In this series, we take a look at the current news impacting the nonprofit sector, specifically fundraising. Our intention is not to be reactive, but to be proactive in our analysis of the news and consider how fundraising and philanthropic efforts can improve outcomes and adapt to meet the times.
This week: Re-Humanizing Fundraising With Artificial Intelligence, Foundations Favor General Operating Support in Theory but Hesitate to Make It Happen, and Pfizer Suffers Huge Data Breach on Unsecured Cloud Storage.
Re-Humanizing Fundraising With Artificial Intelligence (Via Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Authors Allison Fine and Beth Kanter recently released a report funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on using artificial intelligence (AI) for fundraising and philanthropy. The report outlines ways that nonprofits are beginning to use AI to increase giving, and while the fact that the most powerful technology in history can help nonprofits raise more money didn’t surprise them, they were surprised by how much opportunity nonprofits have to use AI to re-imagine and re-humanize fundraising.
Analysis: More nonprofits are turning to AI solutions to increase giving at a time where fundraising revenue is now becoming a critical driver. What is important about this report is that it highlights that AI can never replace a frontline fundraiser - it is still a fundamentally human profession that requires a personal touch. But, with AI, fundraisers are able to do their job more efficiently and manage more relationships at scale. And these advantages are producing tangible results. AI-enabled fundraisers are raising more money for their organization's missions.
Pfizer Suffers Huge Data Breach on Unsecured Cloud Storage (Via Security Boulevard)
The exposed data, including email addresses, home addresses, full names, and other HIPAA related information, was found on a misconfigured Google Cloud storage bucket. It is believed that highly confidential medical information came from automated customer support software that had been stored in the Google database. It is unclear how long this data had been stored or who had access to this information.
Analysis: Even multi-national corporations like Pfizer are not immune to security breaches despite being a large enough company to be able to protect sensitive data. Nonprofits are becoming targets for hackers due to the nature of the donor data they store - and cybercriminals are becoming aware of this. The sensitive data that was compromised in this breach is data nonprofit organizations have as well, meaning those databases will be targets next.
Related: On Thursday, November 5 at 3 pm ET // 12 pm PT, Gravyty CTO Rich Palmer will show you the human behaviors within advancement that cyber criminals are looking to exploit and help you think differently about data security to match what's happening in the world today.
Foundations Favor General Operating Support in Theory but Hesitate to Make It Happen (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Although foundation leaders increasingly support the idea of providing multi-year grants for nonprofits’ general operations, relatively few do so regularly because of organizational inertia, suggests a study released last Wednesday. The study found little evidence that the “tried and true myths” about what is preventing foundations from offering multi-year general operating support were actually limiting grant makers, says Ellie Buteau, vice president for research at the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which surveyed foundation program officers and chief executives as well as grantee leaders.
Analysis: This study shows that there is a disconnect between foundations and nonprofits on multi-year general operating support as a concept. The remedy to this is no different than any other goal in fundraising - building a better relationship with the donor, which in this case is the foundation, and communicating your organization's needs. Fundraisers would not make a major gift ask without getting to know the donor first, so why should that be any different for receiving grants?
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