By Drew Fox Jordan • November 19, 2019

    AI Ideas: Adrienne Stein, Senior Director of Development Systems for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

    Adrienne Stein is Senior Director of Development Systems for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Action Fund. In her role, Adrienne supports donor database systems to support the enterprise needs of Planned Parenthood’s fundraising efforts. She is a technology leader in the nonprofit sector who has helped organizations such as American Civil Liberty Union, Amnesty International, and others manage technology and data to be more effective and efficient.


    Gravyty: Can you tell us about Planned Parenthood -- its footprint, mission, and where you are focused today?

    Adrienne: Planned Parenthood is a 100+ year-old organization that was founded on the idea that women should have the information they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams. Today, Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider and researcher, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world in the areas of reproductive rights and health care, sex education, and more.

    I’m proud to work at Planned Parenthood because of the impact we make on so many people to have more control over their own bodies and lives.

    Gravyty: Why is a strong fundraising strategy especially important for Planned Parenthood in today’s environment?

    Adrienne: For almost three years, the Trump-Pence administration has consistently attacked sexual and reproductive health care and rights. Their most recent attack on Title X — the nation’s program for affordable reproductive health care — threatens people’s access to critical preventive care, including breast exams and cancer screenings. It puts people’s health and lives at risk, especially communities who already face historic barriers to health care, such as people of color, people with low-incomes, and people living in remote or rural areas.

    So, support from the public through fundraising and advocacy has become more critical. Luckily, we’re seeing that support and it’s helping us to address the challenges we face with funding and fight the political battles.

    People in this country understand that your rights and your access to health care services shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have. That’s why we fight for the rights of patients and the people we serve, and we’re so grateful to our supporters for standing with us.


    Gravyty: Your career has centered around helping some of the most well-known and impactful nonprofit organizations use data in strategic ways. How did you get to where you are now?

    Adrienne: The focus of my career has been to help nonprofit organizations use technology to impact their mission. I ended up on the fundraising side, focusing on donor relations, in part because this is where nonprofits are able to make technology investments more easily. I have observed the non-profit sector mature along with changes in the tech industry, from the web tools to enterprise CRM to big data. It has been exciting to use technology advancements for our causes.

    Gravyty: How do you see the technologies that make up artificial intelligence (AI) empowering nonprofit organizations today?

    Adrienne: I’ve been able to work with nonprofit organizations that are large and have resources. We have been using look-alike models to maximize fundraising. I think AI tools represent an opportunity to use data analysis and analytic products on-demand -- so we don’t have to send our data out to have it modeled and analyzed. If AI can give us the ability to analyze data on-the-fly to automate the next optimized multi-channel contact, we can act on it immediately.

    Another opportunity is to remove siloed data systems so we can take action faster. For example, if one of our major donors has said something publicly, is there a way to make this data immediately available to major gift officers so they can use that content to deepen relationships?

    In fact, Planned Parenthood is already employing AI using NLP (natural language processing) to directly deliver digital sex education as part of our mission to get as many young people as possible accurate, nonjudgmental information so they can stay safe and healthy. Launched this year, our new sexual health chatbot Roo is designed to help teens visiting PlannedParenthood.org get personalized health information instantly — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As more users interact with Roo, it will continue to evolve and be able to answer even more questions on more topics. Roo is the first chatbot of its kind and was named a winner of Fast Company’s 2019 World Changing Ideas Awards, so we’re very proud of this work.

    Gravyty: What problems are you most excited to see AI applied to?

    Adrienne: There’s a lot of value in using AI to remove time-consuming tasks. For example, helping us determine a donor’s affinity, history with our organization, and other factors that determine if they are a qualified prospect. That work is time-consuming, and if AI could handle it, it would free up staff to be more value-added tasks.

    Here at Planned Parenthood, there’s a lot of potential for this, because we’ve seen large growth in our donor pool and pipeline. Being able to make our staff more effective in this area without being consumed by time-intensive data gathering and evaluation would be very helpful.

    On the direct response side of things, AI could help us see multi-channel touch points with donors and understand their engagement overall. Based on the profile of a potential donor, we could do things like determine the next best touchpoint or step. We would be able to consider how we meet people where they are, not just as a donor, but as an activist in our advocacy work as well.

    Gravyty: Adrienne, thank you so much for your time. It’s been great speaking to you and learning about your perspective on AI and what it can do for the nonprofit sector.

    If you would like to see what AI-enabled fundraising in action looks like, contact us and let's set up a time to talk about how Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools, powered by AI, can help your organization. 


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