In today’s fast-paced constantly changing world, it seems that a new technology or groundbreaking application emerges daily that promises the ability to do everything faster, better, smarter, and with greater ease. But when it comes to the technology commonly used in fundraising, our unfortunate reality is one of broken promises, “Frankensteined” applications originally designed for different industries, and tech that’s simply not strategically aligned with the mission of a nonprofit.
Now, that’s not to say that the industry hasn’t seen progress. Fundraising technology does exist and has evolved to help entire advancement teams store data, run analysis, and stay aligned. The problem is that this technology hasn’t evolved fast enough to provide the color or depth that frontline fundraisers need to perform at a higher level.
Can Technology Drive Behavior and Outcomes?
But the question remains: how do we take this data and put it to action? Before we can answer that question, Rogare’s 2019 Critical Fundraising (USA) Report uncovered two key challenges. Findings from the report include:
- “Front-line fundraisers don’t use technology well.”
- “Getting research and information to front-line fundraisers is difficult.”
These symptoms indicate that fundraisers have been so burned by technology in the past that there’s a precedent to not pursue adoption.
Especially in the case of fundraiser enablement, the charge should be on the technology provider to prove itself different – to produce a piece of technology that’s seamlessly in-line with the people, roles, and functions that make up fundraising; to create technology that doesn’t require fundraisers to learn a new software, adopt an additional screen, or be confined to an app; and to deliver valuable insights and data directly to frontline fundraisers in ways that drive outcomes and behaviors by empowering these seasoned experts to simply take action.
AI on the Rise
A CRM or system of record alone is not the technology that will drive behaviors for frontline fundraisers. Yes, these are wonderful resources for storing data, creating reports, and historically keeping track of opportunities. However, what’s a fundraiser’s relationship with a CRM really like?
In her March 2019 Chronicle of Philanthropy cover story about the opportunity for artificial intelligence (AI) in fundraising, Nicole Wallace quoted Marijana Boone, Executive Director for Advancement Services at the College of Charleston, saying:
“The job of a development officer is not to prioritize their portfolio and think about who to email; it’s to build relationships… They shouldn’t be the ones filtering and sifting through data.”
AI has workforce-enhancing benefits that allow fundraisers to focus time on cultivating relationships, developing new donor leads, and automating tasks. By mimicking the cognitive functions of a seasoned frontline fundraiser to examining, analyzing, and mining data for insights, AI has an opportunity to overcome the initial challenges that other technologies have been perplexed by in fundraising. What’s more is that AI can also be tooled to generate its own content, prompt frontline fundraisers to use and edit it, and be that delivery system that simply empowers fundraisers to act.
To learn more about how AI-enabled fundraising delivers results that were never thought possible before, request a demo.