact, an update, the community's need, and that year’s request. Frank closed 100% of all virtual asks and increased year-over-year giving by more than 10%.

One tip for booking more meetings is to write the donor’s name on a piece of paper at the start of your video. This intuitively lets your donor know the video is personalized. As proof, we see around a 50% CTR when this trick is implemented.

What are the chances of John clicking on the email below?

Name on whiteboard example in email

So what's the ROI?

Gratavid will have a 6:1 ROI ( $9,000 / $1500 ) if a $180,000 organization can increase retention by just 5% in one year. Frank was able to secure over a million dollars in gifts using Gratavid to book meetings. That's a 670:1 ROI ( $1,000,000 / $1500 )!

The reality is ROI numbers are misleading. What's the ROI of your phone bill, what's the ROI of email, what's the ROI of your office? It's a hard question to answer because we can't attribute all revenue to one single channel. Together, all touchpoints (email, phone calls, zoom, social media, etc.) contribute to the donor experience. Showing gratitude, reporting on gifts, and improving the donor experience through Gratavid is a rising tide that will lift all boats.

You will still have to put in the work, but Gratavid's here to help you do it more effectively, efficiently, and have more fun along the way. 

Happy thanking!

Will Trapp
Founder & CEO @ Gratavid
Will Trapp is the founder and CEO of Gratavid. Gratavid is a software platform for collecting and sharing personalized videos.
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Ready to stand out with personalized video?

Check out our favorite Gratavid testimonials below, and visit Gratavid.com for examples and to learn more.

Eshon Allen

Gratavid truly helped us reimagine the connections we make between our school community and the donors who make it all possible.

Eshon Allen
Jenny Johnson

Gratavid has helped take our stewardship to a new level. I can not express enough how much I love this platform.

Ole Miss Foundation
Jenny Johnson
Ole Miss Foundation
Kerri Naber

Our donors are so thankful to receive Gratavids because it communicates that they are a big part of our mission. A personalized video makes them feel valued and seen.

Mercy Multiplied
Kerri Naber
Mercy Multiplied
Zack Huffman

Gratavid is a game changer. Since starting I’ve used it every day.

Teach For America
Zack Huffman
Teach For America
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