Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can significantly improve speed and productivity across a variety of industries. Nonprofits in particular can boost their competitive edge through the use of AI and ML, but many leaders may think that they don’t have the capability or budget to implement such technology. However, with careful planning and targeted implementation, even fundraisers can tap into the power of AI and transform the way philanthropy is done at your organization.
Here are some of the ways to assess if bringing on AI is right for your organization:
1. Define the problem that needs to be solved
AI/ML systems analyze and categorize data. While this technology is cutting-edge, understanding “why” is crucial before making any investment. Fundraising shops must define what areas need to be improved and collect data to better understand its root issues - for example, how many highly-rated prospects didn't receive a personalized touchpoint last year, or what percentage of mid-level donors lapsed? Then, determine how an AI solution can address that problem. At this point, you can increase the ROI of your investment by being extremely targeted in your approach.
2. Look for ways to eliminate mundane tasks
Look to tackle specific problems, and focus on areas that will help drive the efficiency of your fundraisers by letting them use their talent (building relationships with donors) and removing mundane tasks (combing through the CRM for useful data). The key is to look for real pain eliminated, not buy into the hype. Most importantly, make sure this solution is scalable. AI can enable fundraisers to do things never before thought possible, so make sure your software can keep up.
3. Integrate it into something you already do
The last thing any fundraiser wants to do is have to learn a new piece of software or add another task on top of their already busy days. Look for solutions that take tasks off your plate rather than add something else on. When thinking about eliminating pain, simplifying existing tasks is an easy way to accomplish this. Streamlining existing processes ensures that your current workforce won't skip a beat, and new hires can be trained quickly and efficiently.
4. Focus on the areas you can quantify
Because fundraising is a revenue-generating branch for nonprofits, being able to measure fundraising effectiveness is quite simple: success is defined by dollars raised. Any AI solutions you consider should directly impact how much money you raise as a fundraising shop. At the end of the day, you need to justify an investment in software and being able to say with confidence that what you chose directly led to more giving. Anything else is just a "nice to have".
5. Find a vendor that meets your specific needs
Even before the pandemic, many of the problems that nonprofits faced were common across the industry. However, every organization has different processes and circumstances, which makes solving these problems more complex than a "one size fits all" solution. The solutions you consider should take into account your specific problems, current staffing, and future plans like a capital campaign or a day of giving. Every office is different, and any AI solutions you bring on should help you meet your goals instead of changing everything to fit the software.
Are you considering bringing on AI to your fundraising operation? Schedule a demo today and learn what Gravyty's fundraiser enablement tools can do for you: