Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become incorporated into many facets of modern life. AI tools are transforming how business professionals operate. Nonprofit fundraising is squarely amidst this actuality.
Some AI tools are excellent fits for specific capital campaign consulting services tasks. Still, they should be viewed as a force multiplier allowing nonprofit professionals to be more efficient and improve personal connectivity in their fundraising efforts. AI tools can provide critical insights through data research not possible by human intelligence. Current AI advancements can deliver information quickly to aid decision-making, allowing organizations to dedicate more time to interact with prospects.
“AI is useful to buttress one’s research for building a case for support,” said Jay Werth, Convergent Principal.
What Exactly is AI?
AI is a general term for computer-based systems that replicate or exceed human intelligence abilities in performing or solving specific tasks by processing incredible data quantities. The most extensive algorithm programming available to the public is performed by Large Language Models, with the most prominent being ChatGPT. Social marketing or prospect intelligence is the focus of platforms like Emplifio.io, Lately, Hubspot, Copy.ai and DonorSearch.
5 Ways AI Works for Nonprofit Fundraising
The primary opportunities for AI in nonprofit fundraising are to deliver a more in-depth understanding of the supporter base, allow for more efficient capital campaigns and provide a path to best engage with potential donors. “In our experience at Convergent, we have utilized AI to discover useful statistics addressing a societal problem our client addresses,” said Werth. “At a minimum, AI can help develop an outline for a project, article or other communication tool.”
AI can analyze specific characteristics and trends within an extensive donor database to provide clear action items and predict future patterns. AI can analyze past donations to predict the likelihood of future donations, determine ask amounts and suggest optimum messaging. Tailoring an organization’s efforts can drastically improve response rates.
Fundraising professionals rely on the principle that 90% of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from 10% of donors. AI can take the guesswork out of the prospecting process by picking specific philanthropy signals from a database to identify those major donors. That guidance can help group donors into decision trees with tailored strategies and communication for each. Exchanging manual decision-making based on personal experience with data-driven direction can dramatically increase an organization’s efficiency.
AI tools can help a nonprofit organization make better outreach decisions by utilizing electronic, paper mail, phone calls, in-person meetings, events or other tactics. An AI-based analysis of historical donations can define optimum messaging that will resonate with different prospect groups. Clear messaging can help invested community members maximize peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, broadening the reach of a campaign.
Automating the production of routine communications and other scheduled content creation can free up staff for more in-person contact with prospective donors. ChatGPT can be used to write promotional emails, social media posts or marketing and recruitment content. Applying a tool like Grammarly to serve in an editorial function will ensure communications are professional and consistent.
Maximize content creation
AI tools can accomplish the more mundane side of content creation, allowing nonprofit professionals the ability to free up their creative side. AI can perform intensive analysis to guide writers on crafting messaging to most likely hit home, whether that be organizational mission and vision direction, successful historical stories or innovative suggestions from peers. AI tools can perform these tasks in a fraction of the time a human could, allowing the production of tailored communication that will improve the donor relationship and increase response rates.
Nothing Replaces a Personal Touch
Despite its benefits, AI is only a tool to be leveraged by an experienced fundraising team. It cannot be on the ground to discuss critical needs with a potential donor, nor will it help establish “Asking Rights.” Personalizing the experience and messaging for prospects that meshes with a capital campaign’s mission is essential.
Currently, AI direction is only as good as the data supplied to it. Nonprofit professionals must review advice for relevance to the specific community or capital campaign. Werth says that, first and foremost, nonprofit leaders must trust but verify recommendations procured through AI analysis. “Validate any sources the AI tool gives for the data received,” he said. “Proofread the content if you’re writing for an audience to ensure the tone matches the intent.”
Through his research, Werth states that it is readily apparent AI responds to prompts and does not think. “At this stage of AI development, I’m not convinced it can determine the behavioral understanding of a community of donors and why they invest from the prompts of a typical fundraiser. AI can comb the internet and give insights about the socioeconomic environment where the nonprofit organization works to provide context for a fundraiser.”
While today’s major donors will provide most of the dollars raised, focusing only on this group may leave money on the table. Small investors may become more capable of increasing their donations in the future, so developing and maintaining relationships is important. As AI tools alleviate repetitive tasks, nonprofit professionals should apply some of that time saved to building those connections.
Again, AI tools operate with the data sources given. AI insights will perpetuate biases existing within datasets. Nonprofit professionals must review reports to ensure a campaign would not be restricted from the onset by screening out potential donors prematurely. The same pertains to data privacy. Much of the information in a prospect database may be of a personal or secure nature, so nonprofit professionals must maintain that privacy throughout its usage.
Convergent Can Help with the Utilization of AI for Nonprofit Campaigns
AI is undoubtedly revolutionizing the fundraising world. Nonprofit organizations can enhance their capital campaign consulting services by utilizing the benefits of AI data analysis. AI tools can remove much of the inefficiencies and guesswork in understanding a community’s prospects while optimizing communication techniques and outreach methods. Nonprofit professionals can then focus their time and effort on developing personal relationships.
“The field of AI is a sea change and turbulent,” said Werth. “We recommend organizations ask what they are attempting to achieve and what results they seek. Trial a few AI systems and study how to write effective prompts that will result in AI-developed information, persuasion, argument or other messaging that best fits their needs.”
Convergent can provide critical assistance employing AI for your capital campaigns and fundraising requirements. We invite you to contact our experts for more information or to start today!