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A Quick Blueprint for Using AI

Hey, Siri, Help Me with Nonprofit Fundraising!

Ready to dive into AI to make your nonprofit more efficient and successful? Here are five easy ways to get started.

A Quick Blueprint for Using AI

Don’t laugh…it’s not that ludicrous to imagine a world in which Siri can give you a recipe for pasta primavera (with calorie and protein counts) as fast as she/it can whip up a fundraising campaign that includes case studies, statistics, and compelling calls to action that ignite fundraising.

In fact, that technology is already here, if not on your kitchen counter and hailing from Amazon.

This isn’t, however, an article about the high-tech future of fundraising or an article lamenting the power of a world run by bots a trillion times more intelligent than we could ever hope to be. Rather, let’s look at the technology readily available, likely in software you already own, and talk about five ways you can incorporate AI into your fundraising right now.

5 Ways Nonprofits Can Embrace Artificial Intelligence

Let’s assume that most robust fundraising software platforms already offer AI-enhanced tools. If they don’t, they better hurry up and get on it, or they'll be quickly outpaced by competitors.

Here are five common ways nonprofits can leverage AI in their existing technology. What if your technology doesn’t allow you to do these things? You can shop around for a new CRM or create software tickets for your vendor and offer feedback that this capability is critical. At CharityEngine, our customers are responsible for about 80% of new feature requests and improvements. Your CRM vendor should be very willing to listen!

Ready to see some ideas to consider? Here's what you can do with AI!

1. Personalize Donor Communications

It’s not just personalizing communications; it’s personalizing communications at scale. Because donor relationships are foundational to successful fundraising, connecting with every single donor (not just the big givers) is critical.

AI can help nonprofits:

  • Analyze donor data so you understand preferences and behaviors.
  • Tailor communications based on these insights.
  • Automate the delivery of personalized messages at the right time.

Dig a little deeper into analyzing donor data. That’s where AI shines, right? Pretty much.

  • AI can analyze massive amounts of data and uncover trends and patterns the human eye might not see.
  • It can quickly segment donors based on these insights, grouping people by demographics, giving history, engagement levels, and interests.
  • It can then use tools like ChatGPT to write tailored emails and fundraising appeals.

chatgpt email screenshot-1

Now, if you don’t have access to AI in your CRM, you can certainly do all of this manually or perhaps through some functionality in your software. AI can do it better, faster, more thoroughly, and for an unlimited amount of data, but the key donor engagement tenants of segmentation and personalization hold true for every nonprofit, even if your only tool is Excel.

2. Use Predictive Analytics to Power Your Outreach

This strategy can be executed manually, but using the resources (time, energy, and staff) is increasingly unnecessary when technology can easily do the heavy lifting for you.

In a nutshell, we are talking about predicting donor behavior.

AI can predict which donors are likely to give, when they are most likely to give, how much they’re likely to give, and which donors are at risk of lapsing.

CharityEngine offers gift probability on each contact record. We blend extensive data, advanced algorithms, and artificial intelligence to tell you how engaged a donor is (a key metric for identifying donors that might be lapsing), how much they are likely to donate based on their history and wealth screening, and what the probability is of that donor making a gift today.

gift probability-1

When you have this information readily available, it’s easy to pull a list of the prospects most likely to donate and have your team call them. If you have hundreds of donors ready to give, you can send an email instead of calling.

Many nonprofit CRMs offer similar technology, and we promise it will change your fundraising game.

3. Identify Potential Major Donors

Most nonprofits have a team looking for major gift donors. Their job is to identify, nurture, and move them through the donor journey to the status of major gift donor.

The wealth data we just mentioned is one of many data points that can combine with AI to identify these elite donors. Looking at giving history, recency, frequency (if you want a free RFM calculator, here you go), demographics, education, job title, and other markers can inform the technology enough for major donor prospects to surface.

This, too, uses predictive analytics, but with a different focus. The systems will identify more granular data and more comprehensive data sets to show you precisely where to focus your efforts.

4. Optimize Your Fundraising Campaigns

We often talk about the value of real-time dashboards and extol the value of watching your campaign metrics in real time. That’s valuable, but let’s add AI on to it so there’s a new layer of governance.

AI can monitor campaigns and identify channels when performance drops or surges. For example, if social posts drive more conversions than expected, AI tools can write additional posts and schedule publication on the appropriate channel at peak engagement.

When it comes to fundraising emails, scheduling a series of automated emails is a highly effective form of donor outreach. 

5. Fraud Prevention

AI is a super-human (literally) fraud watchdog. It can detect and prevent fraudulent transactions faster and more accurately than ever before.

Whether it’s analyzing large volumes of financial data to spot abnormalities or unusual patterns, using real-time transaction monitoring to screen for suspicious activity, or simply doing these things around the clock, AI bolsters the integrity of your nonprofit’s reputation.

While AI can verify the authenticity of documents and detect subtle signs of forgery, it can also quickly cross-reference information to prove a transaction is valid. This could include, for example, a credit card perfectly matches the name on an account or that the correct zip codeis entered on the donation form.

Integrating AI into Your Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy

We’ve only scratched the surface of how AI will revolutionize fundraising, and by the time you’re reading this, there are probably many more use cases we could cover. It’s still the Wild West to a degree, so you want to carefully integrate this technology and ensure it aligns with your values and mission.

The smartest path forward is to team up with a CRM vendor committed to keeping a finger on the pulse of technology and making sure their platform offers the most advanced, safest, most helpful tools. If you’re looking, give us a call and let us share how our comprehensive platform, including AI capabilities, can help your fundraising explode.

The Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Nonprofit CRM   Everything you need to know when selecting a nonprofit CRM.